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Recalls can be lucrative service work for dealerships. However, when recalls are announced, most consumers aren’t informed that their vehicle is subject to a recall. As a result, an estimated “46 million cars with unfixed flaws” are currently driving around, according to a recent article in Automotive News. A new bill proposed in the Senate would mandate that states require recall work be completed before an owner can register their vehicle. This bill will assist in informing consumers that their vehicle is subject to a recall and also force the consumer to take action. The article also mentions a “separate initiative, backed by the Transportation Department, to prohibit the sale of used vehicles that have open recalls.” Something that is already mandatory in new vehicle sales.
With the massive number of recalls our industry is currently experiencing, surely dealers want to capture as much of this work as possible. The additional scrutiny and legislation being enacted and proposed should impact the percentage of customers who are aware that their vehicles need service. The most cited reason for incomplete recall work is that the consumer is unaware that the recall exists. Even when dealers or OEMs do reach out to consumers, oftentimes consumers mistake the mailing as junk or solicitous, without even bothering to read it. As consumers become more informed – whether that is due to a more impactful design on the recall notice from the manufacturer; a dealer mailing; or perhaps by being prevented from registering their vehicle; it would be wise to capitalize on this by doing everything you can to capture this business. Customers may be mandated to fix their vehicles, but there won’t be anything mandating that they fix it with YOU.
How does a dealership best position itself to persuade a consumer to choose their dealership over their competitor? By beating everyone to the punch.
It’s quite common for dealers to start the notification process too late, because of concerns about being overwhelmed and lack of parts availability. While these concerns are certainly valid, dealers that take a proactive approach to inform customers; and that create a more efficient scheduling and parts ordering process; will capture more than their fair share.
This begs the question – “If the mailers being sent are being discarded by consumers without reading them, how can I get more consumers in my market to read them?”
Make your recall notices more eye-catching and consider sending them via First-Class Mail so they stand out from the other “junk” mailers. Ensure that they clearly educate the consumer and include a call to action to schedule an appointment at your dealership. And don’t just leave it at that – follow up with a phone call.
Get ready for this upcoming influx of service work – reach out to, engage, upsell, and satisfy recalled vehicle owners to keep them coming back.