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Why Aren’t They Coming Back? Tips for Boosting Service Loyalty

Customer loyalty
Article Highlights:

  • Allow your customers to engage with the same advisor for every visit.
  • Keep customers informed with a digital status board.

One of the biggest problems dealerships face is defection. Customers are spending a majority of parts and service dollars, nearly 70% of $310 billion according to NADA, at independents and national chains. Why? The answer – broken processes and poor communication. Evidence of both can be seen when a customer comes back in for a previously recommended service.

The best dealerships track previously recommended items, declined services, and other appropriate information within the DMS relevant to a customer’s service history. Much like Amazon remembers your shipping address, credit card information, and previous purchases – your dealership should do the same. When a customer visits, all of his service history should be readily accessible.

However, if your system does not store this information, and if you don’t build loyalty through a positive experience, the chances of him coming back are slim. Here are simple tips for fostering service loyalty:

Build a relationship

Would you rather visit the same hairdresser or would you rather explain your preferred style to someone different every single time? According to J.D. Power, satisfaction is substantially higher among customers who work with the same service advisor. Allow your customers to engage with the same advisor for every service visit. Consistency in their experience can drive loyalty and boost CSI.

Make recommendations count

J.D. Power also found 47% of people will agree to have additional service repairs done at the dealership initially recommending them (and they’ll spend over $100 more). So, when offering recommendations to improve the life of a customer’s vehicle, make them count by tracking them in the system. Nearly half of customers will buy what you’re recommending, but knowing what you’ve recommended, what was declined, missed sales, and closing ratios can help turn a mediocre shop into a well-oiled machine.

Be efficient and transparent

If Domino’s can tell you where your pizza is in the delivery process, wouldn’t you expect to know where your car is in the service process? Customers notice when you aren’t using modern technology. Moreover, when sitting in a waiting room with no updates on their vehicles, customers get frustrated. Use electronic dispatching and communication tools to keep technicians productive – not wasting time walking and waiting. Also, implement a digital status board to notify customers of progress – turning perceived wait time into engaged time.


Go above and beyond for your service customers. Consider offering a loyalty rewards program, or a free oil change after five service visits. After all, your biggest competition might be your own consistency. Deliver a great service experience every time, and they’ll come back.

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Rob Leary was the National Sales Director of Fixed Operations for Reynolds and Reynolds. With more than 25 years of automotive experience and a focus on fixed operations, he offered a passion and knowledge about what is relevant and important in today’s rapidly evolving automotive world.

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