It costs dealerships 7 times more to gain new customers than to keep existing ones. In fact, Harvard Business School found that increasing customer retention by just 5% can lead to a 25%-95% profit increase. However, due to technological advancements, cars live longer and people are keeping them longer (around six years for the average person). But no matter how often someone buys, cars need regular maintenance and repairs – which is why dealerships should be making strategic efforts to retain customers in their service department. Here are three ways to foster customer loyalty and retention in the service lane.
1. Offer Customers a Quality Check-in Experience
We realize you may have a line of vehicles in your lane, but pushing customers through the service lane like they’re at a McDonald’s drive-thru does little to foster customer loyalty. While customers don’t want to spend hours waiting, they also don’t want to feel rushed. Service departments who have developed efficient, personalized write-up processes stand to increase repair order hours and customer retention in a big way. Slowing down also allows service advisors to interact with the customer. They can talk through recommended maintenance items, learn more about the person, and provide a better experience overall.
2. The Right System Creates More Opportunity
We’ve talked about redefining the service lane in previous articles, which is all about increasing customer retention with tools designed specifically for the service lane. At eAdvisor, we offer a hands-free system that auto-generates Vehicle Service History and VIN and Mileage specific recommended maintenance reports in under 10 seconds. This saves time because service advisors don’t manually enter data. And, by the time they’ve finished the multi-point inspection and are headed back to the computer, the reports have already been printed. They can spend this extra time building a relationship with the customer.
3. Engage Customers
A service advisor’s job is to serve customers. Experts say that service advisors should write no more than 15 repair orders per shift, which allows for more time with customers. While that seems counterproductive to increasing profits, it isn’t. If the time is spent chatting with the customer, teaching them about their vehicle issues, and learning about them, it’s time well-spent. Connection is how customer loyalty is built. If customers don’t feel connected to you, don’t expect them to return.
At eAdvisor, we’re service lane experts and our system was designed to improve service lane efficiency, which has a profound effect on customer retention. If your service department needs any assistance in this area, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.