Your Automotive Marketing Specialists

Your Automotive Marketing Specialists

Targeting Service Customers

6 min read

Do you want to increase visits to your service shop? Do you want to sell more cars and increase foot traffic to the sales floor?

A good way to increase visits to your store is to educate the consumer.  Imagine that the young professional that just bought their first new car doesn’t know that regularly scheduled maintenance will keep their car running safely and efficiently. Encourage your customers to service and inspect their car at factory-recommended intervals by educating them that ignoring regular maintenance can lead to damage to the car and additional repairs over time. Taking proper care of their car will not only enhance performance and safety but also extend the life of the car and improve its resale value.

Selling a car is just the first step in acquiring a customer for life. Most people might not know that regular car maintenance saves money in the long run.

Before the service visit: educate with a mail campaign

Make sure your customers know the importance of scheduled maintenance to keep their vehicle running safely and efficiently. Remind them of scheduled maintenance and offer incentives on common repairs. Getting reminders in the mail will encourage customers to call your shop to schedule their car maintenance. Add a coupon for service to increase the rate of response. You can do this through regular mail or email. Digital to Dealer Direct offers conventional media and email campaigns to help you with this.

    • Reach out to let them know their car is due for scheduled maintenance and when they need to complete this by. It takes the guesswork out for your customer and provides them with the service needed and the number to contact to schedule it. For instance, you can reach out to the customer that just bought their first new car to let them know it is due for its 10,000-mile service visit. Tell them what work needs to be done (scheduled maintenance), why (their car has reached 10,000 miles), and how (call their service department today to schedule at the number provided). You can also offer a bonus in the form of a 10% discount on the service; another incentive for your customer to call your service department, instead of the other car shop down the street. Let them know why it’s important to have factory-trained technicians working on their car.

    • Reach out to your customers with a mailer that offers a discount for their upcoming service. This makes it easier for the customer to put this on their already busy schedule and gives them an incentive to call YOUR shop since you’re offering savings. Everyone is busy and you want to make it easy for them to take care of their car. If you’re proactive in reaching out, they can schedule their visit at a time that is convenient for them and avoid breaking down on the road. Once your customer builds a relationship with your service department, you’re likely to have a customer for life or at least the life of their car.  And when they’re ready for a new car, they already have a dealer that they know and trust because they’ve had such a good experience with your shop every time.

    • Stress the importance of keeping up with suggested Maintenance by providing a schedule. You can customize the schedule based on the individual or have a list of customers based on the car model and the recommended schedule for that model. Some common service visits that you can offer discounts on are Brakes, Oil Changes, Wiper Blade replacement, & Tire rotation and alignment.

      • Oil Change & Filter: 3,000-5,000 miles

      • Tire Rotation: 10,000 miles

      • Air Filter (check): 15,000 miles

      • Cabin Air Filter: 15,000 miles

      • Brake Fluid Flush: 30,000 miles

      • Transmission Service: 30,000 miles

      • Belt & Hose (check): 50,000 miles

      • Power Steering Flush: 50,000 miles

      • Cooling System Flush: 60,000 miles

      • Tune-Up: 60,000 miles

      • Timing Belt: 100,000 miles

Ensuring a good experience: send a short video

In addition to educating your customers about the services needed to get them into the shop, make sure that they know what will be done to their vehicle, common issues, and what to expect after the visit. For instance, you can send a short video on how an oil change is completed and let them know that they will need to check their oil levels after a week or so, as the new oil gets into the engine and filter, especially if they have a turbo engine. It’s critical that your customers know what to expect from the service visit, so that when they go to check their oil a month later and they’re low, they know it’s not the service department’s fault, but that this is to be expected. Otherwise, you risk getting a negative review for exceptional service. Get ahead of this by educating the consumer; they’ll appreciate the effort you made to make sure their car is taken care of, and they’ll learn something in the process. This is just one example of a short video you can send to your customers to watch while their vehicle is being serviced. Informing the customer will go a long way in ensuring a positive relationship for both the service team and the customer.

You can also let them know about what other common services might be needed to keep their car running safely and efficiently before they are needed, so they know what to look out for. Digital to Dealer Direct also offers video production!

During the service visit: convert service customers into new car customers through trade-ins

Don’t waste an opportunity to have a conversation with your customers while they are there for a service visit. Offer a free appraisal on their car and talk to them about what car they are interested in while they wait for their car to be serviced. Maybe they are not currently in the market for a new vehicle, but through conversation, you discover that their car isn’t meeting their needs. If this is the case, then you can be the expert and inform the customer on how they can best meet their needs. They haven’t done any research yet, so you are the authority on the matter. Maybe you even have some vehicles in stock that they can take home today! As the salesman, introduce yourself to the customer during a service visit as the vehicle exchange coordinator. This allows you to remain non-threatening, as you’re not there to sell them a car, but rather to better understand their needs and offer an exchange for their current vehicle that isn’t meeting those needs. You can start the conversation by asking how they’ve serviced their car, if this was the car that they really wanted, and if it’s meeting their needs.

After a certain amount of time, the young professional that bought their first car from you and serviced it on a regular basis (thanks to your service shop reaching out to remind them of scheduled maintenance), will want to look for an updated vehicle. Maybe their needs have changed, and they’ve considered a different model, but haven’t actively shopped yet and they just brought their car in for service after 100,000+ miles. Once you provide the estimate, they may prefer to spend money on a new minivan or SUV to fit their growing family or hobbies, rather than on servicing their existing car. Don’t miss an opportunity to turn a service customer into a repeat customer through trade-in offers and buy-back incentives. When it’s time to replace their vehicle, they already have a dealership that they know and trust if you’ve been maintaining the relationship.

Thank them after their visit. Are you reaching out to your customers after the service visit to thank them for entrusting their car to your shop? What information are you providing after the service visit?

Follow up with your customers after the visit to let them know that you appreciate their business. Thank them for bringing their car in. If they have a car that someone has been on the hunt for, you can let them know that someone is interested in their car. This is the perfect segway to letting them know about your trade-in and buy-back incentives. If they didn’t opt to complete all the recommended services, maybe they would rather put their money towards a new car instead of their existing car. If you didn’t already reach out to them during their visit, offer a free appraisal from your vehicle exchange coordinator.

You can also check in with them to make sure that they are happy with the service provided and ask them to provide feedback through a review of your business on social media. You can offer future incentives to customers that refer a friend or post a complimentary review. In service industries, trust is paramount and if they trust you with their car and safety, then chances are that their network of friends and colleagues will also entrust their business to your shop. Digital to Dealer Direct also offers social media and reputation management to help grow your business.

Contact us to learn more about how you can implement these marketing strategies and more!

Whether you’d like to create videos to explain common services needed or send mail and email campaigns to bring customers in the door, Digital to Dealer Direct has it all!  We can even tell you how effective your campaigns are so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly. What are you waiting for? There are people searching for a car right now – are your ads reaching them?

Contact us to learn more!