To compete against independent repair facilities, service departments at car dealerships all over North America are stepping up in areas of customer service, convenience, follow-through and almost every aspect of their operations.
With so many options available for car owners today, dealership service departments are looking for innovative methods to attract new and existing clients for their ongoing maintenance and future repairs.
Whenever someone drives off the lot in their new vehicle, dealerships have already started the process of retaining that customer for the long-term. They perform a lot of work behind the scenes to prevent defection and make sure that people will return for service. Every dealership knows well that their service department is a profit center, so engaging and retaining customers is key to its overall success.
In many cases, the service relationship is initially healthy, but as time passes and warranties expire, customer loyalty also begins to take a dip. Within the first two years of new car ownership, 45% of customers remain devoted to their dealership’s service department, according to several studies.
But, after those first three to six years of ownership expire, only 31% take their vehicles back to the dealership for basic maintenance services. Then, after seven or more years, only 13% of those same customers will come back.
So what does a dealership have to do to keep all of these people in their service loop? How can they prevent them to go to independent shops once the love affair with their dealership is over?
Here are some things dealership service departments are now focusing on more than ever before:
• Top-Tier OEM Parts: Customers can rest assured that they’re getting parts that are made for their specific vehicle integrated into each repair.
• Factory-Certified Technicians: Dealership technicians possess in-depth knowledge about the specific vehicles they sell. By going through continual intense training about their brands, dealership service departments can really shine in this category.
• Outstanding Customer Service: Your dealership is an extension of the company that made their vehicle, so you have to exceed their elevated customer-service standards. Just satisfying or placating the customer just isn't enough anymore, especially when there is so much intense competition out there.
• Top-notch facilities: This is where dealership service departments can go over the top when it comes to equipment, tools and other amenities that can attract and retain customers. Dealerships also feature OE parts and use the latest and greatest repair techniques. Customers often comment positively about things such as the cleanliness of the facility and the way its technicians are dressed--so leverage those things as much as you can.
• Connection to the local community: Your clients will feel more comfortable and trust you if they know you do charity work and outreach in their community. By working with people they like and believe in, customers will not hesitate when it comes to taking their cars to you.
Transparent, hands-on and accountable customer service that is constantly re-emphasized has proven to be the ideal way to keep your customers in high spirits and returning again and again. Diffentiate yourself by doing a better job and you will see more loyalty and increased referrals as well.
A professional writer and editor for more than 20 years who specializes in creating content for a wide range of businesses and industries including automotive, engineering and healthand wellness.