I’d like to introduce myself to the DrivingSales community. My name is Denim Simkins and I have spent the last 22 years living with multiple dealerships performing every job possible on the service side, most recently as Fixed Ops Director at the Ken Garff group. This week I have joined the fast moving, forward thinking team at DrivingSales to champion fixed operations and the people at the core of every profitable dealership. At DrivingSales, I will be growing and facilitating a community filled with industry experts from within the dealership that want to address and discuss todays automotive issues that face Fixed Operations today.
I will not be shy in sharing my views on how we can advance our careers and the success of our dealerships. Taking a look at the challenges that face the service department today, it is clear to me that we need to elevate our sights from day-to-day operations to the strategic role of Fixed Ops in service retention and repurchase loyalty. Is there any other metric as critical to the health of a store than service retention? Not only is it the key to near term service profitability, it is highly correlated with the likelihood of that consumer buying their next car from your store. Shouldn’t this be one of the top 5 metrics every DP or GM uses to manage their business?
I am not the only one with this passion. This morning I talked with Greg Noonan, one of the organizers of The Insight15 Customer Loyalty and Retention Conference in Orlando next week (March 24-26). Greg shared that in 2014 there were 34M new and used vehicles sold, potentially generating 112M RO’s in our service drives. Here is the scary part – our competitors (the aftermarket) will own about 60% of those RO’s. They often out-execute us in marketing and promotion, especially in volume items like tires and batteries. This is not inevitable if we take an attitude of creating “customers for life." This conference is bringing leaders from across the industry to help dealers take the offense in delivering superior experiences and retaining customers. I plan to be there and hope to connect with others sharing this passion. If you would like to attend you can register at http://insightcustomerloyalty.com/ or reach out directly to Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.