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Tune Up Your Service Center Marketing

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Hale Soucie

Tune up your service center to guarantee ongoing customer satisfaction.

Americans are keeping their cars longer. This fact alone should prompt car dealerships to take a hard look at their service departments—not only for customer satisfaction and retention, but to revamp the marketing initiatives therein. 

Unfortunately, after their dealership warranties expire, around 70% of car owners use third-party repair shops for all of their servicing needs. This is bad news for dealerships, especially when considering that more than 40% of a dealership’s overall income originates from their service department.

Competing against third-party service providers is a challenge, but one that can be met with digital and customer-centric strategies. By setting out to improve the customer experience and nourish effective communication through digital marketing, you can turn your service department into the trusted revenue generator your dealership needs.

Here, we’ll discuss concrete steps your dealership can take to increase service-center revenue.

Introduce Customers to the Service Center

The tried-and-true method of pushing a service and maintenance plan during the initial sale is trusted for a reason: It works. According to Cox Automotive, the importance of immediately introducing your customer to the service department cannot be overlooked: “Personally introducing a consumer to the service manager or representative increases that customer’s likelihood of returning to the dealership for maintenance and repair services.”

That same study shows that customers who are introduced to the service department at the time of purchase are 2.3x more likely to return to that dealership for their servicing needs.

“Dealers that focus on the service experience have the potential to add millions of dollars of revenue,” said President of Cox Automotive Sandy Schwartz.

Earn your new customer’s loyalty by rolling out the red carpet early on. As soon as the sale is final, provide your new client with a service maintenance schedule and introduce them directly to the service department. If you have any promotions, such as free oil changes or tire alignments, include those, as well. Doing so will help guarantee ongoing customer satisfaction that will keep them coming back time after time.

Showcase Your Service Center Using Facebook Ads

It’s no secret that Facebook should be one of the most-used tools in your marketing toolkit. Because the website is used by millions of people every day, it has logged a vast (and uber-accurate) data collection. This means that when your dealership uses the paid Facebook Ads service, you can target specific audiences in regard to demographic, location, and even interests—allowing you to market to the precise people in your area who need their car serviced.

Because convenience is key to customers, make sure you customize your Facebook Ads to promote your service center’s user-oriented hours, pick-up and drop-off services, and any promotions you’re running. Then, have that ad drive traffic to your service department’s page on your dealership website.

Overall, Facebook Ads grants dealerships the ability to place their promos in the right people’s timelines, so you can take the guesswork out of who your ads are reaching.

Update Your Service Center’s Website

Potential customers are more likely than ever to first check out your service center online before they make an appointment. Indeed, Cox Automotive reports that a whopping 81% of surveyed customers believe being able to find repair price information on the dealership website is “critically important,” and 55% would choose a dealer who provided online estimates over another that did not.

Gain advantage over your third-party competitors by being transparent about your pricing online. And beyond providing your service center’s pricing and capabilities, consider including the following that will greatly appeal to potential customers:

  • Service-history tracking
  • Recall updates
  • Online scheduling
  • Manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedules

Reach Out to About-to-Expire Warranty Holders

As mentioned, the vast majority of former service center–customers stop getting their car serviced at the dealership due to their vehicle’s warranty ending. Unfortunately, there is a preconceived notion that getting your car serviced at the dealership is far more expensive than at a third-party store. Battle this stereotype head-on by being proactive with customers whose warranties are set to expire.

Email marketing can be beneficial in this area. Encourage existing customers to schedule their routine oil changes and tire rotations at a discount after their warranty expires. You can even consider promoting price-matching of third-party competitors’ air-conditioning repairs and muffler replacements—all common problems vehicles face after their warranty has expired.

By creating relevant messaging for about-to-expire warranty holders, you will appeal to your existing customers before they’re tempted to have their servicing needs met elsewhere.

Send Customers Timely Reminders

Finally, it is critical to remember that your customers, like everyone else, lead busy lives. Deliver a friendly reminder to get their vehicle serviced according to their maintenance schedule, and you’ll not only promote your service department, but encourage customer trust and loyalty.

Leverage your dealership’s data system to send timely service reminders via email and text, if possible. Be sure that your message includes:

  • Your dealership’s name and logo
  • The customer’s name
  • The make of the customer’s car
  • The service needed
  • Available dates and times for service
  • A link and phone number for scheduling

Final Thoughts

Service departments are one of the most important revenue-generators for car dealerships. To encourage loyalty and continued patronage, follow the tips outlined above, and reach out to our experts at Edifice Automotive. Our extensive databases enable you to engage and track active shoppers and generate the qualified leads your sales team needs. 

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