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Autotrade: Health checks

Fancy adding £40,000 to your bottom line profits with a minimum of effort? Surely no-one would turn down that opportunity. Well many dealers are – every month.

According to the experts, vehicle health checks could bring in incremental revenues of up to £40,000 per month for an average-sized dealership, with very little investment required.

However, dealers are missing out because, through a lack of staff training and incentives, they are failing to offer every customer an assessment.

The finding was uncovered by an audit of 100 dealerships by AutoVHC, the health check system from BTC Solutions.

The general managers appraised believed health checks were being completed on every car.

In reality, claims AutoVHC, a fully priced health check was presented to customers only 39% of the time.

Even in the best examples it was 80%, and with jobs not followed up after the customer leaves, this represents a massive loss of revenue.

The figures are all the more surprising considering that health checks are part of many manufacturers’ franchise requirements.

As the credit crunch bites, it is more important than ever for dealers to maximise all profit streams.

A health check can lead to extra sales of parts and workshop time.

They can identify priority tasks, such as bald tyres which need changing immediately, and future jobs which staff can book in advance or log on the system for follow up.

It’s also good for customer satisfaction, offering a more convenient service than advising about jobs and leaving them to go elsewhere.

If the car can be collected with all immediate problems fixed, it conveys a professional image for the dealership.

Manufacturers do promote health checks during the year under the guise of improving reliability for summer driving or, as now, reducing fuel consumption through better maintenance.

Vauxhall, for example, runs seasonal health check promotions.

These increase the throughput of the workshop if the dealer markets them properly.

Staff attitude is core to the sales process and it’s vital to make sure that they are incentivised to sell the added services.

Logging the revenue generated will create a proactive team, keen to find new profit and enthusiastic to sell it to customers.

Adrian Brabazon, Castrol UK OEM and workshop marketing manager, says: “Where it works well is where staff work together. If technicians don’t see the value and aren’t rewarded then they won’t buy into upselling. If the service adviser can’t see the benefits, he won’t buy in either. Make all the departments see the benefits and rewards, as it gets them to work together.”

#AM_ART_SPLIT# Case study: Thompson Peugeot

Darren Fell, aftersales manager at Stafford-based Thompson Peugeot, introduced a structured electronically-operated health check procedure three-and-a-half months ago, with the help of AutoVHC.

Technicians are given a PDA displaying a list of tasks to complete the health check, and every vehicle goes through the same procedure.

The only exception is if work has been carried out recently.

The PDA feeds information to the parts department, which can order as necessary and prices are sent back to the workshop.

Extra jobs which are required immediately are flagged up in red, and less urgent jobs in amber.

The customer is presented with a list of jobs not carried out when they collect the car.

For tasks labelled red, the customer will be contacted with prices while the car is still in the workshop and offered the work to be carried out on the day.

Amber tasks are recorded in the dealer management system and customers are contacted three months later for a further health check to see if the parts need replacing.

With an in-depth understanding of the work, the workshop controller – not the customer adviser – is given the ability to give customers discounts of up to 15% and price match where necessary.

Fell says the system is beginning to bring amber work back in after three months. However, it’s unusual for customers to bring back red labelled tasks declined on the day.

  • Read this story in full in the 11 July issue of AM. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.
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