Cost is the biggest bone of contention for customers, who believe having a vehicle serviced at a dealership costs more than at an independent shop.
That perception is not entirely true, said John Traver, CEO of Traver Connect, which helps dealerships implement business development procedures. The firm mystery-shops a rotating list of five items at 1,800 dealerships, chain stores and independent repair shops.
He has found the price difference between a dealership service department and an independent repair shop is not as great as people believe it to be.
Educating customers about what kind of work the vehicle needs is helpful in avoiding that misconception, he said. Consistency in quoting a price is important, too.
Also, bad communication is at the root of many misconceptions, Traver said. For example, customers complain when maintenance work or a repair took longer than expected. A dealership should confirm what services a customer wants performed and let them know if it will take more time.
“The service department should ask on the phone if [the customer wants] to spend the extra time. This speaks to credibility,” Traver said.