Customer retention has increasingly become more critical and a more prominent factor when contributing to the success of dealerships today. With more options available to their customers, Boniface Hiers began offering a lifetime powertrain warranty, nearly doubling their service department revenue. On today’s Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome back AJ Hiers, President of Boniface Hiers Automotive Group, to share more.
It’s important to note the auto group utilized the lifetime warranty as a customer retention tool. Because Hiers attempted the warranty program several years prior, he failed because he didn’t have anyone to administer it. Therefore, Hiers clarifies that the lifetime warranty is a third-party administration program that offers a warranty to any consumer that purchases a vehicle from Boniface Hiers Automotive Group and wishes to utilize “the program, will have it forever.”
"The program will survive us all." — AJ Hiers
Hiers adds, “It’s a shopper stopper- our warranty program costs $0.05 and is honored nationwide, meaning they don’t need to come back to our dealer to get service done once they have the program.”
F&I contract penetration
In a world where combustion engines are becoming obsolete, Hiers suggests, “You need all the help you can get from the service department.” The warranty program acts as an aid. It makes it easier to sell extended service policies. For example, Hiers claims, “People will buy a lifetime warranty because they like the coverage. And what it does is reinforce the fact that they already need extended warranty policies on their vehicles.” Therefore, the lifetime warranty program, a $4,500 value, snowballs into longer loyalty and stronger customer retention.
In addition, the program covers EVs as well. Especially since EVs require batteries, tires, suspensions, wiper blades, and many other things for maintenance. Hiers emphasizes, “It’s a law of average business, where dealers are the heroes.” It is uncertain where the industry is going, but we will inevitably face EVs. But, according to Hiers, “We know that EVs are substantially more expensive. So customers must get value, which is what our program provides.”
Ultimately, in spite of the industry’s uncertainty, “The program is the insurer that keeps consumers on the road.” However, dealers must explain what needs to happen during the program and keep records or receipts for the Boniface Hiers Auto Group to compensate consumers if they don’t receive maintenance from their dealers directly.”