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Jared Hamilton
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Denim Simkins

Denim Simkins Director, Fixed Ops

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Fixed Operations: Winning Market Share

c885cca306394763963dad7884841d70.jpg?t=1The average new car customer keeps their vehicle for 6.5 years reported by Rian Bosse of BusinessJournalism.org and according to IHS consulting firm the average age of a vehicle on the road is 11.5 years. Where are these customers going for their service and repair needs?  NADA reports that the franchised dealer is capturing less than 23% of the “total” revenue potential for labor and parts sales. Here is my point, customers are keeping their vehicles longer so its time to develop a well funded, perfectly executed customer retention strategy and start to earn your customer back. There are two basic fundamentals in service that your team should practice everyday to win in the game of market share.

Previous service experience

This measure is still king of the jungle when a customer is choosing a service facility. When Google teamed up with CriticalMix and performed a market study this spring of 1500 drivers who had their vehicle serviced or repaired in the last six months it showed that a positive past experience is the number one feature for a customer when they are choosing a future service facility. In the same study fifty five percent of your customers are likely to post a review online and a staggering eighty one percent will tell their family and friends about the previous service experience. The importance of delivering a world-class service experience is second to none and you simply can’t have a customer leave your facility with the feeling of inadequate service. More than ever, the time is now, dust of the processes, hold a shop meeting and tune up your department. Make sure your processes are customer centric and discuss any updates that need to be implemented. Get buy in from your team and hold them accountable to deliver a service experience to the level you would expect delivered to one of your family members.

How well do you know your customer?

My wife said to me in passing one day. “I’m a soccer mom, a regional VP of a growing business, room parent and volunteer at our kid’s school, when do they think I will come in for service on my vehicle?” The point is most of your customers fall into this bucket; everyone is extremely busy these days. We better respect their time and not waist it when they come in for service if you want them to come back. In addition a general service reminder will not engage todays customer. All offerings need to be timely and relevant or they will be discarded and ignored. Your marketing strategy needs to be engaging and well rounded. A multi level campaign that not only is a reminder of the needed service but also provides value to the customer or they will breach their contract with you and simply move on.

In reality our customers have many choices and we need to be more convenient to earn their business. Have your team start building a relationship with the customer that can survive the constant noise of every other business trying to lure them in their front door. I believe more than ever that providing a “personal touch” approach will give you the upper hand in keeping your customers coming back.

Steve Tuschen
@Denim, I agree completely. You have to provide a better service than the competition, if they go somewhere else and receive the same or better you have lost that customer. To me advertising is second to taking care of the customer, you know you have a loyal customer when they just keep everything they receive from you since there last visit and prior and say use whatever you can and put the rest in the car for next time. For marketing we really need to segment our customer base, the loyal customer just needs a timely reminder and they will continue, the off again and on again need a bigger call to action and be wow'd when they come so they will move to the loyal segment. Those that chase your loss leaders and buy nothing else, you have to decide if you want to chase them in hopes to moving them up to a loyal customer or cut them loose and take care of the segments to maximize your marketing dollars and service business.
Roger Conant
Thanks for the information/motivation Denim! And you sure identified the most influential customer to gain market share when you mentioned your wife. Everyone quotes the fact that women directly influence 85% of all retail decisions, but I like the research from Ford several years back that focused on the even higher "veto" power women have over those same decisions. Why do you think the number one "satisfaction" brand, Lexus, is focusing on women. When you meet the expectations of women, you exceed those of all the others.
Denim Simkins
Great point Roger and I can relate to the level of "veto power" within my household:) I really like the direction Lexus is going and to your point it makes a lot of sense. Thank you for posting I would encourage your feedback on any other topics within our community as well.

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