The automotive dealer service and parts industry is facing a crisis that is looming closer by the day. Based on the sales decline from 2019 to 2022 there are 8,765,500 light-duty vehicles and trucks that were not sold. (Statista.com) With low car sales, and the looming end of new-car warranties, service departments are about to face a major challenge. Natural defection coupled with a significant decrease in the number of new customers means that the service car count will decline dramatically, impacting dealership revenue. The time to act is now, as the industry faces a freight train hitting fixed ops departments right between the eyes. Service managers must focus on customer retention to stave off the impending decline. The clock is ticking, and the time to act is now.
Building value in your service department is crucial to ensure long-term profitability and customer satisfaction. We are in a people business. It is paramount that you build relationships with your customers. Many dealers already do much to retain their customers. Is it enough?
The top 6 reasons why customers are unsatisfied with their experience in an automotive service department, as determined by the most frequent complaints, are as follows:
Poor communication: If customers are not given clear and timely updates on their vehicles' status or are unfamiliar with the service process, they may become frustrated and perplexed.
Long wait times: If customers must wait for a long time, they might feel as though their time is being wasted, especially if they weren't given an accurate wait time estimate.
Unsatisfactory repairs: Clients won't be pleased if their vehicle isn't fixed properly if the repair takes too long, or if they have to bring the car back more than once for the same problem.
Staff who are not friendly or professional: If customers are greeted by staff who have a bad attitude or lack professionalism, they might not feel respected or welcomed.
Overcharging or hidden fees: If customers are charged more than necessary for services or find unanticipated fees or charges on their bill, they may feel taken advantage of.
Their vehicle needs tires: Customers often do not know that you sell tires. You can have tires all over your service drive with marketing materials and a big sign, but if you don’t have the conversation, they are going to a tire shop.
Here are some key strategies that can help you reduce customer defection rates and increase customer loyalty:
Provide Express Service
Offer a quick and efficient service experience
Value the customer's time
Utilize technology to streamline the process
Focus on Expertise
Hire and retain competent technicians
Encourage technicians to obtain certifications and training
Share technician credentials and accomplishments with customers
Become experts in the tire business
Build Value in Services
Promote the benefits of preventative maintenance
Offer customized maintenance plans
Provide detailed service recommendations based on manufacturer guidelines
Utilize quality parts and materials and market accordingly
Provide Competitive Pricing
Offer transparent and competitive pricing
Avoid unnecessary sales suggestions
Provide clear explanations of pricing and services
Use digital platforms to provide easy access to pricing and service information
Leverage Dealership Amenities
Offer complimentary shuttle service
Provide loaner vehicles
Offer pick-up and delivery options
Offer comfortable waiting areas with amenities like Wi-Fi and refreshments
Establish Strong Relationships
Build a rapport with customers - Don’t just take their order
Address customer concerns proactively and promptly
Provide personalized service recommendations
Follow up with customers after service visits
Use Customer Feedback to Improve
Make it easy for customers to provide feedback
Analyze feedback to identify areas for improvement
Use feedback to refine services and processes
Implement Loyalty Programs
Offer incentives for repeat business
Provide special perks for loyal customers
Use digital platforms to track and reward customer loyalty
Make loyalty programs easy to understand and use
Provide clear and honest communication with customers
Avoid misleading or confusing messaging
Be upfront about costs and potential issues
Foster a sense of trust and transparency with customers
Utilize digital platforms to communicate with customers
Offer online appointment scheduling
Use texting and technician video whenever possible
By implementing these strategies, you can build a strong foundation for customer retention and reduce customer defection rates at your dealership service facility.
At Fixed Operations Development, we envision a future where car dealers and managers are equipped with the tools they need to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of the car business. We strive to be the leading provider of innovative solutions that help our clients achieve sustainable success and create a culture of excellence. Our goal is to transform the industry by creating and enforcing processes and standards for efficiency, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. We are committed to empowering our clients to become the go-to shop for their guests and drive long-term growth and profitability.
You can reach us at any time by calling (813) 602-1964 or emailing email@example.com