Franchised dealers need an online aftersales strategy that differentiates them from the independents and High Street fast-fit chains to encourage customers to remain in the network, says Neil Addley, managing director of Trusted Dealers, the classified website owned by the NFDA (National Franchised Dealers Association) and leading dealer groups.
Addley, who will be speaking about dealers’ online aftersales presence at this year’s AM Hit for Six Conference, commented: “It does not mean dealers should go ahead and upload all their pricing onto their websites. Instead, we need to find ways to both keep customers in the network and attract owners of ‘orphan’ cars.
“The new vehicle parc has been lower during the recession years and combined with increased vehicle reliability, reduction in warranty work and intense competition from High Street fast-fits, it is now absolutely imperative to maximise the online potential to raise the profile of aftersales products and services available from franchised dealers.
“Franchised dealers need to harness the power of the internet to make the most of their differentiating factors such as factory-trained technicians, highly skilled workforce, manufacturer-approved diagnostics and additional services such as courtesy vehicles, complimentary wash and vac and high quality products such as service plans.”
Addley will draw on research conducted among consumers in association with the NFDA and Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) when he speaks at Hit for Six which takes place at Cedar Court Hotel on November 19 and tackles topics in the six key areas for dealers – new cars, used cars, aftersales, finance, insurance and digital.
As a result of the research, Trusted Dealers and the NFDA have established ‘10 Points of Difference’ on aftersales to highlight the benefits of using a franchised dealer. A new online service booking functionality will follow early next year along with older vehicle service offers and service plan details as well as additional editorial which dealers can utilise.
Addley said: “Dealers need to continually ask themselves about the whereabouts of their customers. Quite often customers are lost as a result of the simplest of jobs like tyre replacement. Whilst manufacturers and the franchised network have done much to address this issue, the perception is still that tyres are a more expensive purchase from a franchised dealer.
"This first defection can then become permanent as the new supplier will do everything possible to retain their custom and offer them other services in the future. Most importantly, dealers need to follow up their own customers and not give them a reason to go elsewhere.”