From dealership standpoint, customer retention for the long term is totally dependent on personal relationships with your staff.
The question “Would you take your car to the dealer for a repair out of warranty?” is a moot point if the dealership has treated the customer the right way, along the way. Did the customer have a remarkable experience and close rapport with the dealership staff during their warranty experience? There are customers that want the cheapest thing always, for sure, however most customers just want a fair price and a good experience. Let’s hit on a couple points that may shed light on the issue of retention after warranty.
Rapport Means More!
As the old saying goes, people hate to be sold, but they love to buy. Well, what exactly does that mean and how do we use this?
In a service drive, rather than just a transactional experience where the customer is just shuffled in and out and the employees are just taking orders, people expect and respond to more care. Yes, they want convenience and a fair price but more than that they want to know and trust their vehicle advisor. If an advisor can simply do exactly that – advise – and give the customer transparent options about what they can wait on having done, the things that should not wait bear a greater weight and become an obvious option to buy. You may have also noticed the psychology of customer relationships that result in the happiest customers typically investing the most money with you. Why is that do you think? We must be focused on helping a customer optimize their experience rather than just “maintain” their car. Without great rapport great customer service and retention is impossible.
Not the Cheapest
Dealerships will indeed loose after-warranty dollars to the aftermarket for being “too expensive”. I believe from a customer standpoint that this reasoning can be short sided. From a dealership perspective, we really don’t want business that is not profitable enough to enable us to reach our objectives. We don’t want to be the lowest, but certainly not the highest. We want to be competitive on competitive services. Another aspect is the usable lifecycle of a vehicle. It’s very true people are keeping their cars longer and longer, Google the average age of a car on the road and it will return 11.5 years! In fact, most dealerships I work with day-in and day-out have an average mileage on the customer pay vehicles in the shop of around 85K miles. Some even higher. There is though, with anything a point of diminishing return. An extremely aged or high mileage car can be problematic, not only to the customer, but the dealership working on them. Most of the smart stores I work with use a high mileage/age waiver and/or a limit to the age or mileage of a car they will work on. If we take in a high mileage car and fix one component, often it affects another system that is weak and the new repair puts more pressure on the weakened system. This can be a service policy account and CSI survey nightmare, never mind a very dissatisfied customer who will not feel good about your store!
So consider these points when thinking about how your customers would answer the question as to continuing to use your facility for after warranty repairs!
All the best!