Do you send reminder cards to your customers to let them know when it’s time to have regularly scheduled maintenance performed on their vehicles? Do you send them birthday or Valentine’s Day cards? Do you send them a note to remind them that their driver’s license will be expiring? When they are in for service, do you take the time to explain the services you have performed and prepare them for future service needs?
You have the opportunity to know a lot of information about your customers. Are you taking full advantage of it? Let me tell you that your local Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, Hummer and Saab dealers will be taking advantage of their unique connection with their new car customers – namely OnStar.
There are approximately two million GM vehicles that can receive a free diagnostic check via the OnStar communication system. OnStar will perform a system self-check to make sure it is working properly, as well as check the anti-lock brakes, engine, transmission and airbags. The real tool for the dealership service manager is that the system will send participating OnStar subscribers an email each month summarizing the results of the diagnostic check. And at the bottom of that email is the name and address of the dealership where any required service can be conducted.
GM expects 75 percent of all eligible OnStar subscribers will choose to receive the new email service. While there are about four million OnStar subscribers today, the 2003 and earlier model-year vehicles have an analog communication system and are unable to support this new diagnostic function. Beginning in March 2004, a new dual-mode, analog/digital system was installed and is used on all subsequent vehicles.
So now we basically have vehicles that are communicating with the owner, and with a simple push of the blue OnStar button, the driver can be speaking with a service technician. Your job just got a lot more difficult.
Are you taking full advantage of every opportunity to communicate with your customers? Do they know you can diagnose that MIL? Are they aware of all the services you can provide? Do they prefer an email reminder versus a postcard?
Today you compete against the blue-button, yesterday it was the $9.99 LOF and tomorrow it will be something else. Keep asking your customers what they want, listen to the answer and execute.