Customer retention is top concern for 64% of dealers

Kristen Tepper

According to Cox Automotive’s 2016 Maintenance and Repair Study, “After buying a car, 72% of customers are opting for third-party mechanics. The main reasons are price and customer service, with 58% of respondents indicating they didn’t go back to the dealerships for service work because they felt they would be overcharged.”

How do you combat this? What are your most effective ways to retain customers? 

John Goll

There was a great thread on here about a month ago about this very issue. I think what it boils down to is the sales to service hand-off. Sales people tend to forget or just flat out don't introduce service advisors to customers after the sale which results in more customers simply servicing elsewhere because they don't have that relationship established with the dealership's service department. I may be over simplifying the solution but this is a great place to start.

Mallory Hughes

John, I agree. I feel like we have all experienced this same scenario with our own vehicles. I have also had great experiences at dealer service departments. I agree that a great place to start is the handoff from sales to service.

R. J. James

The Sales to Service Hand-off is an important part of setting up Customer Retention, but the BIGGEST Hurdle is that Consumers perceive maintenance and repair work to be more expensive and inconvenient than third-party service providers.

Joe Tareen

First point: There is no excuse for NOT doing the sales to service hand off. That should go without saying as this must be a standard operating procedure at every single new car dealership. No excuses.... So i 100 percent agree with the earlier comments.

However if you do a quick read of the statistics posted it says 58% of those customers feared being overcharged. Now we all know there isn't a whole lot of price variation between dealers and aftermarket. So what is at play here? The 'perception' of a low value proposition. That's right, the new car dealer based service departments have a perceived problem with value of the service delivered. To me this can only be addressed with providing convenience to the customer at every touch point Offline or online. Start with the first inbound call and follow it through all the way to the active delivery. There are lots of moving parts to this so to speak. But the most important aspect is a belief and commitment to customer experience excellence. It starts with the top leadership and trickles down to the porter. It's time for everyone to get their hands dirty and get to work! think outside the box.

Chris K Leslie

I think we all can get a whole lot better at the ownership experience. Out of all the processes I’ve looked at, after sale is always the least looked at. 

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