Not too long ago your service department could rely on seeing customers fairly frequently, but as vehicles have increased in quality, so have the OEM’s suggested service intervals – some are now as much as 15,000 miles between oil changes.
To put this into perspective, in the past, if a customer drove 15,000 miles annually they would visit the dealership on average five times per year. The dealership had five opportunities to recommend additional services and build relationships with the customer. You no longer can count on having as many opportunities to wow customers or pick up additional service business.
So, what do many dealers do? Increase messaging and inundate customers with phone calls, emails, texts and direct mail.
There seems to be a futile focus on trying to bring the customer back after he or she has left the dealership. What this means is that the dealer feels obligated to bombard the consumer with messages via email, direct mail, and phone calls…all of which seem to guarantee just one thing …that the customer is going to ignore you!
With diminished opportunities, consider reviewing your messaging and be more careful and strategic about the messages you send. While getting the initial visit may have been easy, keeping the customer is becoming more and more difficult as they become used to increased vehicle reliability along with greater competition from other independent service centers in the marketplace, enticing them away with offers of lower prices and greater convenience.
While increased vehicle reliability may decrease opportunities, the wise dealer can capitalize on this by being ready to service their customers when they demand it. And, if you provide ways for the customer to interact with your dealership by their preferred method – be it text, phone, chat or email — you can still achieve loyalty and increased customer retention.
Customers must know that your dealership is available to them when they need it and will assist them with their vehicle needs at their convenience – not the dealership’s. Keep that in mind the next time you feel like telling a customer you can’t service their car when they want it serviced.
Author: Ujj Nath
Ujj Nath is the Founder and CEO of myKaarma (www.mykaarma.com), the cloud-based conversational commerce software that’s revolutionizing the auto service industry. He has 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and automotive industry executive. In 1990, prior to myKaarma, Ujj founded Syncata, a major provider of business consulting and systems integration services. In 2004 he successfully negotiated the sale of the company to ProQuest Business Solutions (NYSE: PQE), which was subsequently acquired by Snap-On Tools (NYSE:SNA). At Snap-On, Ujj was Vice President of Global Accounts and headed the Professional Services Organization for Snap-on Business Solutions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.