If a vehicle owner starts going somewhere else for a particular service, your dealership might lose them forever. That other shop gets a golden opportunity to win the customer over with a great experience or better pricing.

This is part of why it’s become so important that dealerships become their customers’ trusted go-to spot for all maintenance, tires, and repairs, and why it’s so important to keep up to date with the latest shifts in consumer preferences.

Once that other shop becomes the customer’s go-to location for one service, they might easily become the preferred choice for other services too. This can even make it less likely that the customer will come back to you for their next vehicle purchase. The stakes are high, and the importance of retaining customers through exceptional service and competitive pricing cannot be overstated.

Understanding customer preferences is paramount for success here. The 2023 Dealership Service Retention Report sheds light on this critical aspect. This comprehensive study surveyed 1,380 vehicle owners who utilize a dealership for at least some of their service needs.

By delving into the minds of consumers, the report uncovers what drives them to choose or abandon a dealership for specific services. For dealerships, having access to data like this helps to navigate the competitive market and meet customer expectations.

Among other things, the report looked into the types of services customers turn to their dealership for, and which services they opt to receive elsewhere.

What keeps customers coming back to your dealership in 2023?

Insights from Nearly 1,500 Dealership Customers

The Top 3 Services Customers Seek Elsewhere

When it comes to the specific services that customers are most likely to get at places other than a dealership, the report provides clear insights. While nearly half of the survey participants (46%) entrust their dealership with all their vehicle servicing needs, the rest have distinct preferences.

Among customers who don’t exclusively get their vehicle serviced at their dealership, these are the services they’re least likely to visit a dealership for:

  • Body work (11% would go to their dealership)
  • Battery replacement (15% would go to their dealership)
  • Tire rotation or repair (31% would go to their dealership)

These numbers represent real-world decisions that customers make every day. For example, a customer might choose a specialized body shop for a dent repair, a local garage for a battery replacement, or a big box retailer for a quick tire rotation.

However, bear in mind that price and service quality are still major factors in these decisions. A dealership that offers competitive pricing and exceptional service for these three services might still win the customer’s trust and business (assuming the customer knows you offer these services — more on that below).

Recognizing this trend, service advisors must keep a sharp eye on such potential issues when a customer arrives at the dealership for other services. This proactive approach is not only vital to keep customers from seeking services elsewhere but also provides dealerships with the golden opportunity to stave off problems before the customer has to deal with them on the road.

The Retention Report serves as a valuable guide here, helping dealerships understand and adapt to the evolving needs and preferences of their customers. When it comes to services though, we discovered some big surprises…

Tire Services Are A Chance to Keep More Customers

More than other services, tires are a significant defection point for customers. Tire service is needed regularly, and any stop at a competitor can cause you to lose that customer for good.

In other words, tire services are a significant opportunity for dealerships to retain more customers, and the findings from the retention report underscore this potential.

The report found that a shocking 29% of customers are unsure if their dealership even sells tires. This lack of awareness contrasts sharply with the fact that a full 63% of vehicle owners prefer to have tire rotations and repairs done at their dealership.

The disconnect between customer preferences and their awareness of the dealership’s offerings in tire services reveals an untapped market. If more customers were aware that their dealership provided tire services, it could lead to a substantial increase in the number of customers relying on the dealership for these needs.

This insight calls for a proactive approach from dealerships in promoting their tire services. By clearly communicating the availability of tire services, offering competitive pricing, and emphasizing the convenience and quality of getting tires serviced at the dealership, dealerships can bridge this awareness gap — thus reducing the number of customers defecting to competitors for service.

Provide Value-added Incentives to Keep Your Dealership Top of Mind

Adding value-added incentives to your dealership’s offerings can be a strategic move to keep your business top of mind for customers. By providing benefits such as free road hazard tire protection or emergency alternate transportation service — for a limited period after each service visit — you not only enhance the overall customer experience but also create a unique selling proposition that sets your dealership apart from competitors.

Additional incentives like these align with the needs of vehicle owners, and offering these perks for a limited time encourages customers to return to the dealership more often to renew the benefits. This provides more opportunities to provide exceptional service to the customer, fostering a deeper sense of loyalty and helping you stay top-of-mind.

These bonuses also encourage positive word-of-mouth, as satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your dealership to others and remark on the unique benefits you provide.

In a competitive market, unique offers can be a game-changer in customer retention and satisfaction, making them an essential consideration for any forward-thinking dealership.

Want to keep your customers coming back for service? Learn more about customer preferences for value-added services and much more, in the 2023 Dealership Service Retention Report.

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