Does your dealership have a Collision Center? Of course, in the olden days we called them Body Shops. How many of your customers know that your full service facility includes a Collision Center? My experience has shown it is not uncommon to survey customers in the service drive over a few days to find less than 50% know that we could offer body/cosmetic repair.
There is no doubt that the insurance industry provides a very high percentage of your business. Other business categories might include minor body repair for the Used Car Department and reconditioning and/or repair for retail customers.
The industry saw a downturn of dealerships owning collision centers, as noted by the chart shown, starting around 2007. Just in the past few years have we seen an upswing in ownership. In accordance with that, the industry saw a downturn in sales starting two years prior, in 2005. In 2013 less than 37% of dealerships owned a collision center. However, it still brings in over $7,000,000,000 in business:
What Do I Do Now?
Let’s talk for a moment about the retail customer. How do we get more awareness about our collision services? This doesn’t matter if we have had one the entire time, reopened an existing Collision Center or if we have opened a new center. First, develop easy tools that require a minimal financial investment.
- 1. A meeting should be held with the Owner, General Manager and Sales Manager to introduce a modified Sales-to-Service handoff to include the Collision Center if on-site. With management approval, attend the next sales meeting to introduce the Collision Center to the sales staff and offer a tour of your facility.
- Create signage that announces the Collision Center to your existing service customers. Place a sign in the service reception area as well as in the customer lounge area. If your facility is off-site it’s a “must do”!Here is an example:
- Another suggestion is to create a handout to be given to every service customer during the cashier process. Make sure your handout includes all the benefits you offer (certified personnel, paint guarantee, etc.) to customers. It is suggested you also offer a 10% discount on all non-insurance labor repairs. If you would like a sample handout just drop me an email and I will forward a sample for your use.
- Have Collision Center management staff and/or estimators in the service reception area in the first 2-3 hours of the morning. They could give the customer a free estimate on any minor repairs or reconditioning opportunities.
How Do I Find Out?
To really discover what percentage of your customers do not know about your Collision Center perform your own simple survey for about 3 straight days in your service drive. I think you will be amazed “HOW MANY CUSTOMERS DON’T KNOW” about the services you provide.
Will this be another positive element to adding customer retention at your dealership?
Written by Bruce Gamble