In my last blog, I shared some reasons why dealers need to prepare for a constant flow of recall repair work for a long time to come. In this second part, I’d like to lend some further insight as to why savvy and responsible auto dealerships need to develop a strategy for recall repairs. I could not fit them into the first blog without it becoming a bit of a book. So here you go!
- OEMs are building better quality cars, which is great for consumers. However, this also extends the service intervals. In some cases, intervals have increased from 3,000 miles to as much as 15,000 miles. As these increases are fairly recent, there’s no predicting what problems could come up, or perhaps be exacerbated by the vehicle no longer being available to inspect and repair quite as frequently. It’s certainly good for consumers to avoid frequent servicing, but only time will tell what the impact on safety will be when consumers bypass regular vehicle inspection.
- Due to the huge amount of recent recalls, consumer backlash and the resulting bad press, OEMs are now more proactive about revealing safety issues to the public and faster to issue recall orders. Even the smallest of defects now prompt recalls, as OEMs seek to project a better image to consumers and protect themselves from any liability that might arise from non-disclosure.
- These days, manufacturers aren’t just under the watchful eyes of the United States government. Overseas actions, changes and legislation could force the hand of one of the domestic OEMS. The changes, recalls or other activities initiated in another country could have an overall effect on the brand worldwide.
- Due to the volume of negative publicity all of these recent recalls have spawned, consumers are voicing displeasure with the OEM response to issues and the manufacturer’s willingness to correct them. Market share is incredibly important to manufacturers and a slight misstep, or action that doesn’t meet with the general public’s approval, could be disastrous for a brand – as was seen with Toyota. Manufacturers acknowledge this and, in the future, may well be faster to take action to rectify problems and avoid consumer wrath or defection to another brand.
- Personal injury attorneys are getting a little more aggressive and savvier in their approaches to litigation. Rightfully or not, they now name all potential defendants including OEMs, dealerships, dealership management and even, in some cases, the salesperson involved in the transaction. This makes any vehicle with an open recall that drives off your lot a potential ticking time bomb in terms of liability.
Take note of these points and make preparations in your dealership to accommodate your customers – and safeguard your business – by creating an action plan and being prepared for recall repair work.
It starts with creating a Recall Department and providing the necessary training to address the very unique issues associated with a recall. This is not limited to the vehicles, as a very frustrated and scared consumer also requires special attention. However, if approached properly and treated with care and concern, these consumers evolve into the most loyal of customers.
In an era where dealerships are wrestling with competition to win over the long-term loyalty of consumers, recalls represent a tremendous opportunity for dealers who are willing to step up when the consumer is at the height of vulnerability. Studies in human psychology prove that the foundations of loyalty are best forged during times of crisis.
You don’t need to be an expert in human relations to know the doing the right thing by consumers during a recall episode might also be the smartest for your dealership.
Author: Chris Miller
Chris Miller is President of Recall Masters, a leading provider of recall marketing programs and automotive services marketing. Chris has over 17 years experience building software to automate marketing communications. He has worked with marquee brands including HSBC/Household Automotive, Washington Mutual, Residential Pacific Mortgage, ServiceMagic, Monumental Life Insurance, Mercedes Benz USA, BMW/Mini North America, Volvo North America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Moxy Solutions, and Costco Automotive Group.