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Guest opinion: Three ways to improve winter service offerings

Jack Allman

With the cold weather well and truly here, many motorists will be considering a winter service.

This is not surprising, especially when you consider the findings of a recent study which revealed 28% of car accidents occur in the winter and two thirds of motorists are anxious when driving in the snow.

This peak in accidents and the concern that many drivers have during the winter generates a need to ensure the safety and efficiency of vehicles on the road.

Offering a winter service, however, can be difficult in an increasingly competitive market, especially at a time of the year when many customers may be strapped for cash in the run up to Christmas.

Here some quick tips for making the most of the opportunity.

Send reminders

Starting early is vital when attracting winter service customers. Vehicle servicing is not an immediate priority for many people so some form of advertising or direct marketing is crucial to gaining business.

Whether it is through flyers, online or email, advising customers on the importance of a winter service check is the first step in gaining their business.

The timing of the campaign is key too.

Reminding customers too early – when the sun is shining and winter feels far away – won’t gain much attention, but on the flip side, telling customers’ half-way through winter makes the purpose of the service redundant.

Offer a full vehicle health check

Incorporating an electronic vehicle heath check into a winter service can be a great way to encourage more customers to your dealership. 

An eVHC is a comprehensive  service, which not only checks for winter hazards but also serves as an in-depth report into any work that needs carrying out on the vehicle.

EVHC software can help to record and highlight the specific issues, with an emphasis on transparency for the customer and an accurate urgency system – red (critical) and amber (medium term) issues.

This overt method of performing checks on a vehicle shows the customer that you are fully aware of any problems and instils trust in the service provided.

Be flexible

Today’s customer service is all about offering flexibility and convenience, and it’s vital that this is  incorporated in your winter sales offering. Dealerships, for example, will commonly book out their workshop capacity, leaving little option for ‘same day’ services.  

Instead of booking out workshop capacity, dealers should look to retaining a small portion of the day which can be dedicated to unscheduled work; an 80 – 20 split for example.

This way, if a customer is booked in for other work, there will still be capacity to offer a winter service on the same day. The same applies to methods of payment.

With Christmas restricting people’s available budget, the more flexibility provided the more likely it is that customers will consider the winter service option.

Author: Jack Allman (pictured), chief executive Auto Service Finance

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