Service retention rates in dealerships have been steadily declining over the last three years, according to Affinitiv’s recent Automotive Loyalty Trends study, which analyzed data from more than 1,000 auto dealerships.
In domestic brand dealerships, service retention rates have dropped from 61.2% to 60.2%. At import brand dealerships, service retention rates have dropped from 67.8% to 66.4% and luxury brand dealerships have seen service retention rates drop from 67% to 65.3%.
At a time when fixed ops generates half of dealership gross profits, dealers can ill afford to lose any customers, let along see a decline this significant. As part of our loyalty study, we surveyed 1,000 automotive customers who had recently had their vehicles serviced at a dealership, and asked them about their service experience.
According to our survey, 33% of these customers felt that the dealership did not meet all of their expectations on their last service visit. And it turns out that to the majority of customers, the most important part of the service experience is having their vehicle ready and delivered to them at the promised time.
The three most important factors in the customer service experience were ranked as follows:
Vehicle ready when promised–74%
Advisor reviews services completed–55%
Fast payment process–45%
By a wide margin, failing to complete service and delivering a customer’s vehicle late, is the most common reason for a sub-par customer experience in the service department.
To help dealers improve their vehicle delivery process, we also asked how long after the promised time does a dealership have before customers consider the vehicle as “Late.” Here are the responses:
Less than five minutes–8%
Five to fifteen minutes–29%
Sixteen to thirty minutes–34%
More than thirty minutes–28%
Although a majority of customers grant a little leeway, dealers should strive to guarantee their vehicles are ready within five minutes of the promised delivery time.
Prioritizing the value of your customers’ time is the first step in meeting and exceeding customer expectations, and crucial to high customer satisfaction.
*Includes contributions by Jeff Giere, Strategy Analyst at Affinitiv