Every year our customers are keeping their vehicles longer and longer. Manufacturers are building better and better vehicles that need less maintenance, yet we still need to increase both vehicle sales and parts and service sales year over year. How are we to accomplish our goals?
One of the opportunities that are now being recognized by every OEM is customer retention. Everyone has a slightly different way of calculating customer retention with most using one customer pay visit per year counting as a retained customer.
It’s a fact that a good service experience sells the next vehicle, unfortunately depending on the dealership, about 55% of the customers do not return to the service department and avail us the opportunity to WOW them.
It is much easier to maintain a relationship with customers than develop new ones, so why not capitalize on the relationship the sales department has developed at the time they sold the customer their vehicle?
There has been research performed that found on average, we ask a customer to return for service 15-21 times over the typical 5-7 years of ownership. The research had also found that if the customer returned only 9 times for service about 50% of the time, they were 82% likely to give the dealership an opportunity to sell them their next vehicle and to refer friends and family to the dealership.
Why not take the customer into the write-up area and introduce them to a service advisor and set their first service appointment? If the service department is closed, why not develop a process to sign the customer’s name and phone number in a log and have the Service Manager call them the next day, thank them for their business and set their first appointment. You will be amazed at the impact and introduction a call from the Service Manager has.
Why not have some handouts, business cards for the advisors and a single sheet of paper listing why the customer should service at your store. What separates you from the Pep Boys and Firestones in the area?
We have all seen our Sales CSI scores drop at times because F&I gets backed up and the customer gets upset by the long waiting time. What a great time to introduce them to service. If the customer is occupied the wait time seems much less.
We need our customers to know that the service department is there to take care of all of their needs at fair competitive prices, and that we are all one team Sales-Service-Parts to take care of them and their new vehicle.
If we can get to point that when a customer thinks of their vehicle needs, our name occurs to them, we have accomplished our goal which is customer retention.
Returning customers are happy customers that lead to high CSI which leads to higher retention and profits. Let’s take care of all our customer’s vehicle needs and keep them out of the clutches of the aftermarket stores.
When we provide a quality SALES TO SERVICE HANDOFF, in a few years, 82% of the time it leads back to the sales department with a SERVICE TO SALES HANDOFF and the purchase of the customers next vehicle.
It only takes a few moments and the rewards are great. Let’s set up the processes needed and get this accomplished.