Subaru of America has launched a "Subaru University" program through its inaugural partnership with Respond, Inc. The two companies announced the grand opening of a repair shop on April 29, 2016.
Subaru University, nicknamed Subaru-U, is a partnership program in which the manufacturer will team up with National Automotive Technician's Education Foundation (NATEF) and Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) accredited secondary and post-secondary schools to train students.
Subaru-U will take advantage of the talent and resources of Subaru of America, its more than 620 retailers across the U.S., and school partners to provide knowledge of Subaru vehicles and systems. The hope is to prepare these students to enter the automotive workforce, for certification, and for possible future employment at Subaru retailers.
As for Respond, Inc., a charitable organization serving Camden City and Camden County in New Jersey, their automotive training program has become the inaugural partner of Subaru University. Subaru-U and Respond opened the new Respond Repair Shop in North Camden, New Jersey in late April. The shop is located right next to Respond's automotive school.
Students will get access to web-based training, hands-on training with shop equipment donated by Subaru of America, as well as the opportunity to participate in internships in the repair shop and the Subaru of America Shop. Successful students will earn both ASE and Subaru Maintenance Tech Certification.
Subaru of America is looking to open similar facilities with additional partners, although the particulars are still being worked out.
Putting the Spotlight on Service Departments
The timing of Subaru's announcement makes perfect sense. Not only have the last few years been robust in terms of sales, but many industry experts are predicting that sales numbers have peaked. So, not only do all these cars in circulation need servicing, but the timing is ripe to look for profitability elsewhere, in this case, by focusing on your store's service department.
Subaru-U could prove to be an excellent move for the automaker. If sales are truly plateauing, then there isn't much upside left in new-car sales. But there's ample upside for service departments.
And who better to service Subaru vehicles than technicians who have graduated from Subaru-U? Stores are going to be able to use this as a huge selling point to get consumers who own the brand to come to them (and only them) for service.
If your store is looking to put additional focus on its service department, keep in mind these three pertinent findings from J.D. Power's 2016 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study:
- Don't Expect Customers to Wait Much More Than an Hour
The study found that customer satisfaction drops dramatically (from 835 to 756 on their 1,000-point scale) when the wait time is over one hour and 40 minutes. J.D. Power found that 70% of service customers are willing to wait 1-2 hours, but 17% are only willing to wait less than an hour or not at all. Service departments can also provide loaner vehicles or a shuttle service to keep customers appeased.
- Seriously, Don't Make Them Wait
According to the study's findings, service satisfaction improves by 44 points when a representative greets customers within two minutes of their arrival. 27% of those surveyed said they had to wait longer than that for a greeting.
- Get With the Times
The study found that only 2% of all customers currently receive service updates via email or text, with the majority of communication taking place in person at the department or over the phone. In this day and age, that doesn't make any sense. There are probably plenty of consumers out there that would prefer to receive service updates via text and email, and setting up automated messaging might even require less energy and effort from your staff.
Another Way to Profit
The opening of Subaru-U's first repair shop seems to indicate that it's time for dealerships to focus on their service departments to improve profitability. Another way that your store can maximize its revenue potential is teaming up with Auto Credit Express.
We are the nation's leading special finance leads car dealer services corporation, and our unmatched sales leads, subprime automotive sales training, and LotPro software can help your store make more money. To learn more, get in contact with our team by giving us a call at 888-535-2277 or by filling out our contact form online.