When are we going to start treating the pre-owned vehicle customer like royalty instead of the “red-headed step child”?
When a customer takes delivery of a new vehicle, we try to make sure we do everything possible to ensure they come back to our service department (at least for the first visit). We may do this by giving them their first service free or scheduling their first service appointment. Why do we do this? Hopefully because we want to retain that customer and not just to keep the manufacturer happy!
What would happen if we treated ALL of our pre-owned vehicle customers like new vehicle customers, not just our certified pre-owed, but every pre-owned we retailed?
I have a dealer in one of my NCM 20 Groups that did just that! Guess what happened? Her service department gross profit increased 69% (yes, she was already profitable). Her customer pay repair orders increased 8.9% and her customer pay hours increased 42%.
What did she do differently?
- On every pre-owned vehicle sold, a one-year, 15,000-mile maintenance package was included ‒ the only exclusions were luxury high-end vehicles ‒ there were no mileage or age limitations.
- They also slowed their process down so the service advisor actually had time to build a relationship with a customer and had time to sell.
According to DMEautomotive Research increasing service intervals have cost the average dealership $91,000 in annual revenue, so why not retain the customer we already have? This includes servicing all makes and models; after all, you don’t want them getting treated better by your competitor do you?
The pre-owned vehicle customer (owner) is one we already have; wouldn’t it make more sense to try to retain them instead of spending money to try to find a new customer? Try giving them the royal treatment then watch your metrics for loyal soar!