Maximizing Auto Repair Shop Customer Service: A Guide to Selling Maintenance Work

Maximizing Auto Repair Shop Customer Service: A Guide to Selling Maintenance Work
Updated on:
Originally published on:
March 29, 2024

Maximizing Auto Repair Shop Customer Service: A Guide to Selling Maintenance Work

Training service advisors how to properly sell maintenance work can create more loyal customers.

Drivers typically come in with an expectation of what's wrong with their car, which can make it tricky to sell maintenance work. Drivers might think you're trying to squeeze more money out of them, or may simply have a set budget in their mind and don’t plan on spending extra.

In reality, you're simply trying to go above and beyond and provide them the best service possible. So how do you show that, and which tools will help you transform the way you sell maintenance?

Here’s how to build customer trust while staying true to your auto repair shop’s mission of providing optimal maintenance recommendations.

Why Selling Maintenance Work Can Be a Challenge for Auto Repair Shop Customer Service

According to a survey conducted by AAA, 76% of U.S. drivers said that recommending unnecessary services was the top reason they do not trust auto repair shops. The survey also points out that ⅔ of U.S. drivers have managed to find an auto repair shop that they trust. Whether it’s an independent auto repair shop, or a chain repair shop, trust needs to be at the forefront of the customer experience.

Service advisors may be hesitant to sell maintenance work and only focus on the problem at hand because they don’t want to come off as pushy. But not recommending maintenance work can be a disservice to customers who deserve to know about any and all issues with their vehicle, not just the ones they’ve noticed themselves.

Add a Maintenance-Focused Inspection and Sales Process to Your Auto Repair Shop Customer Service Routine

When it comes to selling routine vehicle maintenance work, it’s important to remember that routine check ups will make a big difference on customer’s cars. Similar to the human body, cars are complex systems. Just like the body has a heart, nervous system, and organs, cars have the engine, the vehicle bus, and the control unit. If one problem is ignored, that could lead to more issues, possibly more serious than the last. For example, if a driver puts off replacing their brakes, it could damage the car’s rotors, which in turn, could lead to loss of braking power. This gets us back to one of the most important benefits of selling maintenance work: it helps your customers stay safe and get as many miles out of their car as possible.

Benefits to Selling Maintenance Work

  1. Regular maintenance makes your customers’ lives easier. It prevents your customers from ending up on the side of the road and prolongs their vehicles’ lifespans.
  2. Customers save money. Maintenance work can prevent car issues from getting out-of-hand, which may lead to spending more on larger repairs in the future. And who doesn’t want to address maintenance work before it becomes a much larger expense?
  3. Providing maintenance inspections helps shops sell more work, which usually means higher ROs and a more profitable repair shop. Also, because maintenance work helps your customers’ vehicles last longer, they’re less likely to buy a new car, which they’ll probably get repaired at the dealership during the first few years.
  4. Maintenance inspections help you queue up more work for the future. Even if they decline the maintenance work, you now have a relationship. You can track those declined jobs, and the service advisor and technician can save time figuring out what all might be wrong with the vehicle and resell that work.
  5. Customers trust you more. When you provide reliable insights into your customer’s vehicles, your like their go-to car whisperer—a trustworthy person who reminds them to check stuff out on their vehicle before anything bad happens

Maintenance by Mileage

Shop owners, we recommend training your service advisors to check customer mileage at each visit and tracking it in your shop's auto repair shop customer service notes. By keeping track of customer mileage on each vehicle, you’ll be able to recommend maintenance work based on how many miles it has been since their last visit.

Mileage Recommended Car Maintenance
Every 3,000 - 7,000 Miles Replace oil and oil filters, inspect various fluid levels and wipers, check tires and lights
Every 15,000 miles Replace air filter
Every 20,000 miles Inspect battery and coolant levels
Every 30,000 miless Replace power steering fluid, inspect coolant levels, brake pads, and suspension components, check radiator hoses and HVAC system
Every 35,000 miless Inspect and replace the battery
Every 40,000 miless Replace spark plugs and wires, inspect ignition system and suspension
Every 60,000 miless Replace brake pads and fluid, inspect radiator hoses, timing belt, HVAC system, suspension components, and tires, check coolant levels, and power steering fluid levels

Mileage aside, a thorough digital vehicle inspection of all vehicle’s essential components should be performed regularly.

Selling maintenance work can be challenging due to customers’ skepticism and reluctance to spend extra money. Build trust by implementing a maintenance-focused inspection and sales process into your auto repair shop customer service experience.
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