To set up the practice, Brooke said, he spent hours combing through Beyer's dealership management system to see which customers hadn't been in for service in a while and added those customers to a spreadsheet. The list was then shared with the group's service managers, who are tasked with verifying that employees are calling those customers and recording the outcome of each call.
"We put a lot of effort into calling people — more effort than we ever had in the past," Brooke said of the group, which sold 3,700 new and 3,000 used vehicles in 2020.
Now, the group's nearly 30 service advisers call between eight and 15 customers a day. The advisers also are given various scripts to use as a guideline depending on each customer's service and repair needs.
Brooke is adamant, however, that customers are never pressured to come in. "We wanted the customer to understand, hey, we're here for you. You're due for service. We'll pick the vehicle up," he said. "Make it more personable than anything."
At its Subaru store in Alexandria, Va., for example, 27 of the 42 customers called made appointments for service.
The strategy also has enabled the group's service departments to easily notify customers about relevant service and repair specials.
"We started using more of our operation codes where somebody may have declined something previously," Brooke said. "We called that customer back and offered them an incentive to come in and get those repairs done."
Since making a bigger commitment to customer calls in July, Brooke said the group had 24,752 customer-pay and warranty repair orders in the second half of 2020 compared with 20,829 in the first half of the year — an increase of nearly 19 percent.