There are a few critical areas that Fixed Operation Directors need to focus upon to ensure your service departments are prepared for 2017 and beyond.
A recent survey conducted by AAA shows that "one-third of U.S. drivers -- 75 million motorists in total -- have yet to find a trusted repair facility. The top reasons that American drivers mistrust car repair shops are:
The good news is that you have the opportunity to garner your fair share and more of the 75 million motorist whom are seeking a trust-worthy repair facility. Consider this; even if you adequately address employee turnover, excessive discounting, and trust & transparency...are those accomplished tasks going to drive consumers to your repair facility? The answer is no...it will have a minimal impact. It takes a lot of time and money to convey to your lost UIO and prospective conquest customers that your service facility has limited employee turnover, competitive pricing, and provides for a trustworthy and transparent experience. Consumers must experience these attributes...get their vehicle in the door, provide a great customer experience, and your customers will advertise for you.
The average franchise dealer is spending $10K-$20K a month in service discounts. Those discounts aren't driving traffic to your dealership. Shift your excessive service discount expense to service pick-up & delivery, and watch your traffic count soar. The only means to drive lost customers and conquest customers to your service drive is through pick-up & delivery service. Once you have the customer's vehicle in your dealership, then you can demonstrate the quality of your staff, competitive pricing, and how your service center provides consumers with a trustworthy and transparent experience.
Cadillac and their Project Pinnacle is the latest OEM to require their franchise dealers to provide service customer pick-up & delivery. Lincoln and Hyundai Genesis are also providing service customer pick-up & delivery. Service retention has been very elusive for OEMs and their franchise dealers. Land Rover and Jaguar will require their dealer body to incorporate Rover and Jaguar loaner fleets effective January 2017...how are dealers going to increase loaner efficiency to ensure consumers don't have loaners longer than necessary? Make 2017 the year you focus upon service pick-up & delivery, and provide a convenience driven model for your customers. Consumer behavior will continue to change, and the auto industry must adapt to the ever changing needs of the consumer.
Ken Hite is Senior Vice President at RedCap. RedCap's technology and drivers are utilized by OEMs and dealers for Service Customer Pick-up and Delivery, as well as Consumer Test Drives. Ken has 25 years experience within the automotive industry, inclusive of retail, OEM, after-market and start-ups. The auto industry must learn to exceed customer expectations and implement business processes based upon customer convenience.