Experts believe that we’ll see more frequent and larger automotive recalls in the future, as regulatory agencies increase their scrutiny of the automotive industry. After a record-breaking number of recalls in the last few years—and today’s highly publicized emissions concerns—it looks like that is a safe bet.
Fortunately for dealers, though, owners report that they are pleased with service during recalls. The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Customer Service Index Study found that “overall satisfaction among customers who take their vehicle to a dealer for recall-related work improved to 789 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 777 in 2014.”
It’s clear that while recalls may strain the service department, they present a great business opportunity for your dealership. Here’s my checklist to help your dealership get the most out of every manufacturer recall.
First, the basics:
- The primary goal of every recall should be to retain all your current customers by providing them with exceptional customer service.
- The second goal is to “WOW” any first time, or former customers, during this visit in order to make them new clients or recapture them as renewed clients.
- Every recall comes with problems, so get your team together and create plans that address anticipated issues.
- Make sure every vehicle serviced is handled as you would a customer-pay repair.
Now, how you can make a stellar impression and secure more customers:
- Make sure your team has a plan in place that ensures an email address is captured or verified for every recall customer that comes into the shop.
- Specifically identify any new customers or former customers. These are people who are new to your area, customers who have never returned for service, or customers who you once serviced that have not been back within the last 6 months.
- Have a promotional package of “Welcome” or “Welcome Back” materials that will bring these customers back to you for future maintenance. Do not sell any repairs or maintenance during this visit. Only complete the recall unless something is specifically requested by the customer, or if you discover a problem with a safety-related item.
- Be sure that your service manager (not a clerk or an advisor) contacts every one of these “newly found” customers after their visit. We want to know how the repair visit went and want to take the opportunity to welcome them back for future service.