OEM franchise networks are winning the battle for our market share!
It was only 10 years ago that we—independent repair shop owners—were congratulating ourselves for keeping a steady hold on our lead for the market share of all vehicle spending versus the dealership network. In 2008, the independent shops had 56% of the market. The dealership network took notice and decided to find out why this was and what they had to do to reverse the trend.
In 2018, due in part to their diligence, dealerships now have 53% of the market. This is a significant fact. Now it is time for the independent sector to take notice and learn what must be done to reverse this change in customers’ expectations and their purchasing decisions and take back more market share.
Dealerships took notice of how the independent shops treated their clients and ticked the boxes needed to make their clients feel like a valued person and not just a number. In the past, dealerships were thought to be expensive, inconvenient, and somewhat unfriendly or arrogant.
Times have changed. Lexus Dealerships have won the J.D. Power overall customer satisfaction for three consecutive years. If you want to know why this is, just visit your local Lexus Dealer. The service reception area is bright, clean and welcoming. Clients have a chair at a clean and well-organized desk to speak to the service advisor. Coffee and other hot drinks are offered, before the discussion of what services they may perform for you. It is a very warm and welcoming environment.
Dealerships have learned many lessons and have made many changes to their operations. Dealerships are now opening on weekends and staying open later during weekdays.
They are advertising “package pricing” for services and seasonal specials. Dealerships learned through their own research that they were losing clients to the independents when the vehicles needed their first new set of tires. Since dealerships were not selling tires at a competitive price, they were losing out on a chance to retain a lot of clients.
Fast forward to the last few years. You now see that dealerships learned from this issue and now are selling tires at a competitive price. As a result of this change, they now have seen a big increase in the four-to-eight-year-old vehicle repair market share.
A recent survey of the clients of NAPA AUTOPRO shops has shown that aftermarket shops are scoring poorly for categories such as: ease of parking, facility cleanliness, comfort of the waiting area, and amenities offered (coffee, Wi-Fi, shuttle service, current newspapers and magazines).
Take a good look at your facility. Ask a friend to walk into your reception area and give you their opinion of their first impressions. If your shop does not offer shuttle service, loaner cars, free and fresh coffee or cold drinks, Wi-Fi, clean and comfortable seating and current reading materials, then take steps to correct these shortcomings. If you can’t or won’t, then start planning for how you are going to plan for the loss of more of your market share to the dealerships.
Part of my plan in writing these articles is that readers can send their comments and questions that could lead to writing about other subjects. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected].