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It’s a well-known fact that consumers these days have a wide variety of choices for their automotive service needs. They can get their vehicle serviced at their dealership, independent service center, or at a local mechanic. Many even mix their choices up depending on the type of repair or service needed. It’s not uncommon to see a customer come to the dealership for major service, warranty and recall work, while patronizing the “Quick Lube” closest to their home or work for routine oil changes. Perhaps their decision is due to convenience. Maybe finances play a part. Regardless of why they’re not choosing your dealership for service every time, the fact is that when it comes to automotive service, no time is a good time for a repair.
A very interesting study conducted by Google in 2013 found that one in three drivers is uncommitted to a particular auto service provider. Even the committed drivers can be converted, the company added -- 36 percent of survey respondents indicated that they don’t favor a specific mechanic. “I go wherever is affordable/convenient,” respondents answered. So, to be competitive, it is important to be perceived by the consumer as both affordable and convenient. Can your service department quickly and efficiently service your customers? Are your services well priced? Do you have decent financing options? If you answered yes, are you letting your customers know?
To re-capture routine service business that your existing customers are taking elsewhere, find out why they are choosing somewhere else over you. This can easily be done by identifying these customers through your DMS. Simply look for customers that come in for warranty, recall or major service repairs, but who are consistently absent for scheduled oil changes or minor scheduled maintenance. Reach out to these customers and ask them why they are not choosing you. Call them, email them, or ask them when they do come in for that warranty work. By discovering the reasons why your dealership isn’t earning this routine service work, you can analyze the pain points your customers are experiencing or perceiving, and take steps to correct them.
Nobody wants to take their car in for service. It’s time consuming, inconvenient and it costs money. And there is always that fear of needing additional, costly repairs. Because of this, consumers naturally look for the most convenient option – but is that the best one? Your job as a dealership or shop owner is to educate and inform your customers why they should choose you over any other automotive service facility. You know that your technicians are all ASE and may be factory trained. But, the sad fact is that when you factor in our industry’s turnover rate, most service centers whether franchise or independent have factory and ASE certified technicians.
Show your customer that repair work at your dealership is backed by the factory or other warranty. Explain the importance of your parts versus the competition. Reassure them that the repairs don’t have to cost more than they can afford by providing them with as many payment options as you can. Customers need choices as to which payment method works best for their financial situation. Explain how quickly you can get them back on the road and into their busy lives -- with the peace of mind that their vehicle is sound.
And don’t forget your digital presence. The Google study also found that each month, 70 million searches on Google are for aftermarket services. Is your service department visible online? Consider updating your service department’s presence on your website and make it a resource for your service customers. Include information on your services. Special discount offers. Pricing for regular services. Recall information. Any financing information, if you offer that option in service, etc.
Educate your customers and, once they realize that your service center IS convenient, not more expensive, and that it offers more value through superior service and quality repairs, they’ll start rolling into your service drive and setting appointments for routine maintenance.