Customer retention can be tough. Independent repair shops lure customers away in droves with coupons or offers that promise low routine maintenance pricing. However, winning consumers on price alone is a short-term victory compared to winning over their loyalty for the long haul with quality work, certified technicians, and impeccable service. Luring them back is easier than you think. Ditch the discounting and invite consumers to the dealership by looking out for their safety while showcasing your dealership -- without charging the customer. How? Recalls.
Consumers will come into a franchised dealer if there is a recall… maybe… that is if they know about it. But what happens then? The customer could easily return to the local Jiffy Lube or other convenient places to resume that regular maintenance once the recall work is completed.
Franchise dealers have always had the edge when it comes to the health and safety of a vehicle. Dealers have access to diagnostic equipment, factory-trained technicians, and software that independents don’t have. AND independents can’t complete those recall repairs. If they do have access to diagnose or identify a recall, all they can do is perform the routine maintenance then send the customer on their way to their local franchise dealer to get it repaired. That sounds pretty inefficient to me.
One thing that has not changed despite the pandemic is that consumers value time. Imagine going into a grocery store that promises low prices, finding some of the items on their shopping list but then having to go to a different grocery store to get the remainder of the ingredients needed. That would be pretty annoying, right? Well, that is exactly what is happening daily when it comes to vehicle repair.
Also, those technicians at some shops that perform routine maintenance on a consumer’s car have little training. Just check the employment advertisements. Some independents are soliciting employees for quick service for $8-$10 per hour with “no experience necessary.” Is that someone a consumer should have ensuring that their vehicle is safe?
I know that dealerships are often faced with a quandary. They can join the race to the bottom to compete with the local independents, or they can convince the customer that the dealership is the best solution. That the dealership will service them well and are the one-stop-shop for all of their vehicle needs. Dealerships can also ensure that their vehicle is serviced by factory-trained technicians that can handle all the repair work AND any recalls that may exist – safety-related or otherwise.
Similar to sales, in service the competition for business seems to be all about price – but it doesn’t have to be. Prove your value to your customers through quality work and time-saving benefits. It is sure to help in customer retention. By showing customers that your dealership intends to ensure that their vehicle is always maintained properly and that you can handle all maintenance and repairs with quality workmanship by factory-trained techs, your dealership has an extreme advantage over any independent in existence. Sadly, many dealerships do not take advantage of this value proposition or don’t communicate it to their customers effectively, if at all!.
If your dealership took the time to explain to all customers AND promoted widely why you are more valuable to them than an independent, many customers would understand that even if the dealership service may cost a little more, the quality of work and time saved will outweigh the small savings that they get at an independent.
Show your customers that you intend to ensure their vehicle is safe, is repaired by trained OEM professionals, that you can save them time, and can, in the long run, save them money by preserving their vehicle asset. You can win over service customers and retain them, stealing that business away from independents.