Blog | The Latest from Performance Admin Corp.

Complimentary Maintenance: Road to Retention

How Does Complimentary Maintenance Lead to Retention?

Find me on:

A popular question in the automotive industry today is, "Does Complimentary Maintenance lead to retention? And, if so, how?"

Here is a step-by-step guide to show how a Certified Maintenance® Complimentary Maintenance Strategy bridges the gap between Sales and Service to give EVERY customer a reason to return to your dealership for service (and then drives them back for vehicle repurcahse.)See the steps below or watch the video.


The Road To Retention

The goal of Complimentary Maintenance is to bridge the gap between purchase and repurchase through service interactions. Each Certified Maintenance® plan works as a retention roadmap that is put in place before vehicle delivery, equipped with Automotive Marketing and communication materials, Service Management Software and Dealership Performance Reports to make it easy for franchised dealerships to stay connected to customers after they drive off the lot. By staying connected with customers during the first 12 months of vehicle ownership, customers are more likely to return for repurchase and refer friends, family members and colleagues to do the same.


Here's how it works:

  1. Build a Complimentary Maintenance Retention Strategy
  2. Promote "Maintenance Included" to Your Customer Base
  3. Improve the Customer Experience with Proven Processes
  4. Communicate with Customers Using Personalized Materials
  5. Follow-Up and Stay Connected After Delivery
  6. Send Timely Service Reminders to Remain Top-of-Mind
  7. Don't Be Home to the Two-Hour Oil Change
  8. Post Claims Online to Protect Your Program From Fraud
  9. Capture Lost Opportunity Customers and Recuperate Service Dollars
  10. Focus on Building Relationships In The First 12-24 Months


Watch the Video 

a pencil icon

Build A Complimentary Maintenance Retention Strategy

Certified Maintenance® Complimentary Prepaid Maintenance Plans

The first step to building a customer retention strategy is to measure the dealership's existing customer retention efforts with a Current State Retention Assessment™. During the assessment we measure the effectiveness of the dealership's retention efforts and build a strategy to project growth and measurement standards that can be expected with a Certified Maintenance Plan. We help dealerships build a custom strategy to fit their retention needs and to meet the needs of their customer base. Since the plan is dealer-owned, you determine the coverage you want to include on new and/or pre-owned vehicles, the number of visits and upgrades you want to offer, schedule term, interval miles and more.


speaker icon

Promote "Maintenance Included" To Your Customer Base

Promote Your Maintenance Included Strategy

The goal of Complimentary Maintenance is not necessarily to attract new customers ( rather, Complimentary Maintenance provides a retention strategy to drive existing customers back to the issuing dealership to minimize conquest) but it's also helpful in providing incentive to new customers, which sets your dealership apart from the competition. Each Maintenance Program comes equipped with Automotive Marketing Materials to inform customers and connect with them after delivery. Dealer-branded marketing materials are sent to customer as if they were sent directly from your dealership. It's beneficial to promote your Maintenance Included offerings across your existing social platforms (social media, tv and radio commercials and via existing direct mail efforts) to keep your dealership — and offerings — top-of-mind.


sales tag icon

Improve The Customer Experience With Proven Processes

Automotive Customer Retention Incentives
Performance Administration Corp. provides training on a Customer-Centric Approach so when customers start driving into your dealership you can wow them with a positive service experience. We put a process in place at delivery that includes dealer-branded Point-of-Sale Laminates with "Why Buy Here" incentives, F&I Up-Sale Laminates to inform customers of Complimentary Maintenance offerings available with their new or pre-owned vehicle purchase. 

Once the purchase is secured we have a post-purchase process that includes a service walk to familiarize customers with your service department, this helps customers to feel comfortable and confident about returning to your dealership for service. During this process, the first maintenance appointment is scheduled to secure the return of the customer and to inform customers of service loyalty rewards. 

