Shops have potential for better word of mouth advertising
Dealership service departments receive a lot of personal endorsements from their customers — but could get even more.
That's the takeaway from a survey conducted for Automotive News last month by DealerRater.com. When 17,382 consumers who recently visited a dealership were asked whether they had ever recommended that store's service department to family or friends, 74 percent said yes.
And 18 percent said no only because they had not used the service department. That left only 8 percent of respondents saying no for other reasons.
In an ideal world, all of a dealership's customers would recommend its service department. But if three-fourths said they would, a service manager should still be pleased if the rest said they had not, but only because they hadn't used it themselves.
That would mean there is a good chance that the remaining one-fourth could be turned into happy customers — and word-of-mouth advocates — if they could be persuaded to come to the dealership for service.
It's only a high score on the "no, other reasons" response that's cause for concern. These customers may have had a bad experience with the service department. Or maybe their relatives all live out of state. Who knows?
Nissan should be pleased that, among brands with at least 250 responses, it scored higher than any other on the "yes" response: 79 percent of Nissan customers said they have recommended the dealership's service department. Next were Mercedes-Benz, at 78 percent, and Toyota, at 77 percent.
At the other end was Mazda. It tied with Subaru and Volks- wagen for the smallest share of "yes" responses: 69 percent. But it also has the most potential. An industry-topping 26 percent of Mazda respondents said no because they hadn't used the dealership's service department themselves, while just 5 percent said no for some other reason.
The implication: If Mazda dealerships can get more of their customers to visit the service lane, these folks are likely to be pleased enough to recommend the store to their friends and family when they need service.
For Subaru, the "no" responses broke down into 24 percent of respondents who hadn't used the service department and 7 percent who cited other reasons. For Volkswagen, the figures were 23 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
|Q: Have you recommended this dealership's service department to friends or family?|
|Yes||No, because I haven't used it myself||no, other reason|
|Source: DealerRater.com survey conducted Feb. 28-March 12; 17,382 respondents; brands listed had at least 250 respondents.|
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