A Feast of Service Customers

Home > Insights > A Feast of Service Customers

Going back for seconds (and maybe thirds) on Thanksgiving is kind of a tradition all on its own. How do you resist? It’s all so good! Car owners have as many options as there are Thanksgiving side dishes when it comes to maintaining their vehicle, so how do you keep them coming back for service once the warranty expires?

A lot of dealers seem to be taking cues from planning a Thanksgiving dinner. Focus on what you’re good at, make it easy, adapt when you need to, and stay connected.

Here are some tips for getting those out-of-warranty customers to stick with your service team (and luckily this doesn’t involve inviting a crowd of family members over for an entire day).

Remind Customers That Your Service is as Good as Pumpkin Pie

Like cooking the Thanksgiving meal, you have to focus on your strengths. If you make the best pumpkin pie in town, you’re going to talk about it. Your service department is no different.

According to Wards Auto, 55% of consumers that go to a dealership say it’s because the service personnel know their vehicle better. Factory-trained service personnel, special service tools, manufacturer-specific diagnostic equipment, OEM parts and warranties are all essential advantages that dealership service departments have.

A best practice is to remind customers near the end of their warranties that you offer specialized care for their vehicles to keep them coming back. Like everyone comes back for that pumpkin pie.

Make It Easy

When the Turkey Day cooking is someone else’s job, you just walk in the door and eat. Easy. High- performing dealers are just as focused on making it that easy for their customers.

Savvy dealers have introduced programs that make dealership-level service more accessible to their customers.

An article in CBTNews suggests adding customer conveniences including “online scheduling, touchless check-in, and remote, mobile, or online payment capabilities to get customers in and out quickly.”

Digital Dealer reports that “Consumers would prefer to have you pick up their vehicle from their home or workplace and return it upon completion of service, rather than drive to a location — even around the corner to Jiffy Lube.”

Adapt to the Market

There’s always someone who hates the green beans. So maybe just make the corn, right? The point is, sometimes you have to adapt to keep everyone happy. While the vehicle is under warranty, the menu is more or less fixed with OEM’s covering services. But once the warranty expires, leading dealers often charge the same labor rate, whether it’s an oil change or a complex electronic system diagnosis.

Some dealers choose to adopt a pricing strategy that accepts a lower margin on common maintenance services like oil changes and tire rotations to help retain service customers. Promoting discounted maintenance items inexpensively through in-store merchandising, customer mailers, and social media is another avenue dealers take.

When the owner of a post-warranty vehicle needs a major service or repair, it’s ideal if they already know and trust your service department.

Offer a Plan — and More

The Thanksgiving dinner takes planning, even if you’re not doing the cooking: the cleaning, the shopping, the reminders to all the guests. Take the same approach with your customers when their vehicle’s warranty is about to end. A service plan can help take the stress out of car maintenance for them.

Some dealers start with a friendly reminder that their warranty is nearing its end. Others offer several levels of service plans and are ready to customize to a customer’s personal tastes (kind of like picking the corn vs the green beans at dinner).

Stay Connected

Customers are like family. You stay connected with great communication and everyone looks forward to the next Thanksgiving (well, usually).

With CARFAX for Life, your customers stay connected to you via the CARFAX brand. Through service reminders and recall alerts — CARFAX helps keep your dealership name in front of your service customers.

Keep customers coming back for service like those Thanksgiving guests who head back to the table for seconds (or thirds) of that dinner you served. Learn more about how CARFAX for Life can help you stay connected and keep your customers coming back for service after their warranties expire.

Stay Connected!

Keep up to date with the latest CARFAX news and insights.

CARFAX. Put the power of our brand and information to work for you.

CARFAX invented vehicle history in 1986—and has been investing in it ever since. CARFAX has the most accident, damage, and service information.