Recently I was in a Ford dealership on a coaching visit and reviewed labor operation frequencies. I always find this a wealth of information on how well advisors are doing with customers. In this review, differential services were only performed seven times over the last year. Pickup trucks and SUVs in Ford dealerships are the top sellers in the nation, so I estimated that 800 differentials come through this shop every month. If the customer was offered a maintenance service with a good feature benefit presentation every time, they would likely sell seven in one day. Every other maintenance operation illustrated the same trend and as you can imagine generating poor results. The average age of vehicles on the road in the United States is at 11 years old. Imagine the amount of maintenance and repairs that are needed throughout the country that doesn’t even get recommended. Customer retention for dealerships generally revolves around warranty expiration. Independent repair shops take dealership customers right when things are ready to start breaking on the vehicles. My view is dealerships always should have the advantage as they invest in hundreds of thousands of dollars in special tools and technician training. Independent repair shops cannot compete with this type of investment while they work on every brand. The perception with customers on aging vehicles is that dealerships are rip-offs and charge excessive prices. Retaining customers is dependent on dealership processes for customer care. They must know the primary focus is to keep their vehicle safe and reliable for their family. The dealership experience needs to be flawlessly providing the customer with care beyond their expectations. The days of processing customers with the advisor not even leaving the terminal to look at their concerns must end to retain customer pay clients. Many potential changes are making the news recently such as eliminating fossil fuel engines and car ownership with ride-shares. Margins on new cars continue declining to place more emphasis on fixed operations to generate gross profit for the dealership. Wise dealerships are doing everything possible to maximize fixed operation results. If you desire to have your dealership take advantage of changing times give us a call. That’s what we do!

Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Margin Plus
Cell: (419) 282-1351

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