For dealerships, retaining new and used car buyers as regular service customers is more important than ever. Getting your hands on a larger piece of the service pie can pay off exponentially.

Due to the slump in new vehicle sales, more consumers are driving older cars that will need more and more maintenance as time goes on. The sooner you can establish service customer loyalty, the more profitable the relationship becomes.

The problem is that most customers aren’t bringing their cars to the dealership for service.

According to AutoNews, the average vehicle needs roughly three service visits per year, but franchised dealers are snagging less than a third of those repair orders. Quick-lube shops, tire stores and independent repair outlets are getting about 50 percent of this business, and dealers are getting somewhere around 30 percent, with the rest going to places like body shops and retail stores.

So what can you do? Here are a few simple ways to retain Fixed Ops customers.

1.Show off your Service department.

When you’re delivering a vehicle to a new customer, take them by the service lane for an introduction. This can be an effective way to get them to come back for an oil change, dent removal or other common services. If you have an online appointment scheduling system, this would be a good time to mention it.

AutoNews reports that only 41 percent of new and used car buyers were introduced to their dealership’s Service department when they purchased their vehicle. However,53 percent of those customers said the introduction was a factor when deciding where to take their vehicle for service. In fact, customers who visited the Service lane were 1.5 times more likely to come back to the dealership for service.

It’s a great way to establish a more personable relationship with your customers and let them know that you’ve got their back.

2. Think like a customer. Then enhance accordingly.

In the age of online reviews, prioritized convenience and tech-enabled innovation, customer experience is the key to winning repeat business — especially in a market like automotive service.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. They want efficient service, friendly interaction and good value. Nobody wants to deal with long wait times, upselling or inefficient scheduling. Fixing small hiccups in your service experience has a big effect when it comes to bringing customers back for repeat business.

3. Create a continuous cycle of profit.

Beyond profits from repeat service customers, the AutoNews survey also found that nearly half of the respondents reported their experience in the service lane “greatly influenced” the likelihood of buying another vehicle from the same dealership; another third of them said they were “somewhat influenced.” Think of the profit potential in this relationship. You could have a revenue stream that stretches across multiple vehicle lifespans, just from enhancing the experience in your service lane.

Here’s how you can get started

It may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that even small changes can have a big impact. And anything you can do to enhance your customer’s service experience will pay off in the long run.

Searching for new integrated solutions is a great place to start streamlining your Fixed Ops processes. The Fortellis platform is home to multiple Fixed Ops-focused solutions like the Hailer app, which lets you call a Lyft ride for service customers and eliminate wait times without the hassle and expense of loaners or shuttles.

Explore all of our solutions on and see how they can help you gain and retain more Fixed Ops customers.-

Authored on Mon, 02/17/2020 - 16:08