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In tough times, it is natural to make an effort to bolster your service department in an attempt to maximize cash flow. As consumers are putting money into what they’ve got, rather than buying new, there are many dealers marketing their service departments to take maximize every available repair dollar.
Involve the team in marketing and promotions to ensure that you don’t promote something that is difficult or impossible to deliver. Promotions may involve more staff, hours or parts, and these needs should be run past the departments responsible for providing the service. We have seen some great ideas that come from involving the team, such as using the car shows to hand out discount cards for new service customers that do work with you during the slow season, or launching education clinics on the effects of key items and what services can be done to prevent future issues.
Remember the old Queen song, “We Are the Champions,” and apply it to your service department. The people who work in service and parts tend to be very motivated by recognition for their ability to “get’r done” when times are tough. Let them know they are your champions, and they are likely to pull harder for you.
Customer communication is vital. If you stay in touch, you can charge $2,000, and the customer will be happy; but if that same customer doesn’t hear from you, you could knock $500 off the bill and they will still be mad. So much money can be made by staying in touch and offering additional work to the tickets you currently have open.
The work we do tweaking our service and parts efficiency and attracting new customers to our service department can really help us to gain market share when things turn around. No matter what the market is doing, it is always beneficial to have a service and parts department that you can count on.