Because improved technology and assembly line advancements have made automobiles both more efficient and more reliable with fewer warranty issues, car dealerships must find ways to add value to their customers, and increase revenue.
Selling Happens at All Levels of a Dealership
Increasing perceived value to customers, will not only increase repeat sales opportunities, but also add revenue through the Service Department. To accomplish this, dealerships must consider service and maintenance opportunities for current customers. This is something that can be accomplished at all levels. For example, salesmen should talk to new car customers about the value of regular maintenance to keep the car in top operating condition. The finance department might stress the value-added services offered. Both entities should stress that the level of knowledge and expertise of the dealership’s service department for their specific brand is more complete than other servicing operations that handle vehicle makes and models on a more global level.
When customers do return for maintenance or repairs, it is service advisors who become the “face” of the dealership. Spending a little time educating customers on the specific needs of their vehicle, and offering advice that will not only keep their car or truck in top condition, but could save money, time, and aggravation down the line. When small problems are addressed, larger issues that might result in a breakdown on the road can be minimized.
Problems Can Be a Chance to Add Value
When a customer returns with a problem, it is important to not only address and solve the specific problem, but also to do a comprehensive review of the vehicle, including a history analysis of routine maintenance. Findings from a visual inspection, as well as any issues uncovered from the technician’s multi-point inspection should be relayed to the customer. For example, if the technician finds that the auto needs a new battery, he should warn the customer. If he does not, when the battery finally fails, the customer may defect to another aftermarket supplier. This not only decreases the revenue of the dealership, but could damage the relationship with the customer, who will wonder why the service advisor did not tell her she needed a battery.
Service advisors should advise customers of all urgent, routine, and upcoming service needs (and why each is important) at each visit. This not only increases customer confidence, but increases the chances of repeat business – both in the service arena and new car sales.