The 2018 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey reveals that about 77 percent of a dealership’s service customers think they’re being overcharged. That research is substantiated with high defection rates – car buyers who decide to service their vehicles elsewhere after the sale. But this research is only based on the customer’s perception, not reality.
InteliChek asked focus groups of various demographics a similar question about service costs. All groups had the same result: they believe dealerships charge double what you’d pay at an aftermarket service provider.
Customers believe franchised dealers are overpriced for services, and that’s without comparing price. What’s also true is that customers are willing to spend 15 to 20 percent more at the dealership based on the expertise and amenities you have. You can demonstrate your competitive pricing in ads or in the store but that’s only effective if you have the amenities to back it up.
In your service promotional material, both online, in print, and in-store, you should be making an effort to differentiate your service department offerings from competitors. These are the factors that will reinforce value in the customers, drawing them in to be pleasantly surprised that they aren’t paying double.
A massive plus for dealerships is a fleet of service loaner cars. Many manufacturers offer loaners for warranty repairs, but what about CP services? A fleet of loaner cars relative to your department size is an investment you can’t afford NOT to make.
Another low-cost transportation option that’s increasing in popularity is loaner bicycles, especially for the conscientious millennial generation.
Loaners are an amenity that aftermarkets can rarely afford. Work that angle to your advantage.
It might not seem like much to you, but car owners love a clean car! If you can wash cars in for service consistently, customers will love you for it. It saves them time and money from making a visit to a car wash, even if they’re paying a bit more for their services.
Not only are multi-point inspections huge benefit for adding service sales but they add peace of mind for the customer. It shouldn’t be understated – MPIs are arguably the most important tool in a service department’s chest. When it’s deliberately stated as complimentary on the RO, customers take notice.
Everyone offers coffee and water. Additional refreshments make the customer’s experience even more comfortable. Whether it’s juice to refill sippy cups for your next generation of customers or pastries for early birds that rushed out the door, providing a snack and a few beverage options is a nice touch.
Parents worry what they’ll do with their kids when they come in for service. If you have a play area with safe toys and age-appropriate TV shows, it’s a hit for parents.
How your waiting room is kept is just as important as what it contains. The customer perception is that you treat their vehicle the same way you treat your facilities. That means spotless washrooms, a tidy, organized customer lounge, and modern equipment are the expectation.
Remember, the amenities you offer are meant to improve the customer experience, adding value for your customers. You can charge up to 20 percent more for services in most cases as long as you give your customers more value than lower-priced competitors.