Bring Service Business Back To the Dealership

I get my oil changed in my two vehicles about every 5,000 miles in round numbers. Though the service centers always advise 3,000, I think that 5,000 is just fine and reasonable. I take it to my favorite place where I am in and out in about 30 minutes, sometimes 45 minutes without an appointment. I take some work with me so I can make my stay in the waiting lounge more productive and interesting. I almost always do it on a Saturday morning because that is the most convenient for me and my schedule. Once in a while I will do it during the week if I can, but it is rare.

Since I have owned both vehicles, they have had oil changed at a dealership twice at one dealer and once at another in 180,000 miles. So out of about 37 oil changes, the dealer got three. The dealer who got two is two hours away from my house. It was just really convenient at the time since I was consulting with this dealer and would be there half a day and the timing was just right.

How could the dealer get me in for the other 34 oil changes? How can you get a customer like me back into the dealership for routine maintenance? Here's some ideas:
  • You could follow up with me more effectively since the sale. Suffice it to say, that it is rare for a dealership to do much of any follow up with customers. They are so busy with all those new ones.
  • Time is important to me. I get my oil changes on Saturday and many dealership service departments are a Monday through Friday business 8am to 5pm.
  • Time is important to me. I like appointments very much and am eager to keep them, but for an oil change I want to be in and out in 30 minutes. I think that is very reasonable with an appointment. Without an appointment, I may have to wait a bit longer, but it shouldn't be too much longer. Where I go, this is not really a problem, but it is not a dealer.
  • Price. I'm not focused on price, but I do know what the competition sells oil changes for. I want to be fair and reasonable. I think in today's market that $29.95 is all the money for a lube, oil, filter on the average gas car or truck. Quick Lube places are many times under $20. I'm willing to pay a little more, but not $45 and then want to come back for more. Specially trained and certified means nothing to me for an oil change.
  • Reminder sticker on the windshield. They used to put them on the door jambs years ago, but those clear reminder stickers they put in the top corner of the windshield are the greatest thing. I can look anytime I want and see where I am in relation to the next oil change. Helps me immensely. Just make sure and use a pen that can be read in two months. I rely on those stickers now. What a cool idea.
  • Have a clean and nice waiting area. This is the only thing I don't like about the place I go for my oil changes. They have a waiting area, but the chairs are filthy and they are very old. They just don't spend money on this kind of thing and never have. Considering everything else is pretty positive and has been for many years, I live with that. It's a little tacky, but not intolerable.
  • Remember me. What I like most about where I go is they treat me like a special customer, which I am. They know me by name and treat me very nice. I like that more than I can say. Of all the points I am making here, this one is the number one reason I continue to go back to this place after 15+ years. I am somebody important to them. They even give me special discounts or sometimes fix a tire with a nail in it free and things like that. They are being of service and being friendly.
  • Let me know of other things that need attention and don't give me any BS about it. If I need it now, tell me. If I need it soon, tell me that. One dealer I went to had a really low price for oil change, but the up selling was tiring and over the line. Go maximize your Repair Order Averages on someone else. Be of genuine service to me as if I were your brother. Dealers have been sold a bill of goods on this up sell thing. A little of that is good, a lot of it kills the deal for good. Be honest with me. Very few know I was a journeyman auto mechanic, so I know a few things about cars. You never know what experience the person you are talking to has. Keep it straight.

Well, there it is. You want more business coming back to the dealership? This stuff will work with me and I am sure that I am not alone.

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