Notifications & Messages

Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
Hey - It’s time to join the thousands of other dealer professionals on DrivingSales. Create an account so you can get full access to the articles, discussions and people that are shaping the future of the automotive industry.
Roger Conant

Roger Conant Customer Retention Manager (service)

Exclusive Blog Posts

My Dealership Story - Kristy Elliott

My Dealership Story - Kristy Elliott

Meet Kristy Elliott, the Dealer Operator at Sunshine Chevrolet and check out her dealership story. Learn how Kristy came from the non-profit world to …

Start With Why - David Mead at DrivingSales Presidents Club

Start With Why - David Mead at DrivingSales Presidents Club

DrivingSales was so excited to have David Mead as a keynote speaker during Presidents Club. David works at the Start With Why foundation with Simon Sinek, …

You Have a Position to Fill – Who Do You Hire?

You Have a Position to Fill – Who Do You Hire?

As much as you try to avoid employee churn, you’ll always need to hire someone. It might be to replace a staff who’s moved on in their care…

6 Tips for Better LinkedIn PPC Advertising

6 Tips for Better LinkedIn PPC Advertising

With a little over a year’s experience with LinkedIn Advertising and some insights from a connection at LinkedIn, I’ve put together a list of 6…

The 3 Laws of Extreme Ownership

The 3 Laws of Extreme Ownership

“These are all things that may help you justify your results. But is your dealer any happier because of this?” I just finished reading a…

Your other showroom...the service center!

a54bc0d63bca09b58de0bc6ac458f464.jpg?t=1Vehicle Acquisition Center--Recall Relationship Center--Loaner Center---Vehicle Service Contracts/Maintenance Contracts Center (more about the details of these below)

For two years prior to my present position, I was stationed in the Group 1 Automotive Service Development Center (SDC) in Houston.  That's where I learned a lot about the dealership service business by taking service calls for all of the Group 1 dealer service centers nationally.

And if you think that job was all about simply scheduling appointments, better think again.  It was a prime opportunity to establish either a "great or poor" customer relationship with the callers. First experience encounters at dealerships are critical touch points for an already skeptical and sometimes fearful customer.

In addition, I would visit many of our Houston area dealer service centers on my days off to see what the reality was like on the firing line.

However, now I'm in the best position ever to see how the dealer service center really the Customer Retention Manager (service) for a very large volume Buick GMC dealer with a great reputation in Houston.

The recession coupled with the huge onslaught of recalls has really gotten the attention of the OEMs as to the importance of their service centers (what has always been called the back end of the dealer model.)

There has always been a saying in the "back end" “let's abolish that identity right now, shall we!” "Sales sells the first vehicle...service sells all the rest!"

Well guess what...that cute little phrase has become a reality with the OEMs and the "smart" General Managers (who have traditionally come from the sales side).


Here are the departments (or maybe future departments) for the "other" showroom...the dealership service center.

Vehicle Acquisition Center

What's that, you ask!

There's a new "big idea" in auto retailing that is just gaining its legs.  It is called "equity mining”  but if dealers don't so it will turn into just another reason for car care customers to defect to the independents and chains repair facilities.

How do you do it right?  

First, eliminate that "Sell Us Your Car" signage and mindset from everywhere in the dealership.  

Second, hire for service skills first...sales skills second.

Third, construct an extra low pressure "story" of why you are doing it...that the customer will believe. 

The third one is critical and it will make perfect sense to a customer base who is already skeptical of your every move.  Make it reflect that the number one priority in this program is obtaining first class, worry-free pre-owned cars to sell.  By worry-free, I mean a "better" used vehicle because the buyer, in many cases, will have the complete service history to review. 



Recall Relationship Center

I believe that most would agree that recalls are pretty much here to stay, right? But most service centers still lack a specific plan to leverage them properly.

I believe recalls are a "sleeper" opportunity for service centers to

1) gain new customers and customer pay business  

2) secure possible prospects for future sales and

3) recalls are still so new...we still aren't aware of all the possibilities yet.

However, we pretty well know this...the impact of recalls on customers has been "overall" pretty positive so far.  The customers I have spoken with seem to have the opinion that it's a positive act on the part of the OEMs from a safety standpoint.  But it will only stay that way if their experience goes well at the service centers. (I've had personal conversations with 100s of them via my last job with Group 1 Automotive)

Loaner Center

I don't know about you, but I was completely caught by surprise to see that brands like my store, Beck & Masten Buick & GMC, have an incredibly large fleet of loaners. 

And the loaner "experience" will be a big part of the vehicle acquisition center process.  Not only should that process include demonstrating the (new) loaner model features (for those service customers with older model vehicles)...that process should also attempt to provide as close to a match for the potential "equity exchange" vehicle as possible.

In other words...try to match the loaner to the potential new car choices for those positive equity prospects.

It always made sense to me that the potential buyers who rent a make/model of an impending vehicle purchase ahead of time are the really smart ones.  

Vehicle Service Contracts/Maintenance Contract Sales Center

This has been around forever but with the new cry for a more transparent F & I process, the potential for ramping this effort up in service is imminent. After all, who better to dramatize those costly auto repairs than the service advisors.

All in all, the service center potential to affect future purchases of vehicles is rather dramatic when you really break it down

 Unlock all of the community & features  Join Now