There is a lot of focus on new vehicle inventories and how they are being impacted by the continuing chip shortage. Although grosses have been great, as inventories continue to decline, car dealers are shifting their focus to other profit centers, particularly fixed operations.
Within the fixed operations department, there is a significant focus on service retention. OEMs measure service retention and hold car dealers accountable to this metric, or use it as part of award criteria. Service retention is not only important to a car dealer’s business but also important to their relationship with the OEM.
Most OEMs provide a fully funded or co-oped Tier 1 service reminder program. Many car dealers depend heavily on these factory-sponsored programs for marketing and they are of great value. To discuss this further, we’re pleased to welcome Tom Heizer, Senior Vice President of Revenue and Customer Experience at GSM, a fixed operations marketing company under the Force Marketing Family of brands.
Heizer begins the conversation by sharing his thoughts on these types of programs, and whether or not they are good for car dealers. He believes if car dealers can participate in OE-funded programs, they need to take full advantage of them. The programs are good and valuable, but car dealers need to understand what they are getting in return from the manufacturers.
Heizer says that when you break down financial statements, there is a lot of opportunity in fixed operations. With the revenue fixed operations is currently bringing in, Heizer says spending is significantly lower than what it should be. Car dealers are competitive but they must remind their customers to come in. It’s a huge benefit to service customers at a dealership.
During the 30 years that GSM has been in business, the company has learned where the gaps and opportunities are for OE-provided plans. They’ve identified four specific areas: audience, communication, channel, and customer behavior. Consequently, by adding additional data, they are able to expand their reach, significantly.
Heizer wraps up the conversation discussing GSM’s goals for the future. From his perspective, their goal is to allow others to work on the things they are an expert in, but let GSM be an expert in their field; bringing the customer to the dealership. GSM wants to continue helping car dealers retain customers, and grow their business as well.
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