By Paul DeGuiseppi, MACS Manager of Service Training
Ha! Caught you with that title…made you want to check this out, huh? And that’s a good thing, because this is important.
No, I’m not going to talk about an attractive woman here, but I am going to make reference to a couple lines from Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 song with that same title.
Those lines are “Here I come – I’m comin’ to get ya.”
And just who is the “I” in question?
New car dealer service departments, that’s who. While they may not be literally coming to get you, they are coming to get your business. Or at least they’re going to try, and probably harder than they ever have before.
Of course, car dealers hoping to hold onto post-warranty service and repair is certainly nothing new, and the most prominent example, GM’s Goodwrench campaign, has been around since the ‘70s. Other car manufacturers have run similar, if not as well-ingrained programs over the years as well. But now, as the second decade of the 21st century is underway, things are different, and the aggression is more pronounced. To illustrate:
- Headline, teaser and a few excerpts from a November 2, 2009 Automotive News article:
Giving service a jump-start – As repair revenue slumps, dealers find new ways to attract service customers.
“Dealers are finding it harder to keep their service departments full… Savvy dealers are fighting back with creative ways to bring service and parts customers through the door. … The year-long crash in new car sales has contributed to slumping revenue on warranty work. … Improved vehicle quality means fewer warranty claims and recalls… Ford’s warranty repair rate – the number of vehicles serviced under warranty – has dropped by half since 2004, Ford says. … Computers and complex electronic components are also causing more service bays to be open.”
- Another example, from a March 1, 2010 Automotive News article:
Kia seeks service work beyond warranties – As warranty work declines, Kia is trying to help dealerships boost customer-pay service revenue.
“For years, Kia dealerships relied primarily on one source, warranty payments, for service revenues. But vehicle quality has improved, and Kia dealerships need more service business in addition to warranty work. The first program to address that need, Customer 360, is geared toward buyers of new Kias. Meanwhile, ServiceSmarts is an online marketing program aimed at Kia owners who get their vehicles serviced at independent shops… John Crowe, Kia’s vice president of service and product quality, says that under Customer 360, dealers tell buyers about service work that the stores offer, after explaining how their services compare to aftermarket stores… The online ServiceSmarts program is focused on customers who do not return for regularly scheduled maintenance or repairs.”
- And finally, from the May 4, 2010 edition of Automotive News Daily:
“Ford … is running a national advertising campaign promoting service and maintenance at Ford dealerships to support dealer profitability … Ford also is promoting dealers’ service and maintenance business in a series of spots featuring Mike Rowe. … Ford showed several of the spots at today’s meeting to emphasize how it’s helping dealers raise profitability… ‘These meetings have been about doing it right in the service department and being profitable,’ said a dealer who attended the meeting. ‘Ford’s goal is for both of us to be profitable. Too many dealers for years took their eye off service. Now it is necessary to make profits.’ … The message encourages customers to come to their local Ford dealership for new tires, brakes, oil changes and other affordable maintenance…”
So there are the warnings. I don’t think they could be any clearer. They’re coming to get your business. The question is: What are you going to do about it? And “nothing,” or anything close to it, is not an acceptable answer. If you’re at a loss, I have a few suggestions.
I think the best thing you can do is come to the next MACS Convention, being held in Las Vegas, NV January 18-20, 2012 Not only will you be able to attend our shop and business management classes, but maybe even better, you’ll be able to network with other shop owners to find out what they’re doing about it. If you can’t make our convention, seek out other similar events that offer the same opportunities.
If neither suggestion above is possible for you, probably the next best thing would be to obtain video lessons covering the same types of topics. Our friends at Team AVI/Automotive Video (http://www.auto-video.com) offer them. Lastly, read the shop management articles that appear every month in our industry trade magazines, MOTOR and Motor Age, Underhood Service and Professional Tool and Equipment I always notice a few good ideas in them and of course become a member of MACS!
This is important! Don’t let them get ya’.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.
You can E-mail us at email@example.com or visit http://bit.ly/cf7az8 to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit http://bit.ly/9FxwTh to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.
The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.