The way dealerships interact with their customers is facing a major shift in communication standards, which is especially important when profitability is more about recurring service revenue rather than vehicle sales.

By prioritizing clear, consistent, and personalized communication at key moments, dealerships can enhance customer satisfaction, fostering a lucrative cycle of repeat visits for maintenance and services.

Let’s take a look at some important instances where dealerships really need to get communication right.

Ask customers to schedule their next maintenance appointment before they leave your dealership

Convenience matters. When we surveyed nearly 1,500 dealership customers to identify the reasons they might go somewhere other than their dealership for service, 32% of consumers said “limited availability for service appointments.”

This statistic underscores the importance of not only offering quality service but also ensuring accessibility and ease in scheduling. An overbooked dealership isn’t just a temporary inconvenience; it’s a potential threat to customer loyalty and retention.

Make it a standard practice for the Service Advisor to initiate the scheduling of the next maintenance appointment. This can be done during the service review or at the completion of the current service.

To solidify this new appointment, have your cashier reconfirm it during the checkout process. For instance, the cashier can ask, “Did John schedule your next service appointment?”

This double-check acts as a failsafe, ensuring no customer leaves without their next appointment set. It also reinforces the notion that your dealership is thorough and attentive to their needs.

If you’re already a DriveSure customer, send a confirmation message and include a reminder of the DriveSure benefits that will be renewed with their next service.

What keeps customers coming back to your dealership in 2023?

Insights from Nearly 1,500 Dealership Customers

Use texting to contact customers

Customers, busy with multiple responsibilities, are finding it challenging to answer calls or sift through emails. This communication gap can lead to dissatisfaction, missed appointments, and decreased dealership loyalty.

Increasingly, they prefer texting. Text messaging grew as a preferred communication method between service visits from 32% in 2020 to 40% in 2023, highlighting a growing trend among dealership customers towards favoring text messages over other forms of communication.

Text messages, quick and accessible, fit seamlessly into customers’ busy schedules, providing necessary information without being intrusive.

Text messaging not only meets customers where they are but also respects their time and preferences, fostering a stronger connection and enhancing customer satisfaction and retention. 

The report’s findings underscore the urgency for dealerships to adopt robust texting strategies. With the majority of dealerships already leveraging texts, those not utilizing this channel risk falling behind.

Keep using windshield reminder stickers…

Despite the surge in digital communication tools, windshield reminder stickers remain a fundamental element in customer retention strategies.

Our report highlights the ongoing importance of these stickers: a full 45% of participants rely on these stickers to determine their next service visit. More specifically, 25% focus on the mileage indicated, while 20% look at the date.

Given their visibility and convenience, windshield stickers are invaluable for customers. They are particularly useful for busy people, from families with multiple vehicles, to professionals who appreciate the straightforward reminder each time they drive.

…But upgrade your windshield reminder stickers

Enhancing the functionality of these stickers could further improve their effectiveness. Consider adding QR codes for direct access to service records, upcoming promotions, or online scheduling. Including contact information and personalized details, such as the customer’s name or vehicle model, adds a touch of personalization and utility. Monitoring the return rate of customers responding to these stickers can offer insights into refining communication strategies.

Incorporating value-added benefits like DriveSure’s Benefits Suite through QR codes can provide customers with instant roadside assistance and information about their prepaid maintenance redemptions. Such features elevate the customer experience and encourage repeat visits to the dealership.

Set yourself up for unplanned repairs retention

To retain customers during unplanned repairs, ensure they have easy access to roadside assistance information, whether that’s through the windshield reminder sticker QR code described here, or another equally simple method. Furthermore, implement a system for immediate notifications when roadside assistance is dispatched for your service customers.

This tactic enables prompt, supportive communication and seamless integration into your service schedule. Post-assistance, follow up to assess customer satisfaction and gather feedback.

This approach, exemplified by DriveSure’s dealer-loyal roadside assistance, turns unexpected events into opportunities for demonstrating your dealership’s commitment to customer care, enhancing both retention and overall customer experience.

Consider a Maintenance Marketing System

DriveSure’s Maintenance Marketing System enhances dealership customer communications with effective tools for service advisors, including customizable benefit sheets and those QR-coded windshield stickers we explained before. It offers multi-channel communication, seamless automation for personalized reminders, and an intuitive customer portal, ensuring consistent, convenient, and engaging interactions across various platforms.

Get the latest info on customer preferences

For deeper insights into these dynamics, download the 2023 Dealership Service Retention Report. This report reveals the core reasons customers choose to leave, the factors that inspire their loyalty, and offers more actionable solutions to ensure they remain with your dealership for the long haul.

Download your copy today and take the first step towards nurturing lasting customer relationships.

What keeps customers coming back to your dealership?

Download the 2023 Dealership Service Retention Report to see what dealership service customers have to say.

Join us for a free online event on July 28th!Battling 5 Dealership Service Defection Points with DriveSure