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There's no doubt about it. The aftersales market has encountered a major market shift in the last decade. Most dealers have seen a dramatic reduction due to the recession, more reliable vehicles and more independent shops popping up. With all the change, there's no saying what the future looks like.

The past decade has seen disruptive technologies completely wipe out entire industries. Think about newspaper publishing, video rental stores and wired communication carriers. These industries are all but forgotten. In the automotive industry, vehicles are becoming more and more reliable and the average life of the vehicle is going up and up. Fortunately for us, vehicles will, for the foreseeable future, continue to need maintenance and repair work.

And that's the key. Unlike the other dying industries, there is still quite a bit we can do to stay on top of the aftersales market.

In a recent AM Online article, ICDP managing director Steve Young was quoted saying,
"It’s not all doom and gloom. Franchised dealers just need to recognise that they must break out of their comfort zone of servicing mainly the cars that they sold over the first few years of their life.

"That business is not assured in the future, and even if it were, the volume will not support a typical workshop.  Dealers need to be more focused on retaining the car and the customer longer into the vehicle life.  They then have the opportunity to grow their business, even as the total market shrinks."

So what's the answer?

Differentiate your workshop to create loyal aftersales customers. Creating loyal, long-term customers is something that should start in the sales process, long before the first visit to the workshop. It takes work, but it's possible. Start with amazing service, careful and timely delivery and don't be afraid to be different. A simple follow-up call or email, for example, can go a long way. Several dealerships have seen incredible results by adding video into the service process. Take a look at this impressive case study about video in aftersales.

There are also several digital technologies now available to help your workshop maintain a sturdy relationship. Much of it just needs to be set up ahead of time so that it automates communications to valuable customers.

Einstein was correct, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." During the shifting markets, there is still plenty workshops can do to grow their market share. Let us know what your workshop is doing in the comments below.

photo credit: JSmith Photo

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Comment by Alexander Lau on January 30, 2014 at 1:24pm

Yes and use LoyalTree, used by Toyota (OEM). Nice article dude! Most dealerships fail to understand the importance of a well-organized fixed-ops page. In fact, I would venture to say over 90% of them don't care and that's a shame.

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