By Alex Magliochetti
Covid 19 has changed many of us and the way we live. It has also impacted the Auto Industry and the Service Department. We are using our vehicles less; people are now working from home. Many have found themselves in a reduced pay scale, furloughed, or have even lost their jobs. With the Government subsidies initially offered, (now most exhausted} It creates an” I’m only going to bring my vehicle back to the dealer if absolutely necessary or under warranty” culture.
So, what does that mean to your service department?
Obviously if still under warranty they will come back to get a problem fixed. However, as far as the maintenance they are shying away due to money being tight. Especially if it is a lease, they think they're on a 3-year test drive!
As professionals, it’s our duty, yes that is right, our duty to make sure that their vehicles are safe to drive.
What does that entail? Getting with the customer and building a repour while they are in the service drive. Pointing out badly worn tires, brakes that need replacing, any obvious issues (broken lenses, fan belts frayed), and battery tests that show replacement needed, just to mention a few. Remember to point out things that do not need replacement yet, building confidence in you and the dealership. Most customers are reluctant to get that work done at dealerships thinking we are too expensive. You must keep the price points of these services competitive to your market place ie: $400 batteries will force a no response from your customers and cause them to defect to the after-market shops in your area. Placing a competitive pricing board in the customer waiting room of surveyed after-market shops showing you are closely priced or better, will almost guarantee they would rather have a factory trained tech do the work if priced right.
Some Techs and Mangers will say that they don’t want to do that “cheap” work at those competitive prices!! You owe it to your customers to point out that work. They are going to get the work done somewhere. Once they leave your store, they will defect to these “cottage industry shops” that will cater to their needs and they will never come back to the dealer for other customers pay labor lobs.
Offer prepaid maintenance plans in the drive to help create customer retention. Service contracts can also be offered, as well as tire and wheel protection. There are credit card opportunities to be offered to give your customers a way to get repairs done where there wasn’t an option before.
It all boils down to keeping the customers safe in these crazy times and making sure they look to YOU, the professional, for the answers for their automotive needs.
In return you can have customers for life, to mine for future service work, create new car sales, and trade-ins for your used car inventories.
Keeping the circle of life “Mufasa” strong at your stores.
Alex Magliochetti: has over 35 years in the Automotive industry starting as a tech to owning stores. Having been in the day to day gives him unique insight into what can be accomplished. If you want further insight, he is available at email@example.com
Send me a DM if this resonated with you, or just reach out and connect.