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"Focus on Specific Needs"

How service departments can prevail in today’s economy

It is no secret the pandemic upset many aspects of our day-to-day lives, leaving a general sense of unease. Some of your customers may choose to forgo the premium service at your dealership for a cheaper repair garage across town. After all, there is a known perception that a dealership service is not as affordable, even when costs are comparable.

The good news, however, is there are ways your service department can be smarter to adapt and continue to bring customers in for repairs and maintenance.

It is no secret the pandemic upset many aspects of our day-to-day lives, leaving a general sense of unease. Some of your customers may choose to forgo the premium service at your dealership for a cheaper repair garage across town. After all, there is a known perception that a dealership service is not as affordable, even when costs are comparable.

The good news, however, is there are ways your service department can be smarter to adapt and continue to bring customers in for repairs and maintenance.

1. Emphasise Reliability
Service departments are a fundamental pillar of profitability for dealerships, so it is vital to keep that revenue stream flowing. One approach dealers can take to keep their service customers coming back is relatively straightforward, it is to highlight reliability.

Communication methods like reminders use customised messaging to gain and retain customers. You can easily take data of recommended and not completed work and use letters, postcards, texts and emails to personally follow up with customers and build trust. These reminders can also alert customers of discounts and highlight your differentiators to instil value in the work you do, when compared to independent repair garages.

For example, newer vehicles can require specific technical knowledge some non-factory trained technicians might not have. Dealership technicians carry the highest level of expertise on the vehicles they are servicing. They could even spare car owners from future costs by fixing problems accurately the first time.
2. Examine the Costs of Inefficiency

Dealerships need to provide customers the best value for their services compared to competitive garages. One way to achieve this is by leveraging technology to improve and streamline existing processes, and workflows to create a better experience for both customers and employees.

For example, technician management and resource management is critical to first time fix and completion by promised time, so having the technicians closely monitored and having visibility of their activities to head off any issues before they occur is vital. Another area that some aftersales departments struggle with is managing their parts inventory. Having an automatic system in place to track stock and order/re-order intelligently will significantly reduce manual overrides and mean you will meet customer demands better.

3. Extend Promotional Offers

Warranties are typically a way to get customers to return to the dealership for maintenance. Offering extended warranties or service plans could incentivise your customers to remain with your dealership during a period of economic uncertainty. Many car owners prefer the service of a dealership over third party technicians, so getting them into your service department once with incentives, will have them coming back for years to come.
Whatever path your dealership chooses to adopt to attract customers back or form new relationships, emphasising reliability, examining inefficiencies and using promotional incentives, your dealership can still gain service work whilst your customers maybe being more cautious.
1. Emphasise Reliability
Service departments are a fundamental pillar of profitability for dealerships, so it is vital to keep that revenue stream flowing. One approach dealers can take to keep their service customers coming back is relatively straightforward, it is to highlight reliability.

Communication methods like reminders use customised messaging to gain and retain customers. You can easily take data of recommended and not completed work and use letters, postcards, texts and emails to personally follow up with customers and build trust. These reminders can also alert customers of discounts and highlight your differentiators to instil value in the work you do, when compared to independent repair garages.

For example, newer vehicles can require specific technical knowledge some non-factory trained technicians might not have. Dealership technicians carry the highest level of expertise on the vehicles they are servicing. They could even spare car owners from future costs by fixing problems accurately the first time.
2. Examine the Costs of Inefficiency

Dealerships need to provide customers the best value for their services compared to competitive garages. One way to achieve this is by leveraging technology to improve and streamline existing processes, and workflows to create a better experience for both customers and employees.

For example, technician management and resource management is critical to first time fix and completion by promised time, so having the technicians closely monitored and having visibility of their activities to head off any issues before they occur is vital. Another area that some aftersales departments struggle with is managing their parts inventory. Having an automatic system in place to track stock and order/re-order intelligently will significantly reduce manual overrides and mean you will meet customer demands better.

3. Extend Promotional Offers

Warranties are typically a way to get customers to return to the dealership for maintenance. Offering extended warranties or service plans could incentivise your customers to remain with your dealership during a period of economic uncertainty. Many car owners prefer the service of a dealership over third party technicians, so getting them into your service department once with incentives, will have them coming back for years to come.
Whatever path your dealership chooses to adopt to attract customers back or form new relationships, emphasising reliability, examining inefficiencies and using promotional incentives, your dealership can still gain service work whilst your customers maybe being more cautious.
- + Disclaimers