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5 TIPS TO INCREASE SERVICE SALES DURING THE RUBBER SHORTAGE

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Ken Graham

How to appeal to customers' practicality while in the service lane

As dealerships continue to deal with the global chip shortage, now a shortage of another critical vehicle component is threatening to hit the auto industry: rubber. 

According to Bloomberg, the global supply of natural rubber is dwindling. While unfortunate, the shortage gives car dealerships an opportunity to increase their service sales to forward-thinking car owners. 

Here, we’ll explore five ways dealerships and their service departments can leverage the rubber shortage to increase service sales and improve customer satisfaction.


1. Help Customers Make an Informed Decision
The developing rubber shortage is being monitored by manufacturers and those in affected industries—not necessarily your average customer. For this reason, consider reaching out to your existing customer base so they can make more informed decisions regarding their tires. 

Your message should make clear to customers that now is the time to take advantage of your service department’s tire supply. To wait is to risk rising tire prices. Indeed, Bloomberg reports that rubber prices have steadily climbed over the past year, reaching a peak in February 2021. 

This sort of email blast is especially beneficial if you include special offers to further entice shoppers into your service lane—which brings us to Tip #2. 

 

2. Launch a Tire Special
It’s known that consumers are more likely to follow through on larger purchases if they feel they are getting a good deal. Auto dealerships can leverage this fact to drive excitement in shoppers to not only take advantage of buying new tires while they are still in supply, but at a great price, too.

Within the same email outlined in Tip #1, consider including limited-time coupons and discounts for your service center’s tire supply. For instance, you can offer a special price when four tires are bought together.

 

3. Cross-Sell Other Services
This brings us to our third tip: Once customers are in your service lane, use the opportunity to cross-sell your other service center offerings. 

As the saying goes, “If you take care of your car, your car will take care of you.” Most American drivers believe this, with almost 75 percent rating themselves as “good” or “excellent” at maintaining their vehicle. So while your customer is already in your service lane, capitalize on their want to maintain their car’s health by offering other vital services:

  • Oil change
  • Brake fix
  • Cracked windshield
  • Windshield wiper maintenance
  • Wheel alignment
  • Engine noise
  • Headlight replacement

Most customers will appreciate the convenience of completing multiple upkeep tasks for their vehicle. Just be sure that your service center staff offers it!



4. Don’t Limit Specials to Only Tires
While the main drive for customers is to safeguard their vehicles against the impending rubber shortage, do not limit your service center’s advertising and specials to only tires. Instead, also offer limited-time specials and discounts to other crucial services.

While your customer may be mildly concerned about the rubber shortage, you can push them to actually make an appointment at your service center by offering a discount on a crucial upkeep item they truly need. For instance, offering $15 off an oil change will more than likely get that customer into your service lane, where you can then lead them further down the sales funnel.



5. Offer Free Tire Inspections
Auto owners want to ensure their tires are roadworthy. This is especially true during a rubber shortage, when tires may soon be in short supply. 

Once again capitalize on the fact that consumers love a good deal while also appealing to their practicality by advertising your service center’s free tire inspections. Such an offer attracts customers who might feel unsure whether or not their vehicle’s tires are truly ready for a replacement, while also providing your service department with an opportunity to cross-sell.

The ideal messaging should focus on safeguarding against both the rubber shortage and dangerous driving conditions. By communicating the importance of replacing worn tires, checking that there’s enough tread, and ensuring general road worthiness, you provide your audience with valuable advice while promoting your service center. 

Be sure that both your service center and lot staff know to prioritize offering advice regarding the rubber shortage. Doing so provides an opportunity to not only sell tires, but potentially cross-sell your other service center offerings to ensure the longevity of your customers’ vehicles.

 

Final Thoughts
Ultimately, the rubber shortage is something that the auto industry must keep an eye on. Though not currently a full-on crisis, dealerships should prepare their tire inventory should the shortage take a turn for the worse. 

In the meantime, consider taking the opportunity to increase your service center’s tire sales by offering customers special prices, then following up with cross-selling other vital services.

For more advice and to learn how we guarantee dealerships a 4X ROI in gross profits, contact us at Edifice. We look forward to helping your dealership earn its most sales yet.

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