In my last few blogs, I’ve discussed how to handle recall customers and why dealers should embrace them rather than be afraid of them. We’ve also reviewed new and used car recalls, along with the applicable laws and consequences for any failure to comply. The one area I haven’t yet discussed is recalls in your service drive. Sure, you have customers who know they have a recall and come into your service department to get the work done. But what about that customer who is completely unaware that their vehicle has an outstanding recall — that customer that just comes in for an oil change, completely oblivious that anything is wrong with their vehicle?
The problem is that, statistically, there are many vehicles with open recalls that pass through your service drive with vehicle owners completely unaware that any recall exists. What happens with these customers and their vehicles? In many cases, they simply get the service they came for and leave with that recall unfixed. The question is, why? I’m pretty sure that no customer would be happy to leave your service department only to discover they have an open recall and you failed to inform them about it.
Checking for recalls in your service lane, especially with off-brand vehicles, is typically a manual process. It can be time consuming and, in many cases, the advisors don’t have the tools or resources at their disposal to efficiently research the recall. So they don’t. It therefore may be worth considering automating the process. Increasingly tools are arriving on the market that can help with this: To name just a couple, TimeHighway’s online scheduling service enables real-time vehicle recall lookup during appointment scheduling. And, AutoLoop’s Fixed Ops Suite allows real-time recall lookup of vehicles during service appointment scheduling, as well as during the vehicle check-in and inspection process.
Service departments are designed to keep customer vehicles operating safely and at maximum efficiency. That’s why dealerships do inspections. And it is certainly why additional services are recommended. Well, here’s the deal: A huge piece of providing value to a customer in the service drive should include checking each vehicle for open recalls — every time they visit your service drive.
Sure, you may find an open recall for which you don’t have available parts. You may not have the shop capacity to complete the repair, even if you do have the parts. The customer may be inconvenienced and you might even lose some service upsells because the customer isn’t willing to wait. However, the bottom line is that you’re providing your customer with valuable information, making the roads safer for all drivers and are doing your part to increase recall repair compliance.
Yes, I do know that you are running a business operation and it is important to be profitable. Well, customers appreciate good honest decent customer service and a great customer experience. In turn, they are willing to give their loyalty and future business to you. Treat them right and show that you are concerned about their safety and they’ll come back to your service department.
Customer loyalty. Community service. Increased revenue. Sounds like a winning strategy to me.