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Mike Gorun

Mike Gorun Managing Partner/CEO

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Auto Sales and Service Must Work Together to Build Loyalty

 

For dealers, two primary goals of implementing a loyalty program are: (1) to have the customer return to the service department for repairs, in order to increase customer pay RO, and (2) to have the customer purchase their next vehicle from your dealership. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that both sales and service are working together to build loyal customers.

 

The relationship between these two departments is critical, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2012 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study, as summarized in this Loyalty 360 article.  The study measures the service behaviors, satisfaction and loyalty of owners of vehicles that are four to 12 years old. Overall customer satisfaction is determined by examining five key factors of the service experience: service initiation; service advisor; service facility; service quality; and vehicle pick-up. The study also examines customer satisfaction with both new-vehicle dealerships and aftermarket facilities.

 

The results were that 42% of customers who rate their dealer service experience 10 (on a 10-point scale) indicate they “definitely will” purchase the same make the next time they shop for a new vehicle. In contrast, only 7% of customers who rate their service experience between one and five say they definitely will purchase the same make. Clearly, providing a good service experience is one of the keys to building loyal customers who will purchase their next vehicle from your dealership.

 

Additionally, the study found that one of the biggest factors in making sure customers are happy with service, and therefore more likely to return for future purchases, is communications.

 

Customers prefer to be communicated with via the same method they use to schedule service appointments. Among customers who schedule a service appointment via telephone, 54% prefer to be contacted in the future by telephone, compared with e-mail (32%) and traditional mail (10%). Similarly, among customers scheduling service appointments via the Internet, 66% prefer to be contacted by email, compared with phone (22%), traditional mail (3%) or text message (8%).

 

What processes do your dealership have in place to ensure that both sales and service are “on the same page” in terms of how they reach out and communicate to customers? How often do your sales and service people work together as a team, solving problems and referring customers to each other?

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