Strategies for Outclassing Independent Repairers

Independent repairers can be formidable competitors for your customers who are easy targets for perceived cheaper parts and labour charges.

Once a dealership has created a loyal customer base through their service department, they increase their potential sales opportunities for new vehicles.

Customer’s Preconceived Beliefs About Dealerships

It is crucial that service departments identify ways to outpace independent repairers.

Why exactly are customers so hesitant to take their vehicle back to the dealership ?
  • They believe they will be overcharged by the franchised dealership.
  • They believe they will be charged by the franchised dealership for work not done.
  • They think they will be overcharged for labour and parts.
  • They do not think a dealership can offer the same quick convenience as the independent repairer.
  • They think they will receive a more personal experience at the independent repairer.
The Franchised Dealership Advantages Over Independent Repairers
  • The franchised dealership has technicians trained by the manufacturer.
  • The franchised dealership has diagnostic equipment supplied by the manufacturer specifically designed for their vehicles.
  • The franchised dealership has special tools supplied by the manufacturer specifically designed for the repair of their vehicles.
  • The franchised dealership has a Hotline link to the manufacturers technical division should they require technical assistance.
  • The franchised dealership receives technical repair updates and bulletins from the manufacturer.
  • The franchised dealership utilises the lubricants specified by the manufacturer.
  • The franchised dealership utilises parts and components authorised by the manufacturer.
  • Independent repairers do not follow the manufacturers specified service routine.
  • The manufacturer operates a Customer Care division to assist customers with complaints should they not be satisfied with their dealership experience.
Some Strategies

1. Vehicle owners are “captive”.

In a highly connected world your customers search online when they want to book a service for their vehicle. Reaching customers is about more than just being online. It’s about surfacing relevant information to them across multiple digital channels. When your customers are searching for a service near them using Google you need to be displayed in a map search and showcasing your service department.

2. Address Concerns Head-on

Customers already have preconceived notions about the franchised dealership’s service department. Dealerships ignore these customer concerns without addressing these concerns or customers who don’t feel heard or understood. Analyse the labour and lubricant costs of independent repairers in your area. Showcase your dealership’s affordability. Promote the expertise, equipment and information that only a dealership can deliver.

In regard to labour and pricing: Commit to price transparency, dedicate a portion of your landing page to your team’s commitment to being fair and transparent in labour and parts pricing.

In regard to convenience: Your service department should accommodate customer requests for Express Scheduled Services.

3. Create a Superior Online Customer Experience

As a dealership, you have a unique opportunity to create a superior online customer experience that draws customers back to your service department over and over. Begin with building trust and demonstrating to your customers that your dealership knows and can service and care for their vehicle in a way that independent repairers never could.

Ensure your website is providing the best experience possible. Do a quick analysis of your existing website, asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is my website easy to navigate?
  • Is it easy to contact my team?
  • Is my service department information accurate?
  • Can a customer see on a map where I am located?
  • Is it easy to schedule services through my website?

Constantly check how your online presence could be improved. The goal is to create an online experience that is far superior to the competition, providing an added value to customers who choose to visit you for services.

4. Continue Your Marketing Tactics Post-Visit

Once a customer visits your service department, your interaction is not finished. In fact it is only the beginning.

To build long-term loyalty it is necessary to continue to engage that customer. Make sure the visit is logged and any upsell information your service technicians gathered is attached to the customer’s account details.

Create a strategy for a future marketing campaign for potential work identified as well as seasonal offers and service reminders and offers that are specific to that customer’s needs. This will build loyalty as that customer associates your dealership with expertise and knowledge.

5. Consider Campaigns

A creative way to outpace the independent repairer is to conduct a campaign program which can be the perfect way to increase traffic into your service department while also guaranteeing revenue.

Activating the campaign event is simple.

  • Checking the VIN’s of vehicles that have visited your service department against their outstanding service and recall campaigns will generate additional throughput via a stream not available to independent repairers.
  • Create a list of customers identified for outstanding campaigns.
  • This customer list must be carefully vetted to ensure accuracy.
  • Customers can be contacted via e-mails, phone calls, and texts and WhatsApp.
  • Schedule the customers at date and times convenient to them, and where the action is a quick and simple procedure schedule an express campaign to carry out the action whilst the customer is served refreshments while waiting for their vehicle.
  • Contact customers who have not responded telephonically.
  • Perform the campaign, and use the opportunity to carry out a vehicle health check to identify additional work offered at a discounted price.
  • In addition where possible, schedule future services.
  • Maintain contact with the campaign customers to turn the campaign into a workshop visit for future servicing/repairs.

Contact Amatz Automotive for a comprehensive solution to your Dealership Development.

Amatz Automotive Aftersales Consultants – Dealer Development, Dealership Assessments, Operational Process Development, Customer Satisfaction Interventions, and Training Solutions.

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