Think about how, why and the frequency with which you see your customers, poses Paul Potratz, automotive marking guru and COO of Potratz Advertising.
A new vehicle buyer will generally purchase or lease a vehicle from you every few years, meaning you’ll see them shopping in your front end two or three times every ten years.
Customers loyal to your service department might get work done in your back end a dozen times or more during the life of each vehicle.
“Yet many dealerships don’t have a clear and concise marketing plan for their service department,” Potratz says during one of his Think Tank Tuesday online sessions.
The key to increasing service absorption and profit rests with developing a solid service department marketing plan. Just like you showcase your vehicle sales, he says, you need to highlight what your operation can do in terms of service.
See below for a few of Potratz’s quick tips when setting up a service department marketing plan.
Utilizing Coupons: Create and post attractive coupons for service work on your website that are updated with regularity. Make them an event, just like on front end with a sales program. Remember, you have far more people coming to your site looking for service information than you do sales.
Be sure to include an expiry date and limits of one per customer.
Rotating Web Banners: Does your website allow for rotating web banners or panels? If so, share the real estate with service department and upload offers with expiration dates. Having the web banners on your main site will attract attention of users who wouldn’t normally click on your fixed ops page.
Special Coupons: Designed for people celebrating a birthday or anniversary. This strategy also works with a direct mailing campaign both traditional and email.
The Wildcard: A coupon that matches any other coupon in the market. Give this coupon to your employees and have them give them out.
Video: If you already produce video walkarounds for your new and used inventory, try bringing the camera to the service department. Create a few walkarounds videos detailing some popular services – oil change, brake inspection, etc. – and post them on your website.
It can show off both your professional staff and the service department along with helping show exactly what is involved when doing simple service repair items.
Mobile Marketing: This is all about ease of use. You are coming to your customer base with the offer rather than waiting for your customer to find you or search your website. Simply send coupons and offers out to your contact list.