Educating Your Customers About Manufacturer Warranties
Before customers driveoff yourlot in their brand-new or pre-owned vehicles do you takethe time to educate them on the details of their manufacturer warranty?
And I don’t mean just saying, “Your manufacturer warranty provides major vehicle components such as the engine, brakes, and transmission for up to 3 years or 36,000 miles.”That sounds great, but that’s only a selling point.
The thing that most owners drive away without understanding is that continued coverage under their manufacturer’s warranty isn’t automatic. In order to keep the warranty in tact, they have to take care of their vehicle according to the manufacturer’s standards.
Why? Because the auto manufacturer is going to be very hesitant to cover a problematic engine that was driven well past its recommendations for an oil change. In order for the manufacturer’s coverage to kick in, the vehicle needs to have had the recommended preventative maintenance to keep it working well—such as oil changes and tire rotations at the proper intervals. The customer needs to have this maintenance performed and keep records of it to show in case they ever need to make a warranty claim.
Who Should Educate the Customer?
During most vehicle sales, as the customer sits in the finance and insurance office, they’ll hear a quick summary of the warranty details regarding their vehicle. If they’re purchasing a pre-owned car, for instance, F&I staff will explain that the vehicle is being sold at 20,000 miles and has 16,000 miles left on its manufacturer’s warranty. They’ll also give the customer the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty.
What most F&I staff miss is the explanation that basic preventive maintenance is necessary in order to keep that warranty from being voided. Since this information often gets left out during the process of signing a flurry of paperwork, the best place for it to be hammered home is the service department.
During every new sale, the salesperson should be trained to walk the customer to the service department and introduce them to their service advisor. The service advisor can then review the complimentary maintenance program, as well as detail how recommended preventative maintenance is key to keeping the warranty coverage in tact.
This education by the service department shouldn’t be a one-off occurrence, however. It should feature in every interaction with the customer when they return for regular maintenance visits. If they’re in for a paid maintenance appointment, it’s important that the service department offer tiers of options that highlight what’s necessary under the manufacturer’s warranty in addition to providing more extensive maintenance for those who choose it.
For example, a customer could opt for Schedule A maintenance: the oil change, tire rotation, change of cabin air filter, and multi-point inspection necessary under their warranty at a cost of $129.95. However, if they plan on keeping their car for several years or longer, they may want to opt for the Schedule B package, which includes everything in Schedule A, but also features a change of belts and brake fluid, as well as a brake inspection for $299.95.
Never exaggerate the amount of maintenance needed or try to aggressively upsell the customer; simply educate them and offer them options. This way, they’ll experience the best from their vehicle, their warranty (should they ever need it), as well as their dealership— putting them on the path to becoming a repeat customer in the years to come.
Download the free, “Why Service Here?” Word document and personalize it to show off the benefits of returning to your dealership or service center for routine maintenance and repairs. Customers need to know (before they drive off your lot) why your Certified Auto Technicians are more valuable than a local mechanic or mass merchandiser.