Service 9 years

It’s no small task to keep customers coming back to your dealership for service after the sale. Thanks to stiff competition from big box service chains and local repair shops, retention is perhaps the single greatest challenge for dealership service departments, and the numbers show it.

According to a recent study by market research firm GfK, consumers are significantly less likely to visit a dealership for service after the first four years of ownership – a time that typically coincides with vehicles going out of warranty. Moreover, when a vehicle is on the road for nine years or more, owners are 192% less likely to head to the dealership for work, compared to the first four years of ownership.

The core issue is that consumers lack information when exploring service options. Many of the online shopping tools that have been common on the sales side of the dealership for more than a decade are just now making their way to fixed ops, and that disconnect has left a misperception about the true cost of service at the dealership. In this void, national chains have simply out-marketed dealerships, winning customers and eating into profitability.

To turn the tide, start by looking holistically at your dealership’s marketing strategy. Treat sales and fixed ops not as two separate entities, but as one connected experience that helps continually promote the value of your store. Tactically, this can be as fundamental as publishing service-related content on your dealership’s website or building out your dealership’s service information on Cars.com.

For more fixed ops marketing tips, check out our ebook, Scheduled Maintenance: Leveraging Online Reviews in the Service Lane.