In Cumming, Georgia, John Edwards and his wife, Lauren Sanchez have set Dec 12 as the first Saturday class at their service shop. Their independent repair facility will host classes that teach vehicle care basics and driver safety to new drivers in their community. 

Edwards came up with the idea after learning about a recent tragedy. He said, “I actually thought about it the other night when I sat down and watched the news and saw that a kid got killed on the road trying to change a tireI thought, ‘You know what, kids don’t know how to do it, and neither do a lot of parents.’”

The plan is to teach automotive basics that include changing a tire, checking tire pressure, fluid inspections and top-ups, jump-starting a battery, and how to handle an emergency or accident. 

Sanchez adds, “We don’t teach that to our kids anymore, and we don’t teach that to young women reallyI mean, I don’t remember my dad teaching me how to change a tire or where the fluids were in the car. It was something that I learned just when something happened.”

Their shop, Ree’s Automotive Care, has been in business for around five years. Edwards and Sanchez are hoping their classes will have positive impact on road safety for their neighbors, and they see these classes as an opportunity for outreach into their community. 

“Having that involvement and people recognizing us and trusting us is extremely important,” Sanchez said. 

An Example to Add Value, Increase Loyalty 

Car care clinics like the ones planned at Ree’s Automotive Care are well-attended and provide exceptional after-sales value for car buyers. For dealers and independent shops alike, it empowers car owners with the skill to perform their own upkeep while simultaneously demonstrating why it’s often easier and more beneficial to have a trained technician work on their car. 

As well, loyalty is reinforced with these types of events. It creates a positive, memorable experience that owners will think of when they need their vehicle serviced. Plus, when a shop or dealership so obviously invests their time into clients, loyalty is driven home.  

How Dealers Can Boost Value and Loyalty 

With the large real estate footprints and interior square footage available, not to mention online capabilities, dealerships are well positioned to use their resources to enhance the ownership experience. Here are a few high-level tips and ideas. 

Host In-Person Events 

Although the pandemic interferes with the ability to meet in larger groups, it won’t last forever. Begin planning events to bring our customers and neighbors together. It adds community recognition and promotes a positive image. 

Opportunities include a car care clinic like Ree’s is doing, a vehicle technology day to explain how new tech features work, a group dog walk, a car show, or any other non-promotional type of in-person meet-up.  

Create Value Added Content for All 

If you haven’t done so yet, create a YouTube channel. Post walkaround videos, technology walkthroughs, service how-to videos, and new model releases. This content can be dealer-branded, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to it is distributing it to your email lists as an added value, not an obvious attempt to sell.  

Brag About Your Partners 

Your dealership has wonderful relationships, and it does well to showcase them. Perhaps you partner with a local Line-X spray-in box liner shop or you do all your insurance business through one local agency. Create a campaign that shows them off, hopefully strengthening your relationship and helping them earn more business. It always comes back around. 

Don’t Expect Sales 

Loyalty is in the details, not the sale. Although price is a major factor in the car buying experience, the shopping experience has taken top importance. A loyal customer appreciates who their salesperson is, how they’re treated in the service department, and the non-sales-oriented content in their inbox. 

Did you enjoy this article from Jason Unrau? Read other articles from him here.

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