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Automotive recalls present an opportunity to maintain and improve dealer and brand integrity while winning back lost customers and attracting new customers that typically do not service at a factory-certified dealer. Historically, however, recalled vehicle owners have been viewed as a nuisance by dealership personnel. They can at times be frustrated and emotionally volatile; too demanding and unwilling to spend money on additional repairs identified through a multi-point inspection. Many end up leaving negative responses on CSI surveys, even when they were treated well by the dealership. They are perhaps annoyed by the inconvenience of the recall in the first place. It’s no wonder that many dealers avoid these customers altogether. Or, just try to move the through their store as quickly as possible without disrupting normal operations or other, happier customers.
Recall customers can be a little more emotional than your regular customer. Many have been inconvenienced, are irritated, upset and even scared. So, naturally, they need a little more hand holding.
Many of these customer desperately need their vehicle to be in good working order. These vehicles are often their lifelines -- they get them to work, shuttle their kids to school and run all of the various errands necessary to provide for their families. When unexpectedly confronted with a major disruption in their lives, such as an inoperable, or perhaps dangerously unsafe vehicle, it can easily trigger unwanted emotions that can then be taken out on you, the dealer.
However, while these customers may begin your relationship in a controversial and emotional manner, if handled properly, they can very easily become some of most loyal and profitable customers.
The key to gaining the trust and business of these – at times – difficult customers lies in handling them properly. And that usually requires a little training. But it is well worth educating service personnel, BDC reps, salespeople, and even the receptionist on how to properly handle any recall customer communications – be they by phone, email or in person. It is the very first step in transforming the customer experience of a recall customer.
Consider this idea: build a “Recall Department” within your dealership with employees especially trained at handling owners with vehicles subject to recall work. The recall department will save your CSI by providing exemplary service and recall consultation. It will also quickly pay dividends through increased customer pay revenue from repair upsells and vehicle sales from service. Recall customers are a wonderful source of additional service revenue AND vehicle sales – if handled correctly.
Rolling out the red carpet for these consumers can greatly increase your penetration in your local market and win valuable customers for life.
So, what do you think about this as a way to help your dealership capitalize on its share of the $16.5 billion warranty and customer pay revenue opportunity that the 47 million recalled vehicles represent?