Missed opportunities to grow customer retention in the service drive

The simplest way to increase that retention is through MPIs, safety features, or maintenance inspections.

There is no doubt that the service department is where dealership sales are occurring. On today’s edition of CBT Now, Jennifer Suzuki, president of eDealer Solutions, acclaimed sales trainer, and guest lecturer at the NADA Dealer Academy, discusses how dealers must slow down in their service drive to maintain customer retention.

Suzuki offered a workshop at the most recent NADA show, which took place from January 26 to 29. It covered relevant techniques for handling service calls, particularly in terms of sales. Since almost all dealers prioritize F&I, Suzuki says that to increase their bottom line, CSI, or the number of customers they retain, “dealers need to focus on taking a step back and continuing to cultivate the relationships with the consumers they already have.”

In the majority of dealerships, Suzuki notes that salesmen tend to get caught up in the hustle and forget about building relationships with clients. She continues, “they need to concentrate on the fundamentals.” Connecting with customers and giving them a sense of value will help dealers keep them. “Transaction-based relationships are the simplest way to waste an opportunity to grow in dealers,” she adds. 

More: Jennifer Suzuki’s ‘competitive not complacent’ mindset for progressive car dealers

For example, the majority of service drives don’t use the phones. “If you’re not utilizing them to your advantage, you can’t sell anything. The simplest way to increase that retention is through MPIs, safety features, or maintenance inspections, “none of which they present.” Suzuki’s goal for dealers in 2023 is to find a way to explain these services humanly either over the phone or in person.

On the other hand, Suzuki counters that the service directors who claim they don’t have the time to address every customer’s needs or questions “need to retire.” They are turning away opportunity, growth, and future financial resources by ignoring the customer’s concerns. Customers who are considering using the same service in the future may read reviews from previous customers and decide to go elsewhere. Suzuki asserts that “the showroom sells the first car and the service sells everyone after that.”

Overall, dealers need to reevaluate their approach and recenter their focus if they appear busy and may even be too busy to truly engage with customers. According to Suzuki, “dealers are missing out on the potential for growth if they are unwilling to face concerns in the sale or service department for clients.”

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