As industry experts forecast slumping sales numbers, a recent article in Automotive News suggests that shops can pick up the slack by getting back to customer-pay work. I cringed when I first read that, fearing that dealers would take this advice and backpedal on their commitment to assist customers with recall repairs. It would be tricky to handle all recall work, while putting a primary focus on customer-pay revenue, without leveraging recall customers for some of that work.
However, my fear was somewhat overcome with a totally separate article I came across right afterwards. It suggests that dealers should handle recall customers delicately, while still ramping up their customer-pay repair orders. How, you may ask?
With Sunday service.
Why is this such a slam dunk solution? Well, according to the article, one dealership has found great success with Sunday service hours, handling about 55 repair orders on a typical Sunday from 10am to 4pm. 80 percent of which are maintenance jobs, including quick service. In other words, ALL CUSTOMER-PAY! This immediately increases customer-pay revenue, and it does so without tempting anyone into alienating recall customers. It’s exactly like having your cake and eating it too.
I still contend that recall customers are a profit center in the making if handled properly. These are customers who will show gratitude and future loyalty — if treated right. However, I do also understand a dealership’s need to increase revenue in service through lucrative services and customer-pay repair orders.
These two thoughts (getting back to customer-pay and Sunday service) weren’t in the same article. But perhaps they should be. It just seems like a no-brainer. Sure, there are going to be dealerships that can’t use this due to blue laws, or union restrictions. But those that do will probably find that Sunday service is also a great way to grow their customer base. Having more convenient hours for consumers could bring back in those customers visiting independents because it is more convenient, as well as new customers who prefer Sunday service.
This win-win-win solution could increase revenue in the customer-pay category, all while increasing business through more convenient hours for customers. Your dealership can continue to nurture relationships with customers in all areas – including recall repairs. And those are all great things for a dealership.