Why Include Complimentary Maintenance?

Recently there’s been a pullback by GM, VW, and others with regard to the coverage and terms of their complimentary maintenance offerings. And we, here at Performance Administration Corp., believe there is much to learn from their pullback— specifically that these manufacturers don’t understand the real goal behind a complimentary maintenance strategy.

When GM reduced their offering they quoted the following:

“We talked to our customers and learned that free scheduled maintenance and warranty coverage do not rank high as a reason to purchase a vehicle among buyers of non-luxury brands.”–Steve Hill, GM North America VP

So, what can we learn from this statement? First of all,I agree that the benefits of “Maintenance Included” may not rank high as the reason people purchase their first GM vehicle. But the problem with Hill’sstatement is that GM is focused only on selling the first car, which is forsaking long-term goals with short-term thinking.

This goes to prove that GM doesn’t understand that providing Complimentary Maintenance has nothing to do with selling the first vehicle and everything to do with building relationships with customers that sell the second and third vehicle.

If you, like GM, are asking the question: “Why include Complimentary Maintenance?” The answer is NOT to help sell the INITIALvehicle. The goal of complimentary maintenance is to help you sell the NEXT vehicle. 

The benefits of complimentary maintenance have more to do with guaranteed customer interaction with your dealership through service experiences and consistent interactions. It’s important that we do not fumble those service opportunities and instead use the interactions to foster goodwill and promote positive interactions with our customers to earn loyalty. We all know that service loyal customers are nearly twice as likely to repurchase from your dealership if they have great service experiences. It’s difficult to sell the next vehicle if our customer is servicing somewhere other than our dealership.

What are you doing to ensure your customers are returning to your dealership for service and having a positive experience on each visit?

That’s where a complimentary maintenance program comes into play. If you’re interested in building a customized dealer-owned maintenance plan — a true retention strategy designed to bridge the gap between sales and service — then get in touch with me to discuss personalized opportunities for your dealership.