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Service Today

November 23, 2009

Alright. I know I seem to be getting off track already. Isn’t this supposed to be a car SALES blog? Why am I already talking about service? Well, go with me for a minute.

As we all know, the service department pays a good portion of the bills for the dealership. That is why we do a tour of the service department and introduce the service manager when delivering a new car to a new customer. That seems to be where things end when it comes to the service/sales relationship. (Outside of the service/used car manager relationship, but that is a whole other blog in itself.)

From that point on, the service department fights to keep the customer coming back. It is easier when the car is still under warranty, but as the car ages and runs out of warranty, it is harder to get them to come back. That’s when the service manager starts looking for gimmicky ways of getting people in for service. Mailers, check book coupons, Saturday morning car washes, barbeques, even radio and TV ads are used in an attempt to re-capture their old customers. The money that is spent in this effort most of the time cancels out any increase in RO dollars the dealership might experience.

How could we do this better and for less money? Why do we need to spend so much to keep our own customers coming back?

Hey. Here’s an idea. What if our salespeople helped to keep these customers coming back for service? After all, don’t they have a relationship with their customers? Personally, I have a stronger relationship with my service advisor than my salesperson. In fact, I can’t remember his name. That’s too bad, because I remember him to be a decent guy.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How are we going to get our salespeople to help us? What’s in it for them?”

OK, brace yourself. Maybe we could pay the salesperson a commission when their customer spends money in the service department. It doesn’t have to be much, just some kind of incentive to get their help keeping the customer coming back.

I realize you’re smart enough to figure this out, but just in case, let’s start by pointing out some advantages for the salesperson. The most obvious advantage of this practice is that the salesperson develops a stronger relationship with their customers because they are in constant contact with them. What about when it’s time to start considering a new car? Who is the customer going to come to first?

What about other advantages? If you, the used car manager had a choice, which would you prefer, a trade you have all the service records for, or would you rather go the auction and buy it?

It’s true, they should be doing this already, but you have to remember that the salesperson will work the payplan. The pay plan should always achieve the results the dealer wants. Also, this kind of idea may get the departments to work together better.

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2 comments

  1. Great post…

    Many dealers today use the team approach with their service advisors. Have you heard of any assigning customer’s sales (parts / bodyshop / customer service reps)to the team? Add in a vehicle (age / mileage) specific coupon service campaigns and some Social Media (Facebook) and they will be building customers for life.

    Keep up the great effort,

    DTG


  2. Doug, great article… I love the way you think…

    Thank YOu…

    Della



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