What Service Special Gets Them Back to the Dealer?

Patrick McSherry
What's the Service Special/Offer that gets your customers or new prospects in the door? We've got data that reflects good offers to bring them into the store, but I was curious what everyone else is experiencing? Type of service special? Coupons? What works? Why?
Denim Simkins
Going after the conquest customer is typically so difficult. The incentive or discount has to be strong and the offer has to be very general to appeal to every customer. Typically the rate of return is so low compared to all the other sectors of marketing buckets that it seems like it is not very productive to send out. We all know we need to go after this customer for growth but it seems contrary to reward our least loyal customer with the best and steepest discount. Unfortunately I feel that most of us send these out looking at the expense of the campaign and the potential exposure to the discount and worry about the effectiveness.
Lauren Moses
I have to agree with Denim. Service coupons tend to not to as well for us. We do anything from discounted oil changes, tire rotations. Brake specials, accessories, etc. I think the best one that we did was when we first started selling Rhino Pro bedliners and did an introductory rate and cut the price by $75 to get customers in the door. We did a few but not a ton. We don't mail any coupons out we just have them on our website.
Clint Jones
Years ago I did a promotion in which existing customers were mailed a coupon book that kind of looked like a check book. There were 15-20 coupons in the book, and the customer could use them on a range of services. I don't remember all of the coupons, but I do remember a few. 10% off any final bill. Buy 3 tires, get the 4th free. A couple discount LOF coupons. Free Transmission Flush with a 100,000 mile maintenance. That type of stuff. The promotion came with its own website and bar code scanner so that each repair order was input with all of the details. You could track ROI and up sell through the promotion period. This was easily the best Service Promotion I have ever seen, and it is so easy to track. Send me a message and I will dig up the guys contact information for anyone that wants it.
royce dennis
Great topic my experience in the dealership lead me to develop tool to help dealers increase reach in this area. Ironically I just brought on a new developer to build the app for our tool. If anyone would like to know more about it feel free to shoot me a message. But just my personal opinion and what I always did when I was at the dealership. Sales People are your Service Ambassadors. So being a Air Force Vet and spending much of my career in a customer service role I always utilized my Craddle to Grave sales approach. That meant I sold my customers on the front Vehicle and back Service. Your sales folks have to switch hats as soon as that person is bought then I'm upselling my service and aftermarket. "Customer For Life" then when I became Finance Manager I really took it to the next level. I went so far as to tag team with the service managers. Making warm introductions showing off the service department etc First Impressions make lasting impressions.
Mark Miller
I don't know that a special has to be the driving force. As Royce pointed out, a good sales person will sell the customer on service at the point of the vehicle purchase. Couple that with great service provided by the service department and a perceived value by the customer and they will return. However, if one of these doesn't happen then you need a promo that gets them back. One of the best I used was seasonal offers, back to school always worked well when I was in a college town and the parents weren't close by their kids in school. Promoting what we did in our inspections helped. We used to do the buy 4 get a 5th oil change free, but what I found were results that varied. In some cases that meant all we got was the oil changes and the customer had their "regular mechanic" do the rest. I feel that was due to failure in one of the areas above and we never won them over. The biggest thing you have to do is track each promo to see what works and what doesn't. Make sure your advisors are only giving the promo when they should, not offering it as a discount when a person didn't receive the promo. Also, don't over run a promo, customers will not see the value any longer.

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