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Capturing the after-sales market - what’s the key?

Capturing the after-sales market - what’s the key? August 29, 2014 by Paul Evans

Interesting to see that Peugeot UK are advertising that their dealers will carry out competitive servicing and some basic repairs for all brands, with special prices for cars over 3 years old.

No surprise that the age selection is close to the end of many new car warranty periods and exactly when the hard pressed car owner is less reluctant to break the umbilical cord of the supplying franchise and look for some less eye- watering servicing costs.

Seeing this, nudged us further along a meandering trail which we have been exploring but first, some context.

It seems possible that the downward pressure on pay is likely to ease as the UK recovery becomes less the government's fantasy and more of an election dream.  
And in the retail motor industry it is often usual for all salary increases to be met by an increase in retail labour rates.  
The retail cost of an hour's attention in a franchised service department is already such that any further boost, together with the charges for oil brake fluid etc, may mean that even more erstwhile-loyal owners will be forced to vote with their wallets and look for alternative solutions.

The Peugeot initiative seems like a good move, but one wonders if this is not the time for the emergence of a motor industry version of the Aldi and Lidl format which is causing so much anguish with mainstream food retailers.
Upstream, Waitrose and M&S continue more or less serenely, with their reputation for quality resonating in a polarised market.
But when the service offer and price point of the mid- range stores fail to be different enough to make up for a smaller range of goods, customers have no compunction about taking advantage of big price savings for more or less the same stuff.

So back to the path...
Is this now the time for the likes of Halfords, Kwik Fit or even a new entrant to the business to bring forward a more coherent strategy to capturing the vast numbers of vehicles that are now bolstering the vehicle parc?.

Real personal service which extends to knowing all about your customer and showing that you remember him or her is one way of holding back the tide.
A cautionary note then to one franchised group who have centralised all after- sales phone contact for their multi-brand operation to a call centre 30 miles away and effectively provided every possible reason for two friends who have recently bought cars from them to look elsewhere for any of their future motoring needs.  

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