We asked fixed ops managers: "What is your best strategy for competing with aftermarket providers in your area?"
"First, our customers want flexibility. Price isn't the main concern. Most customers now know that pricing is competitive. What they want is the ability to come in with an appointment or without one. Second, they want their vehicle health report. Our customers expect their inspection report every visit. They expect accuracy and solid advising, so they can plan their time and their finances. Flexibility plus solid, accurate information creates customer loyalty."
PAUL BARTLETT, Fixed operations manager, Capitol Ford-Lincoln, Santa Fe, N.M.
"We try to price-shop the competition, to make sure our pricing is in line with theirs. We also like to make the customer aware of the advantages of servicing with the dealership because of the factory-trained technicians and the warranty on repairs, building value into the sale."
DICK JOHNS, Service manager, Diehl Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Grove City in Pennsylvania
"We used to focus on pricing strategies, but over time many of us came to the realization that changing the perception of dealer pricing was easier said than done. We struggle more with being a convenient choice for our customers. We deal with other aspects of repair that the aftermarket shops will never be burdened with, which can affect our level of service. Being as convenient as possible is where I choose to focus."
BRENT WAGGONER, Fixed operations director, Sutherland Chevrolet, Nicholasville, Ky.
"When a customer comes to our dealership, they expect top-quality service and parts. So when we explain to the customer the difference between OEM and aftermarket, it is an easy sell."
DON DEMENY, Service manager, Chrysler World, Abrams, Wis.
"Provide the highest level of customer service by being different, being transparent and being bold. Educate the customer, and be the expert they expect you to be. Build lasting lifelong relationships with your customers, and be aware of customer needs and expectations."
CHAD McHARGUE, Service and parts director, Chalmers Ford, Rio Rancho, N.M.
Send suggestions for future Shop Talks to [email protected].
Compiled by Danielle Szatkowski
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