Your service department holds the key to success for your dealership.

Whether you believe it or not, more sales and revenue opportunities exist in your service department than anywhere else in your dealership.

Dealerships across the nation are bleeding customers. They try to solve this by boosting their customer retention with customer-focused marketing and by allocating more of their budget towards conquest customers – but to no avail.

This is How Digital Marketing Can Boost Your Fixed Ops Click To Tweet

Their showrooms remain empty and their inventory, static.

While some of this can be addressed with customer-centric marketing and an effective digital marketing strategy, some of it will not change unless these dealers begin utilizing their service department to the fullest and putting more of an emphasis on automotive repair.

The Data

This is because people aren’t buying vehicles as frequently as they used to! The length of ownership for the average vehicle owner has increased from 4.3 to 6.5 years.1 This means dealers are seeing shoppers less often between purchases – which leads to increased customer defection rates and less showroom traffic.

Additionally, the average age of vehicles is rising.

Google says these two facts present a big opportunity for dealers to focus on fixed ops.2

The Opportunity

Because vehicle owners are keeping vehicles for a longer period of time between purchases and driving older vehicle models, the service opportunities are plentiful.

For these vehicle owners, the time between purchases is longer, but the best way to keep a customer loyal to your dealership is to keep them actively involved at your dealership. By offering vehicle owners automotive repair and service you’ll be offering them an opportunity to visit your dealership repeatedly – which will help you retain their business.

In fact, the likelihood of a customer purchasing their next vehicle at your dealership is dependent on their interactions with your service department.3

Why wouldn’t you want to push vehicle shoppers towards your dealership?!

In addition, digital marketing has made its way into the mainstream. Dealers are turning to digital marketing to boost their sales and move inventory faster and more consistently. And, though digital influences nearly 60 percent of vehicle purchases at the dealership, the digital influence is stronger when it comes to post-purchase service.

The biggest opportunity for dealers is to utilize digital marketing for their fixed ops. This combination can strengthen customer retention, bring new customers into your dealership more frequently, increase automotive repair orders and even overall revenue, and lead to more vehicle sales over time.

The Competition

Unlike sales, the competition you’re working against isn’t necessarily other dealers. Most dealers are in the same boat and many have yet to include their service department in their digital marketing.

Your biggest competitors, whether you’re online or not, are third-party service centers and corner-shop mechanics.

Only 30 percent of all service visits are conducted at a dealership – and many of those visits do not occur at the dealership where the vehicle was purchased.4

This is because vehicle owners have a misconceived perception of the dealership experience.

They know your mechanics have a better understanding of their vehicle, they know those mechanics/technicians are more highly qualified and knowledgeable, they know you have better parts, tools, and equipment for automotive repair, and they know they’ll be more comfortable while they wait for the service to be completed.

The issue is, they believe your service department is more expensive and less convenient.

Why would they drive across town to pay more for a vehicle service they don’t want to pay for in the first place?

This is what your digital marketing needs to address. And, while you can’t do much about the distance between your dealership and their place of residence, you can change their perceptions of your prices.

The Strategy

By serving marketing that directly addresses vehicle owners’ concerns about overcharging, you can change their perception of your dealership as a whole!

If dealerships in general are faulted for charging more than their service is worth, you can serve ads that directly address this misperception.

Dealers like you have an opportunity to gain more service customers by offering and promoting competitive pricing or price matching.

In addition, you can use your digital ads to send owners to landing pages that directly address their concerns and needs. If you’re able to provide advertising and information that directly appeals to them and answers their questions, you’ll have more engagement, leads, and service customers than ever before!

The Conclusion

Nearly 25 percent of all automotive searches are parts, services, and maintenance related. You can take advantage of these moments by serving ads that directly relate to what vehicle owners are searching for and by offering better service and competitive pricing.

It’s the easiest way to take advantage of the extensive sales and revenue opportunities that exist for your service department.

By utilizing digital marketing to provide vehicle owners with competitive and even discounted service pricing, you can drastically increase the number of consumers who visit your service bay – which will ultimately increase customer retention, bring new customers into your dealership more frequently, increase overall revenue, and lead to more vehicle sales. Why wait?

  1. IHS Automotive U.S., 2015