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Fast Lane: How to Accelerate Service Loyalty & Unlock its Profit

Keep your customers: Give them the experience they want

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Article Highlights

  1. Studies suggest that some Americans would rather get a root canal than take their car to a dealership. Think about that: Why would someone rather be in a dentist's chair than at your dealership?
  2. Today, many retailers have re-engineered their in-store experiences, blending technology and amenities to keep customers coming back. Dealers need to look outward and forward for inspiration, rather than leaning on what they already know to shape the future of their service departments.
  3. Dealers and service directors have the choice whether to adopt a more experience-focused approach to their service departments. No one suggests that if you don't provide a more high-tech and high-touch experience, your service business will dry up completely and you'll be out of business. This day of reckoning, though, is probably coming faster than many of us would care to believe or think. The dealers who have already begun the transition are reaping the rewards that flow naturally to early adopters.

This essay is excerpted from Jim Roche’s new book, Fast Lane: How to Accelerate Service Loyalty and Unlock its Profit-Making Potential. Jim Roche is senior vice president of marketing and managed services at Xtime, a Cox Automotive company.

If you ask car owners across America, they will tell you the benefits of vehicle ownership, such as the positive impact it has on their lifestyles.

Now, ask that same group what they don’t like about owning a car. They’ll probably cite going to a dealership to get service as a major pitfall of their ownership experience.

Studies suggest that some Americans would rather get a root canal than take their car to a dealership. Think about that: Why would someone rather be in a dentist’s chair than at your dealership?

You don’t have to look past the lines outside service departments each morning for your answer. Given retention statistics, if 10 cars are in line, five of them probably aren’t coming back.

You also don’t have to look much further to know why they’re not coming back. They make appointments, yet wait in line. They believe they’ll pay more, in part because of upsells and not knowing the cost of needed services.

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