Independent Service Providers Are Eating Our Lunch

stan ribeiro newsletterIt gives me great pain to report my firsthand experiences with a local independent service provider (ISP).

 I have been in the dealership world for over 30 years and bring passion and enthusiasm to the people I work with every day. During any one of our special consulting visits to our clients, the M5 team and I develop and deliver the customer experience as the driving force to retention. It saddens me to say, not all the dealerships’ service staffs have embraced this concept. Are they slow learners or just haven’t had the opportunity to acquire the tools to succeed? Who knows, but another customer goes away.

 I had the opportunity to bring my wife’s vehicle to an ISP where we live. Why did I choose to bring her vehicle to an ISP? Well, the local dealership previously disgusted us to no end. All the stereotypical dealership fears that some of our customers have are alive and well in our beloved industry.

 We were not greeted promptly, and forget about a smile. It was clear to see we were just the “next” customer in line that posed nothing more than an interruption in the advisor’s workday. His body language and lack of attention made me cringe. The ultimate insult came when he refused to listen to my wife, she felt, because she was a woman. After speaking with this gentlemen I found out he was the service manager that was filling in for an advisor. How bad is that? They say the fish stinks from the head down and this was most definitely the case in this store.

 So let’s move on. We brought her vehicle to an ISP (who will remain nameless) near our home–a well-known nationwide, very busy ISP. Oh my God! We were both greeted right away, even though the gentleman was helping someone else, and with a smile, no less. He promptly said “Welcome to… I will be with you in just a moment.” We waited a few minutes and he came over to both of us, introduced himself and shook our hands and asked how he could help us–a breath of fresh air.

 We proceeded to explain our reasons for being there. He listened intently and repeated what we said in his own words. He then proceeded to walk with us to his work station and started writing the order. He verified everything as he went along.  He verified our vehicle information and took our order. Then he did something remarkable. He asked if we would like an oil change while we were there. The dealership never asked us anything more than what we mentioned.

 It gets better! This happened to be the Friday before the July 4th holiday and we had several family obligations to attend over the weekend. I asked if he could let us know as soon as possible what needed to be done and if it could be done that day. Notice I did not even mention price. He said he would do his best and let us know in two hours what was needed.

 We were originally concerned about a violent pulsation when stepping on the brake and an exhaust-type noise.

 As promised, this gentleman called us and said it would need brakes and rotors and one of the calipers was hung up and needed to be replaced.  He also said the front pipe had a leak and was causing the noise. Now my skepticism took over and I questioned the caliper, but in no way was he condescending or abrasive. He simply told me what they found. So what was I to do? Not do the total job and possibly create complications for my wife?  No way!

 Here comes the remarkable part. He said he would get the parts we needed and have the job done by the end of the day so we could meet our obligations.


 Let’s look at this. Is there anything he did differently than what our dealerships should do?  Of course not! It is clear that he wanted our business and regardless of daily grind, he kept us informed and kept his promises. We picked up her vehicle at 5:30 pm all done, and priced as quoted.

 So I ask, with some of us experiencing a 70% defection rate after the warranty period is over, is it any wonder why the ISP’s are eating our lunch?

 I am certain that the ISP’s hire from the same labor market as the dealerships, but what is the difference? Training is the difference!

Call any one of our M5 consultants and get a full explanation on how to start developing your staff and start winning back our most precious commodity, the customer.

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