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Why is your dealership losing service business to local garages?

Article Highlights:

  • Put customers first to gain your share of the fixed operations industry.
  • Consider offering loaner cars if you aren't already.

Local garages are becoming more and more popular in all areas. With big franchise garages and independent repair shops popping up in every city, every dealership is fighting to keep all the service business they can. According to the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, fixed operations is a $19.1 billion business, but dealerships account for only $2.3 billion. That means dealerships across the country are missing out on 88% of parts and service revenue.1

So what are local garages and independent repair shops doing to steal your customers? Here are three things dealerships need to do to compete:

Add more service hours.

Small garages and independent repair shops offer service hours in the evenings and weekends. This gives customers more flexibility and opportunities to service their vehicle at a time that fits their schedule. For customers who work full time and have a busy home life, servicing their vehicle can be a real inconvenience. Expand your service hours to fit the schedules of your customers and offer convenient online scheduling. This provides a hassle-free scheduling experience.

Offer customers a temporary car while their car is being serviced.

For owners whose vehicle will be in the shop for a while, offer a loaner vehicle so the customer can easily go about their everyday life. Many repair shops do this and it increases customer satisfaction. Your dealership may also be pretty far away from a customer’s home. Having a replacement car makes it easier to get to and from your dealership to get their vehicle serviced.

Offer specials and coupons to your loyal customers.

Let’s face it, servicing a vehicle can get pretty pricey. Small garages and independent repair shops are constantly sending their customers coupons and specials to help bring down the hefty price tag. Reward your dealerships’ loyal customers with monthly coupons and rewards. This will incentivize them to come get their vehicle serviced with your dealership, as well as show them you value loyalty.

Next steps:

Follow these tips to increase your parts and service business and bring in more customers. Remember to make your customers feel welcome and show them you want their business. Consider adding a status board in your waiting or reception area to keep them up-to-date on the status of their repairs. This will add to their overall service experience and keep them coming back in the future.

1 Statistics Canada

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jeff Adams is a Product Planning manager for Service applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.

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