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True Stories: “Some dealerships do service right… but could still do it better.”

Technician working on vehicle
Article Highlights:

  • There's always room for improvement in your service experience.
  • See how to turn recall customers into customers for life.

Up to 80% of customers who buy a vehicle from a dealership do not return for customer pay service work two years after the sale, according to Fixed Ops Magazine. Yet, the majority of repair profit comes later in the vehicle lifespan.

OEM recalls present a unique opportunity for dealerships to recapture “lost” service customers and their business. The best dealerships will do that by focusing on the customer’s entire service experience – and not just on completing the recall repair.

I recently spoke with Renee G. who was servicing her car at an independent repair shop prior to visiting a dealership for a recall. After a pleasant service experience at the dealership, she’s continued to return to their service department.

What prompted your visit to this dealership?

The recall notice I received in the mail said the work had to be done at a dealership. There’s a dealership near where I live and work, so I decided to give them a try.

That was about a year ago. I’ve now been to their service department a handful of times for regular maintenance and minor repairs.

Can you give me some examples why you’ve continued to return to this dealership?

They’ve been consistent in delivering good service and workmanship. I also like that:

  • It’s easy to schedule an appointment. I can make it on the dealership website and select what services I need.
  • My appointment time slot is just for me. I get personal attention from the advisor about my concerns.
  • When I visited for the recall, I said in my online appointment that I wanted to know if the recall would be done the same day. The dealership called me to confirm it would unless I had a second issue. I knew what to expect and how to plan my schedule.
  • The advisor checks for open recalls each time I visit.
  • The dealership has a courtesy shuttle. It’s convenient, and the driver is polite and prompt.
  • Once, I had to pick my car up after the service department closed. The receptionist knew to expect me when I picked up my vehicle. The general sales manager also walked by and thanked me for my business. That was another personal touch.
  • I’ve received follow-up calls to see if I’m satisfied. I’ve also received emails asking for feedback.

Is there anything they could do better to improve your experience?

I’ve had great experiences with this dealership, but there’s always room for improvement! Here are a few things I wish they’d do:

  • They don’t consistently go over the safety inspection sheet with me. I’d also like them to email it to me – I’m looking for recommendations to keep my older car running well.
  • I’d like to pay my service invoice online. If I could pay ahead of time, I could get my keys and be out the door quicker.

You mentioned your car is older. Would you consider this dealership when you want to buy a new vehicle?

Absolutely! I feel confident in the brand’s vehicles. I also trust the service department will continue to take good care of my vehicle.

Lesson

By focusing on delivering an exceptional service experience – for recall visits and every visit after – this dealership was able to capture Renee’s service business.

What’s more, she now will consider this dealership when it comes time to replace her current vehicle.

If you want to build customer loyalty, treat every recall visit as an opportunity not just to complete a warranty repair, but also to create a customer for life.

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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