|I visit and talk with thousands of service managers each year. During these visits I have observed a trend – the words marketing and customer retention are rarely mentioned. Most service managers do not spend time developing marketing and retention plans – despite the fact that developing such a plan can play a key factor in their success.|
Each day service managers such as yourself are faced with never ending employee challenges, customer complaints and other day-to-day issues. Who has time for Retention? With only so many hours in the day, you cannot be great at everything. Many doctors are exceptional at practicing medicine, yet they couldn’t write a business plan if their lives depended on it. Simply put, they surround themselves with talented people who compensate for their lack of expertise.
This is where I come in. I cannot make your everyday problems disappear, but I can help you quickly master a subject called “Retentionology.” Armed with your expertise from Retention University, you will increase your service revenue & profits, more effectively use your limited marketing/advertising budget and cut down on your day-to-day problems.
Let’s get started with a few basic elements and definitions that should be considered as you develop your own marketing and retention plan –
Public Relations (PR):
Now for a few interesting statistics –
Ninety percent of a dealership’s advertising budget is spent during a three-week period to acquire a NEW car customer, while the remaining 10 percent is spent over the next 3 years retaining these customers. Considering that the average dealership spent $384,000 in 2004 on advertising (according to the NADA), this means that the average dealership only spends $38,400/year on retaining its customers. This statistic is disturbing. The easiest and least expensive customer to sell to is the one that has already bought from you. The auto industry is working too hard and spending too much money constantly trying to acquire new customers when they already have thousands in their database that are theirs to keep once they develop the right retention plan. Need more convincing?
In 2004 the average new car department contributed 30 percent of the operating profit; used cars contributed 13 percent. Service and parts brought in the remaining 57 percent! To really put things into perspective, this 57 percent of the profit was from the two departments with the lowest percentage of overall sales.
Why is it that the department that has the most potential to affect customer behavior is given the fewest dollars and resources? THIS HAS TO CHANGE!
Very few dealerships track their marketing & retention efforts. Most cannot tell me with a definitive answer what is working and what is not. More often then not, they do the same thing year after year. That fits my favorite definition of insanity -- “Doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result each time.”
To help you develop your own plan, I am assigning homework to complete. Trust me – this assignment will pay you dividends for years to come.
In class 201, we will discuss specific tactics and strategies other successful dealers have implemented that can help increase your retention.
Sunbit technology is currently available in 111 MNAO dealerships.