A large local construction company truck pulls into the service drive. The lone occupant hops out of the driver’s seat, already scrolling through their phone, replying to messages and calling a client back before even meeting the service advisor’s eye. It’s a fleet customer rolling through for a truck service and there’s one thing the advisor already knows: it’s going to be a bare-bones RO, probably a one-liner.
Unless a fleet customer’s vehicle has high mileage or a big problem, there’s a good chance the recommended preventative maintenance – aside from the oil change, that is – will go to the wayside. That’s from firsthand experience in multiple stores, by the way. It’s not because they don’t care about their vehicle’s condition either. In fact, quite the opposite. Their trucks need to be reliable so they don’t miss site visits, client meetings, and the debrief in the office at the end of the day.
The reason for fleet customers stripping service down to the absolute minimum is in the timing.
In discussion with a major construction company’s VP, I learned that the thing topping their list for dealership frustrations is that their time isn’t respected. He mentioned to me that he’s often gone to the dealership and has been told the service would be less than 30 minutes. An hour later, he requests the shuttle. And more often than not, it’s another hour or two before his truck is ready.
Everyone is in the same boat when it comes to the hour, minute, and second hands ticking away. You can’t get that time back. But for fleet customers, their lost productivity has the butterfly effect on business. They can’t make it to a meeting with a prospective client, lose the bid, they lay off employees, and their business struggles. Obviously that’s not the case every time, but lost productivity for many fleet customers is costlier than just the hour’s wages while they wait at the dealership.
The other consequence when fleet customers don’t feel their time is respected at the dealership is personal. You won’t get their referrals or personal business because there’s already a bad taste in their mouth. So, it costs your dealership big bucks in the long run too.
My conversation turned to what could be done differently to serve the needs of a fleet better.
Ticking off your fleet customers is a big reason they pare down their servicing to nil, and why you don’t see them after warranty expires. Treat them according to their needs by understanding their needs, then reap the rewards.