We all know the “neighborhood tire guys”. The local, independent service garages with an undeniable likeability. Usually family owned, extremely friendly, and free of corporate politics.
I became the Fixed Operation Manager of a longstanding suburban Ford dealership in the Fall of 2013. The numbers showed several areas of low customer retention and low employee morale. Over the years many studies show up to 75% of car owners leave the dealership for independent service garages after the New Car warranty expires. Today, a car owner has dozens of Tire/Quick Service Chains ready to earn their business. Our dealership had close to 20 of these stores within a 10-mile radius. Think about tire wear and a car needing tire replacement about every 30,000 – 40,000 miles, and tag that statistic to the average new car warranty expiring about 35,000. This is an opportunity to lose your “loyal customer” to the chain tire/service stores.
Our dealership was not known as a place to buy tires and our “loyal customers” would go the local tire stores when the car was ready for their first replacement of tires. Remember 35,000 miles is the warranty expiration and the time for new tires. The numbers showed that we would also lose their oil change, brake and state inspection business along with other service opportunities. The “loyal customers” would come back to us for warranty work, but we would lose most of their other business to the “neighborhood tire guys”.
Our technicians were not motivated to sell tires and if they did, we would have to truck the customer’s wheels and tires from their bay in the Main Shop to our adjacent building where the tire store room, mounting and balancing machines and alignment rack were located. The equipment was serviceable but well over 15 years old. Tires and alignments were not a fun ticket for the technicians, leading to some of the low employee morale.
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Author: Digital Dealer
Digital Dealer exists to help dealers and their managers sell more vehicles more profitably by creating the best live events and media in the industry.