Issue Date: Service Advisor Feb 15, 2008, Posted On: 2/15/2008
Is selling "Quick Service" really such a good idea? Quick service is now the norm in our culture, nowhere more so than in a retail automotive dealership. But in auto service, a more deliberate pace might be better, both for you and your customers.
Any tech can change the oil and filter on most vehicles in 10 minutes. So putting up a sign advertising that you offer a 30-minute oil change is perfectly reasonable. Low-balling the price might also seem like a great way to attract new customers. The question is, do these tactics actually attract enough of the land of new customers you need to sustain your business?
Skilled techs or oil changers? If your dealership's shop has been able to thrive in the competitive business climate of the last several years, chances are your dealer/owner has invested in the newest technology and your shop is doing more high tech jobs. Labor rates have increased to make up for the investment in equipment and training. And as service advisors, you spend more time educating your customers about the sophisticated machines they're driving.
The problem is who in your shop actually does the 30-minute oil change at the low-ball price? Unless there are no serious jobs in the shop, it may not make good business sense to have a highly skilled technician doing a 30-minute oil change.
There's an old accountant's joke that goes something like this: "We lose money on every job, but we make it up in volume." Take it as gospel: When you lose five bucks on one job, you lose fifty bucks on ten of those jobs. The volume concept is more appropriate for mass-producing widgets than for the automotive service business.
Would 60 minutes be better? Customers usually want to get out of the shop as fast as possible when they come in for an oil change. But here is where you should put your customer education skills to good use. Take a few moments to explain why it's important to do more than just change the oil and filter. You might use a line like: "You wouldn't want your doctor to rush you in and out of an office visit, would you? You'd want him to take whatever time is necessary to look you over and make recommendations that will ensure your continued good health."
You can draw on your own experience to come up with disasters that could be prevented. For example, a customer comes in for a scheduled oil change with no complaints or symptoms. The technician puts the car on a lift and begins the oil and filter change. In the course of a routine inspection the tech notices green coolant dripping from the water pump seal. The coolant tank obviously was not empty, and the temperature light had never come on. The only evidence of an impending breakdown was the green drips on the crankshaft damper pulley.
You can assure your customers that your preventive maintenance 60-minute oil change is far more than simply an oil change. With this service, your customers' cars are getting a thorough once-over from a skilled technician who can identify the subtle signs of impending trouble. This 60-minute LOF service should be advertised as an all-inclusive preventive maintenance checkup.