ATLANTA — More people are choosing to skip the dealership service department after buying a car and are instead choosing to go elsewhere for their repairs, according to Cox Automotive's 2016 Maintenance and Repair Study.

After buying a car, 72% of customers are opting for third-party mechanics. The main reasons is price and customer service, with 58% of respondents indicating they didn't go back to the dealerships for service work because they felt they would be overcharged.

But according to the report, dealerships can help change that mindset by offering a better customer experience in the service department and improving price transparency. And that's important given that 85% of the study's respondents indicated that the service department experience impacts their likelihood to purchase.

Introducing customers to the service department at the time of purchase can also prove beneficial to dealerships, according to the study. It showed that customers who are introduced to the service department when they purchase a vehicle are 1.5 times more likely to return to that same dealer for service. They’re also more likely to purchase another vehicle from that same dealership.   

“Dealers that focus on the service experience have the potential to add millions of dollars of revenue,” said Sandy Schwartz, president, Cox Automotive. “This study highlights key drivers of customer satisfaction that dealers need to address — value, trust and convenience.

This report surveyed slightly more than 5,000 participants from June 17, 2015, through July 7, 2015. In order to qualify, respondents needed to have had maintenance and/or repairs performed on their vehicle by a third party repair shop at least once in the previous 12 months.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom