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Falling new car sales make aftersales retention a 'number one priority'

Neil Addley

Franchised workshops should consider aftersales retention as "a number one priority" as the impact of three years of falling new car sales start s to tell.

Whilst the majority stick to the recommended service intervals, research by JudgeService of the servicing intentions of lapsed aftersales customers, found only 3% currently have one booked.

Nearly a third (29%) were aware they needed a service but had not taken any steps to arrange one, a further 8.5% did not know their cars required a service.

The study, conducted in December and January, also found 40% had already taken their cars elsewhere to be serviced, while a further 16% intended to do so.

“The sector faces a collective shortfall of over 2.5 million lost new car sales since 2020; vehicles that would typically have been serviced by franchised dealers. This is starting to have an impact on workshop throughput, making aftersales retention a number one priority for all franchised dealers,” said Neil Addley, managing director of JudgeService.

“Our research has identified over three-quarters of lapsed customers either have made no plans to get their cars serviced, are unaware of the need to do so, or have already gone elsewhere. Each of these is a missed opportunity for dealers which can be easily rectified by having robust processes in place to promote servicing work for each new and used car sale.

“While selling service plans guarantees retention for customers, dealers also need to establish and maintain communication channels with those who choose not to purchase them, otherwise they could be lost for ever."

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has called for the Department for Transport (DfT) to double the length of its consultation into the future of MOT testing.

Retailers are missing out on potential aftersales revenue and failing to meet motorists' expectations by not offering direct access to a comprehensive online booking service, CitNOW has found.

REALtime Communications also recently revealed the importance of eVHCs in capturing aftersales work at a time when workshops should be maximising opportunities.

It found that dealers had completed 3.3 million eVHCs using its platform to identify a £1.43 billion in incremental aftersales work.

REALtime Communications chief operating officer Richard Robinson said: "Sometimes the opportunities we need to succeed are right in front of us. Having identified a huge amount of work, the focus for dealers now must be on converting even more of it.

"In 2023, the importance of increasing work identified by our eVHCs that last year represented circa £950m of revenue that was either completed by another business or, with its inherent risks, was ignored by customers. Bridging this gap this year represents a significant opportunity."

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