Why most customers are leery of your service center – and how to fix it


It’s a word that drives your business.

And, when missing, can drive your customers away.

Which is why findings of a recent AAA survey and other studies should make car dealerships nervous, especially about their parts and service centers.

The AAA survey showed that about two-thirds of U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general, while a study by Cox Automotive showed that more than 70 percent skip the dealership service department after buying a car, choosing instead to go elsewhere for repairs.


Cautionary tale where nobody gets hurt – except the dealership

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AAA survey respondents most frequently cited these reasons they are leery of auto repair centers:

  • Recommending unnecessary services (76 percent)
  • Overcharging for services (73 percent)
  • Negative past experiences (63 percent)
  • Concerns that the work will not be done correctly (49 percent)

That’s bad for business considering the share of the average store’s revenue (about 40 percent) and profits (50 percent) that your parts and service center generates and the impact it can have on customer loyalty when it’s time for a customer to purchase another vehicle.

Making matters worse, a study by DEMautomotive showed that the longer customers own their vehicles the less likely they are to return to the dealership for servicing.

That’s a lot of revenue to leave on the table for someone else to scoop up.

Which brings us back to trust.

The AAA survey also revealed opportunity for auto dealerships, with nearly two-thirds of U.S. drivers singling out an auto repair shop that they do trust, “suggesting that consumers have prioritized finding a reliable mechanic in an industry with an imperfect reputation.”

Which, of course, means that the more your dealership can avoid – or correct – the reasons that customers are reluctant to bring their repair business to you, the better you are likely to fare.

“The quality of work – doing the job right the first time – can noticeably affect customer satisfaction and loyalty,” said Chris Sutton of J.D. Power, speaking of the company’s latest Customer Satisfaction Index.

It’s as simple – and as complicated – as that.

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