The changing face of cars and the retail automotive industry is making it more important than ever to rethink your after-sales strategy
Dealers are experiencing something approaching the ‘perfect storm’ when it comes to making aftersales revenue.
Increased service intervals, capped price servicing, improved vehicle reliability and an ever-increasing list of standard equipment on new vehicles have combined to dramatically reduce the potential for aftersales opportunities. All this, combined with continuing customer leakage, especially post-warranty, means a rethink about your aftersales strategy is necessary.
So what can Dealers do to counter the threat to critical aftersales revenue?
Here are some ideas:
- The ACCC is understandably taking increased interest in ensuring capped price servicing is indeed ‘capped’. Whilst this may limit opportunities for service upsell, have your service receptionists been trained to identify accessory sales opportunities? For example, leaves or droppings on a vehicle may mean that a vehicle is regularly parked outside, opening the door for window tinting and paint protection. A dent in the rear bumper can start a conversation about installing a reverse camera or parking sensors.
- How are you staying in contact with your customers? Well-designed, interactive SMS and email communications have long replaced plain texting. At the top end, data from plug-in telematics devices provides servicing opportunities based on scheduled service reminders or predictive driver-behaviour-based services.
- Relationship Marketing: do you know your customers well enough to pick the right marketing partners that will appeal to them in your branded communications? Interspersing your own aftersales messages with interesting and entertaining partner marketing messages will help ensure that your customers stop and read your communications, rather than automatically deleting them. Talking to other local businesses that fit your dealership’s vision to jointly build local shopping traffic can help transform the ‘shop local’ message into ‘service local’.
- When a new model is launched by your franchise, you obviously contact your existing customers.
If they are not interested in upgrading their vehicle, your staff should be talking to them about available accessories that would bring the specification level of their existing vehicle up (or closer to) the new model. Sat-Nav, reverse cameras, parking sensors, the latest multimedia systems, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning are just some of the aftermarket products with current appeal.
Overall, a ‘business as usual’ approach to the aftersales side of your dealership will eventually lead to disappointment. Only innovation in thought, strategy and action will protect and enhance this critical area of your operations.
Director – Business Development, Go Technologies Pty. Ltd.