To compete against independent repair facilities, service departments at car dealerships all over North America are stepping up in areas of customer service, convenience, follow-through and almost every aspect of their operations.
With so many options available for car owners today, dealership service departments are looking for innovative methods to attract new and existing clients for their ongoing maintenance and future repairs.
Whenever someone drives off the lot in their new vehicle, dealerships have already started the process of retaining that customer for the long-term. They perform a lot of work behind the scenes to prevent defection and make sure that people will return for service. Every dealership knows well that their service department is a profit center, so engaging and retaining customers is key to its overall success.
In many cases, the service relationship is initially healthy, but as time passes and warranties expire, customer loyalty also begins to take a dip. Within the first two years of new car ownership, 45% of customers remain devoted to their dealership’s service department, according to several studies. But, after those first three to six years of ownership expire, only 31% take their vehicles back to the dealership for basic maintenance services. Then, after seven or more years, only 13% of those same customers will come back.
So what does a dealership have to do to keep all of these people in their service loop? How can they prevent them to go to independent shops once the love affair with their dealership is over?
Here are some things dealership service departments are now focusing on more than ever before:
Top-Tier OEM Parts: Customers can rest assured that they’re getting parts that are made for their specific vehicle integrated into each repair.
Factory-Certified Technicians: Dealership technicians possess in-depth knowledge about the specific vehicles they sell. By going through continual intense training about their brands, dealership service departments can really shine in this category.
Outstanding Customer Service: Your dealership is an extension of the company that made their vehicle, so you have to exceed their elevated customer-service standards. Just satisfying or placating the customer just isn’t enough anymore, especially when there is so much intense competition out there.
Top-notch facilities: This is where dealership service departments can go over the top when it comes to equipment, tools and other amenities that can attract and retain customers. Dealerships also feature OE parts and use the latest and greatest repair techniques. Customers often comment positively about things such as the cleanliness of the facility and the way its technicians are dressed–so leverage those things as much as you can.
Connection to the local community: Your clients will feel more comfortable and trust you if they know you do charity work and outreach in their community. By working with people they like and believe in, customers will not hesitate when it comes to taking their cars to you.
Transparent, hands-on and accountable customer service that is constantly re-emphasized has proven to be the ideal way to keep your customers in high spirits and returning again and again. Diffentiate yourself by doing a better job and you will see more positive feedbacks, loyalty and increased referrals as well.
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You can't improve what you don't measure
Within the past 5 years, up to 80% of customer service activities will have migrated to conversational services. By 2018, a research by The Social Client indicates that messaging users will have exceeded 3.8 billion people. Your customers are trying to text you something. Should your business pay better attention and listen?
- Open rate for text messages 99%
- Amount of smartphone users communicate via text 96%
- Text messages are read within 5 seconds 100%
- People preferring to use text when conversing with a business 78%
Status Updates Can Improve Customer Satisfaction Rating By 10%
Informed customers are happy customers
Automated status updates ensure customers are kept informed during the service lifecycle.
Automated two-way communication
Reduce inbound and outbound calling between service writers and customers with real-time status updates via text messaging and email.
Available analytics in real-time provide realistic target date and time on all delivery promises. Customers are able to schedule and plan their day more efficiently.