Using Recalls to Build Loyal Customers

Many dealerships struggle through the winter months with reduced repair order counts. Most are fed up with manufacturer safety recalls however it remains the single largest opportunity to build profitability into your service departments. We looked at some different approaches to build your repair order counts; one might be to advertise low cost labor operations such as oil changes. 

As an example let’s say you spend $2,000 on a newspaper ad to market this poor preforming labor operation. To overcome the amount of money spent on advertising when you’re not generating any gross profit on the labor operation it is a fools bet. If you use the existing staff to contact customers on your safety recall lists there is no out-of-pocket advertising expense as it only requires effort.

Your customers love the fact you’re illustrating concern by making a personal phone call. It also feels your service bays with customers that are concerned about safety. These are the individuals most likely to authorize needed preventive maintenance items. Here’s a word track that I would recommend being used by your staff to make these contact calls. “Hello it’s Rob from the dealership and I am contacting you because I’m concerned that your name is on an open safety campaign from the manufacturer. We would like to get you into the service department just as soon as possible and take care of this no cost safety issue.” This develops trust and loyalty for the dealership that are requirements to retain and satisfy your customers.

With a good customer intake process and multipoint inspection the dealership will sell these individuals needed preventive maintenance items. Even if nothing is sold on additional maintenance the labor is built out at warranty rate along with necessary parts to complete the recall. 2014 was a record year for safety campaigns and I believe that the upward trend will continue. Manufacturers are bringing out safety issues that may not have been recalls so quickly in the past. It is best to make these contacts on safety campaigns a standard practice when times are busy or not. Every day contact a minimum of 10 safety campaigns per advisor. It will keep the repair order counts climbing all year around.

Never wait to use this practice until your shop is slow as that would be too late. Technician time can’t be stored so use it wisely.

Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Margin Plus
Cell: (419) 282-1351
Fixed Performance complete fixed operations coaching consulting