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Service - If you build it, will they really come? Can you attract off-Brand business?

Good afternoon ADM Community Members - We`ve always toyed with the idea of expanding our Service to service other makes and models and I would appreciate your insight on this topic.

Has anyone out here successfully had any amount of their customer base actually service the other vehicles that are in their household with your dealership??? Is it even possible in your opinion to compete with a Firestone, STS or Midas from a dealerships perspective???

**Now YOU be the customer and please answer the following questions;

Let`s say your vehicle does not have Free Maintenance.......

1.) Would you service your current vehicle at a Dealership?? Why OR why or not?

2.) Would you consider servicing an off-brand at a different make dealership,.... let`s say you own a Ford Focus....... would you service it at a Honda dealership for example?? Why or why not?? 


**** We really would appreciate everyone`s insight about this.

 
Thank you very much!

Ken Beam

Views: 158

Tags: Department, Fixed Operations, Other Makes, Servcice, Service Marketing

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Comment by Ken Beam on August 26, 2014 at 11:49am

 Hey Carl - Ok ok.......... Well I really appreciate your thoughts in regards to this. Very interesting.

Thank you very much,

Ken-

Comment by Carl Maeda on August 26, 2014 at 11:24am

What makes a big difference for my wife is customer service and the waiting area.  My wife drives a Honda Odyssey and she goes to a Honda dealership farther away specifically because she likes the service and waiting area.  The waiting area has a nice play area for kids, serves coffee, has wifi, etc.  The closer Honda dealer doesn't have all this. 

But I'm sure if a Chevy dealer nearby can service Hondas and it also had great service plus a nice waiting area, she would probably go there as well.

Comment by Ken Beam on August 26, 2014 at 7:33am

Hi Tom - Hey I really appreciate your insight having been in service. Yes....... your five suggestions are spot-on with what we are thinking. I think marketing to our body shop customers definitely needs to be explored. 

Thanks a lot, I appreciate the feedback,

Ken-

Comment by Ken Beam on August 26, 2014 at 7:25am

Hi Greg - First off, thank you very much for sharing your insight to my Blog, I certainly appreciate it. 

"Is your retention, in brand 100% and if not why not.  If your in brand clients aren't coming; why?  If you are at a very high retention rate I'd think they would come to you for their off brand service, especially if it is out of warranty"........ Greg I don`t believe any dealership in the country is at a pure 100% retention in regards to service. We are very very well above the normal factory standards when it comes to retention service-wise, but we`re getting a little off topic going down this road as that is not what we are trying to build. In a nutshell, we want to build up more "conquest" service and the idea of servicing other makes/models is on the table. 

"If you are at a very high retention rate I'd think they would come to you for their off brand service, especially if it is out of warranty"........  Agreed..... and we haven`t really dove in with this "Service all makes/models advertising-wise......yet. So the waters are untested.

"So three categories of frequent maintenance you are top of search so I'd say throw some off brand marketing in there since your already showing up.  Have reward coupons for early bird drivers who drop off their friends/family for service offering quick lube, MPI, or something else to get them in the service lane to position them for sale of their next car"...... Yes.... good point Greg. We need a "Hook"... and the idea of a "Rewards" card may be a great idea.

** We have discussed this recently that perhaps we should only target our customer base with the servicing-off-brands idea. Also I do agree with you again Greg that we need to build out the service promoting sides of the sites much more in order to kick this up a few notches.

Thanks again for the feedback - 

Ken-

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on August 26, 2014 at 7:07am

Honestly, having spend many years in service as an advisor and manager, it is an uphill battle - but I will give you a suggestion at the end. Here's the deal, the pricing structure of a dealership service department makes it hard to merely retain same-brand clients, even with world-class service.

My perception as a consumer is that the REASON to pay premium prices for service from a franchise is that they are highly trained on MY car, so if I am going to pay a premium for service, why would I go to someone who is not an expert on MY car. ASE techs are great, but generally every Meineke and Tire Kingdom has them.

That said, I recommend 4 things:

1) make sure you are retaining every current car buyer from your store and market conquest same-brand customers for service. My buddy running a VW service department offered $5 oil changes to every first-time customer (obviously adjust that for synthetic requirements)

2) I would bet EVERY household with VW and Infiniti vehicles has more than one car - market to existing owners with coupons for their second vehicle - kids, spouses, maids. ESPECIALLY Nissan. As a Cadillac manager, I had a LOT of customers bring me their other GM products because of the product overlap and computer compatibility. And they loved the luxury experience for the same price as the chevy or buick one 

3) PROMOTE that you work with nearly all extended warranty companies.

4) What Mr. Noonan said - market to the body shop customers. Spiff your estimators for selling a discounted oil change while the car is being fixed - then they can appreciate your customer-centric service.

5) Use Facebook ads because you can target specific interest groups - VW owners, Nissan owners, moms

It is a worthy endeavor.  

Comment by Gregory Lawrence Noonan on August 26, 2014 at 6:51am

Hi Ken,

I do not see any reference to service on either franchise website so I'd start from there and show happy service customer as well as sales customers.  Is your retention, in brand 100% and if not why not.  If your in brand clients aren't coming; why?  If you are at a very high retention rate I'd think they would come to you for their off brand service, especially if it is out of warranty.  Most dealerships don't lead with service but then rely on it to carry their expenses.

A very large agency told me the purchase of tires is tied to the sale of the next vehicle but when I type in VW tires Summit New Jersey, Mavis in Union comes up. For Quick Lube, great, you show up # 1 and 2 with Jiffy Lube # 3.  For battery you won the first 6 positions, wiper blades you do great.  

So three categories of frequent maintenance you are top of search so I'd say throw some off brand marketing in there since your already showing up.  Have reward coupons for early bird drivers who drop off their friends/family for service offering quick lube, MPI, or something else to get them in the service lane to position them for sale of their next car.

Chances are Jiffy Lube in Vauxhall is stealing some of your business but I hope not sound like you;d be a great place to take my car if I needed service in or out of brand.

I bought 4 new vehicles from our local dealer here in upstate NY but than they stopped giving me a good sales experience so I bought my 5th vehicle, same brand, elsewhere.  I still take it back to the service center of the dealership I did not buy from because the FO director knows how to keep customers in the service lane.

Since a majority of incoming calls are for service not sales and significant net profit comes from service why not go for it, get off brand in and sell them those great VW or Infinity vehicles. 

Since you already have a body shop that puts you ahead of the average dealership in America and probably attracts off brands as well.

Why not make a 7th bullet point on "WhychooseDouglas" about service since you are in Customer First Club and Wolfsberg Crest Club?

  1. Great Reputation
  2. Guaranteed Service Satisfaction?
  3. Fanatical Customer Focus
  4. Experienced staff
  5. An Award Winning Experience
  6. A Strong Heritage
  7. Our Unique Philosophy

America's franchise dealers need to take the service back form the aftermarket and a progressive dealer like you is destined to succeed at it.

Thanks,

Greg

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