As car sales numbers begin to level off, the service drive is going to become even more important, both as a source of stable revenue and a way to generate sales through the creation of loyal customers. With this in mind, PCG Research recently released a report.

According to PCG, fixed operations is the single largest contributor to dealership profits. While warranty traffic is always being infused, it never hurts to draw more customers to the service drive. Developing relationships with service customers and giving them a great experience will also make it easier to get these customers to buy from the dealership when it's time for their next vehicle.

PCG Research's report aimed to figure out how dealership service operations can be improved. The research was based on feedback from over 900 consumers. The goal was to figure out where customers choose to service their vehicle and why. Here's what they found.

Why Consumers Choose Dealership Service

Dealership Service Operations

When asked why they service at a dealership, these were the top responses:

  • Trained staff: 26%
  • Keeps vehicle value intact: 17%
  • Positive experience: 12%
  • Convenience 10%

Make sure that you are hitting on these points in all marketing opportunities.

Furthermore, many respondents stated that they go to the dealership because of their warranty. However, over half also said they'd go elsewhere once it expired. This presents an opportunity for dealerships to develop a personal relationship over the period of time covered by the warranty. Doing so gives you a better shot at retention once the warranty expires.

Reasons Consumers Choose to Service with an Independent

Here are their top answers when asked why they choose to get work done at an independent service center:

  • Price (42%): Respondents cited they believed service at the dealer would be more expensive. They also noted that it's hard to find dealership pricing for services, while independents post theirs in easy-to-see locations. Furthermore, 7 out of 10 said they would choose the dealership if pricing was the same. Clearly, dealerships need to improve visibility and transparency of pricing. PCG encourages dealers to create website marketing pages and videos to challenge the "higher cost" perception.
  • Convenience (29%): Respondents commented that they wanted service done at a place close to home. Also, many claimed scheduling an appointment was simpler at an independent. Finally, they also mentioned that dealerships always seem to be upselling other services, whereas independents only fix what the customer visits for. Dealers need to consider ways in which they can offer greater convenience. Efforts should include intelligent online scheduling and a review of how to better present needed services.

Additionally, consumers said they felt independent service centers deliver a more personal experience. Dealers need to find ways to provide more convenient, personal, and price-transparent service.

The Bottom Line

PCG's research gives dealers a look into what customers are looking for in the service experience. Through improved service operations, they believe dealership service departments can instill greater loyalty and retention.

Another way to boost revenue is teaming up with Auto Credit Express. We provide the subprime sales leads and dealer tools to make your special finance department more efficient and profitable. To learn more, get in touch with us by calling us at 888-535-2277. Or, you can fill out our convenient contact form online and we'll get back to you.