At 3 Birds, we understand how valuable customer loyalty is to your dealership’s success. However, with today’s competitive industry, factors such as great service and transparency may not be enough to ensure customer retention. Additionally, with the surplus of independent auto body and repair shops all vying for your customers’ attention, it has become increasingly difficult for dealerships to hang on to their service clientele.
For that reason, we’ve highlighted–and debunked–four common myths regarding service retention. Read on to discover several decisive factors that may positively impact the long-term success of your dealership’s service department.
Myth #1: A satisfied customer is a loyal customer.
Keep your customer happy and he or she will be back for more, right? Unfortunately that’s not always true. Even if a customer is satisfied with the service your dealership has provided, if he or she finds service that meets his or her needs from an independent provider nearby–at a cheaper price, closer to home, or performed more quickly–they are likely to go elsewhere. The hard truth is that a happy customer is yours to lose. Consistent, helpful and timely communication will allow you to stay top of mind with the customer – and compete with the myriad competing offers they are receiving–or take it a step further with a dealer-branded customer loyalty program that promotes return service and helps reward your customers – all while delivering more ROI to your dealership.
Myth #2: Always market your service department separately from your dealership.
Always marketing your service department WITHIN your dealership. According to DealerMarketing.com, aftermarket service shops are thriving and unfortunately, as a dealer, “you will keep only 11 percent of your sold customers as service clients.” This is a glass-is-half-full scenario. If, on average, 11% of sold customers become service customers then that means 89% of your database is all opportunity. You should be working as hard to bridge the gap between sales and service as you are marketing to capture unaffiliated customers.
Myth #3: Your service marketing strategy should be the same for every customer.
Each customer is different – different service needs, different pain points, different lifestyle – and the same service strategy won’t work for every individual. Use all channels of communication that are available to you, from social media to direct mail. Also, pay attention to what a customer responds to. If they are consistently interacting with your emails, make sure that you are showing up in their inbox regularly. The same holds true for social media, direct mail, text, phone, etc. There’s not one method of communication that works for everyone, you’ll have to strike the right balance.
And your message? Focus on your areas of vulnerability, the areas of service defection: oil change, transmission, tires, alignment and (where applicable) state inspection. Shore up the communication around those services to make sure to retain as much of that business as possible. If you can achieve those milestone services, you have likely created a customer for life.
You may know everything that makes your service department so great, but unless you are telling your customers about it, they don’t know. Make sure to include those points in your marketing. Do you have Wi-Fi or a shuttle? Extended hours? Express, no-appointment-needed services? Make sure you talk about those great features that could give you a leg up on the competition down the street.
Myth #4: Your sales team should focus on sales — and not worry about service.
While sales and service may be two separate entities at your dealership, it is important to educate your sales team about the important of transitioning a sales customer into a service customer. Also, be sure you have follow-up communication scheduled for after the sale, reinforcing the value proposition of the service department and introducing your service team. Remember, it takes three visits to win the loyalty of a sales customer in service, so make sure that you clear the path to those services of all obstacles.
Have you found yourself living by any of these myths? If so, it’s never too late to make adjustments to what you are doing. Just keep in mind that today’s consumers have a wealth of knowledge (and a long list of other options) at their fingertips, so it’s important to make a continued effort to stay top of mind. Remember the 11% stat? Imagine how your bottom line would be affected if you were able to tweak a few things and even just grab 10% more?
With 3 Birds marketing solutions, you can build lasting customer relationships and establish your service department as the natural choice for buyers’ service needs. Contact us today to learn more about retaining customers utilizing our digital marketing strategies.