And How Your Dealership Can Scale Your Service Program, Too
By Desiree Homer
Some advertising and marketing best practices suggest developing new strategies and avenues to reach potential customers. Dealers often look to scale their efforts across the various dealership departments, including service, parts, and sales. One Florida dealer is taking a targeted email approach to do just that and is seeing results.
Finding a Customer Pain Point & Offering a Solution
Universal Nissan in Orlando service director Tom Kane, shared with Automotive News his mission to boosting customer retention. He discusses identifying a common pain point that other dealers often overlook – high mileage, out of warranty vehicles in need of service. Kane feels these aged vehicles present a high-profit service opportunity. He’s not wrong. The data shows that many consumers are driving post-recession purchased cars, all of which are out of warranty or nearing the terms of their warranties. These customers tend to venture away from dealerships for service, instead opting for the cheaper aftermarket parts and independent garages. A 2018 Cox Automotive study shows only 30% of consumers still take their rides to the dealership for service after the warranty expires.
How It Works for Universal Nissan in Orlando
For Universal Nissan in Orlando, they launched their ‘Legends’ program back in 2017. They offer a pricing menu for drivers of five-year-old plus vehicles. The other prerequisite is the vehicle has a minimum 100,000 miles. Automatically, those consumers qualify for a 10% discount on parts and labor. They also are entitled to free car washes, loaner cars, and added discounts for those repair bills that reach $300 or more. For any parts no longer available, Universal will install an aftermarket part. For the franchise brands without a value-priced line of parts for the older models, Universal still discounts the 10%. The qualified owners are identified and emailed with specific invitations, and explanation of benefits and cost-saving service options.
Developing Your Targeted Strategy
Part of the Universal Nissan of Orlando strategy involves tracking the age and mileage of vehicles every month. Those vehicles coming into your service bays can help you start your tracking efforts. As the vehicles get older, reaching the benchmark five years and 100,000-mile mark, the owners qualify for the targeted email for the loyalty program. Others who may be eligible, include any recent buyers of used vehicles and new car buyers from years past. By targeting these recipients, with an invitation message to take advantage of the loyalty service program, Universal has experienced year-over-year growth. According to Tom Kane, when dealerships everywhere charge upwards of $120 for a diagnosis, there is an opportunity to discount that diagnostic, and subsequently apply reduced costs for the repairs.
Introducing this targeted audience to cost-savings for their older and high-mileage vehicles is only half the battle. The key to getting those customers to your service drive is an explanation of benefits and cost savings. There’s a huge market segment of owners out there who are looking for the best, most cost-effective place to fix and maintain their older rides. Consider scaling your loyalty program and extending an invitation to this audience. You may find you can grow an entirely new revenue stream for your dealership, much like the folks at Universal have done in Orlando.