The end of the year is a time for reflection; not just for individuals, but also for companies that look at their numbers to see if they’re where they should be. For franchised auto dealerships, it’s about more than seeing excellent sales numbers; you also want to see those service numbers on the rise.
What if your dealership yearly recap numbers aren’t where you’d like them to be? There's a strategy that can help you boost both sales and service numbers.
How Does a Complimentary Maintenance Program Help Gain and Retain Customers?
Maybe your sales numbers are healthy, but your service numbers are hurting because only 50% of your customers are returning to have repairs and maintenance work done. Implementing dealer maintenance plans is a strategy that can help boost both the sales and service side of the equation.
For starters, customers will feel more comfortable buying from your dealership when they know they can expect easy and hassle-free maintenance.
A complimentary maintenance program is about more than scoring that first sale, however. It’s about building a relationship with every customer who drives off of your lot in their new vehicle.
When you provide a complimentary reason to return that includes friendly service reminders, customers are more likely to return for basic maintenance. Provide them with a great customer service experience by getting them in and out of the service department in 30 minutes or less, and they’re likely to return yet again.
This translates to customers relying on your dealership when repair items pop up down the road. It also means that when it’s time for a new vehicle, they’ll walk through your door instead of the doors of the dealership down the street.
How Can a Dealership Measure Results?
First of all, a dealership should be aware of how many visits are required to have truly “retained” a customer and tailor their dealer maintenance offering to reflect this.
While some manufacturers measure retention success based upon one visit during a 12-month period, many dealers know this isn’t realistic. An average vehicle will need more than two oil changes in two years. Dealers have to offer more by customizing a plan based on the make of vehicle they sell to ensure that they maximize each potential customer visit.
In order to tell if the programs you’ve put in place are working, you’ve got to rely on more than perception. The numbers don’t lie, so it’s important to keep tabs on those numbers at all times.
MaintenanceProgram.com is an excellent way to keep track of sales and retention numbers on a day-to-day basis. It allows you to view customer retention reports, as well as manage information for follow up calls and interactions with previous customers.
Quarterly reviews can also provide a realistic view of where your numbers are currently at in comparison to other times of the year. In addition to this, we suggest end-of-year meetings to look back at what worked, what didn’t, and to strategize and make changes for the year to come.
What If You’re Not Happy with the Numbers?
If your retention numbers are lagging, you’ve got to figure out why customers aren’t returning. Did they have a bad customer service experience the last time they came in? Are they unaware that they still have remaining benefits? After you figure out the common thread, address the problem head-on.
The best way to do this is through our comprehensive training program that gets all of your employees on the same page. Successful numbers are about more than your salespeople putting customers in new vehicles. After completion of a sale, your sales staff should walk the customer back and personally introduce them to their service advisor. Customers need to feel valued when they interact with everyone at your dealership — from the finance department to the parts department.
On-site or webinar training helps ensure that every dealership employee shares the same goal of making each of your customers feel valued.
Finally, our Lost Opportunity Transformer helps find wayward customers and bring them back through your doors. This software tool helps customize your communication with each customer based on their preferences and the amount of time that has passed since their last visit.
Whether it’s sending out postcards and e-mails or having a salesperson or service advisor personally reach out to your customers, following up gets real results. Combine this with training that ensures that each customer feels important every time they interact with your staff and you’ll soon see those numbers start to climb.