Loyalty Rewards programs are optional and can be setup in conjunction with a Complimentary Maintenance program and points are tracked within Service Management Software. An example of a popular maintenance program is "Receive 1 point for every dollar spent in service, redeemable for 5% cashback in rewards certificates." These loyalty rewards provide further incentives for customers to return for service after their service benefits expire.


welcome kit icon

Communicate With Customers Using Personalized Materials

Personalized Automotive Marketing Materials

Once customers drive off your lot, you'll remain top-of-mind with personalized dealer-branded marketing materials. Customers receive a Personalized Welcome Kit, sent 24-48 hours after their purchase has been processed with Performance Administration Corp. Welcome Kits include a welcome letter, program guide with maintenance information and service identification card.


a computer icon

Follow-Up And Stay Connected After Delivery

Service Management Software Sales Dashboard Service Management Software records recent vehicle deliveries so your sales team can follow-up with customers even after they drive off your lot. Personalized Call Screens allow you to save and record call results and customer satisfaction responses so you can continually improve your process, to improve your customers' experiences.


service reminder icon

Send Timely Service Reminders To Remain Top-of-Mind

Send Service and Loyalty Reminders

When customers are due for service, timely service reminders are sent to customers to keep your dealership top-of-mind. Reminders include available maintenance claims to incentivize customers to return to you rather than a competitor.


service icon

Don't Be Home To The Two-Hour Oil Change

Two Hour Oil Change

When customers return for service, it's important to provide prompt service. Customers receive a maintenance ID card to speed up the check-in and claims administration process. And since customers don't pay out of pocket for routine maintenance there is a higher chance they will spend money on recommended service and repairs. Just be sure to keep accurate appointment times and be honest about the services you're providing.


post a claim icon

Post Claims Online To Protect Your Program From Fraud

Post Maintenance Claims Online
Once service is complete, claims can be posted online in three easy steps by entering the RO Number, Odometer reading and RO Amount. It's as easy as that. Online Maintenance Tracking makes it easy to protect your program against fraud, provides transparent accounting and let's you know if your maintenance program is producing the service retention results you expect.


post a claim icon

Capture Lost Opportunity Customers And Recuperate Lost Service Dollars

Lost Opportunity Transformer™
Recuperate Lost Opportunity Dollars™ in your service department by targeting customers who haven't returned for service and drive them back with specialized incentives. The Lost Opportunity Transformer™ is a tool within software that allows you to target customers based on their retention status. Each month a Lost Opportunity Report is generated to provide a recap of how much money you saved as a result of reaching out to Lost Opportunity Customers to invite them back for service.


post a claim icon

Focus On Building Relationships In The First 12 Months

Building Service Relationships in the First 12 Months
Service plays a vital role in the customer retention process because it bridges the gap between purchase and repurchase. Including Maintenance with vehicle purchase allows 2-3 opportunities in the first 12 Months to make connections with the customer and gain their trust through service interactions. NADA Data shows that customers who service at your dealership are twice as likely to repurchase. Building a solid service relationship provides opportunity to create loyal relationships that lead to loyalty, advocacy and customer retention.

If you continue to follow these steps and put the customer at the center of your business you can double or triple your maintenance RO count, increase service income and fuel vehicle repurchases.

Checkout this short, 3-minute video overview to see a Certified Maintenance® customer retention strategy in action! Ready to discuss a personalized retention strategy? Book time with a retention pro today.

Watch the Video


Recent Posts:

Subscribe to Email Updates


Administration Book Review Customer Reviews CX Dealership Loyalty Efficiency F&I Lost Opportunities Marketing Pay Plans Profitability Relationship Building Retention Strategy Rewards Programs Sales Process Service Revenue Service Traffic Social Media Staff Training Technology Vehicle Repurchase
New Call-to-action


About the Author

Richard Knight

Rick Knight is an Automotive Customer Retention Executive who founded Certified Maintenance® Programs in 1996. Rick has been successful in building custom retention strategies for thousands of auto dealers to better than double CP/RO counts in the first 12 months of ownership, drive back 34+% of lost opportunity customers and help auto dealers Sell The Next Vehicle™. 

Rick Knight on LinkedIn   Rick Knight on Twitter