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Service vs. Market Penetration for Fixed Ops

Written By: RICK WEGLEY
POSTED ON May 13, 2024

Your customers live busy lives. It’s important to keep up with their needs as market trends evolve and as new and used car volumes dip. As you know, your fixed ops department is vital in retaining customers to increase your market share. 

Your dealership has the power to influence several key concerns with your customers—like service, overall convenience, and price. If you’re curious to learn more about service vs. market penetration for fixed ops, NCM Associates expert Rick Wegley can offer an insightful approach to managing your fixed ops with a clear path forward. 

Trust Is a Must 

It’s important to invest in factory-trained technicians, advisors skilled in proficient communication, and to embrace changing industry trends. By doing so, you can commit to excellence to ensure every vehicle is a Fixed First Visit with high-quality repairs and maintenance—which directly leads to customer satisfaction.  

Remember—convenience reigns supreme. Today’s customers rely on your fixed ops to provide timely service regardless of what’s needed. This is especially true for routine maintenance, or facilities that promise quick turnarounds for service visits that don’t require appointments. 

If your fixed ops cannot meet their needs, customers will seek better, faster alternatives: “The formula we’ve used successfully for over 40 years is Price/Convenience = Value. I could add Trust to that equation, but if they don’t trust you, regardless of how convenient it is, they will not return to do business,” said Wegley. 

Create a Strategy and Stick With It 

The recipe for success to mastering market penetration, service numbers, and customer retention lies in strategic investment—and committing to continuous improvement. When you make offers like free oil changes or tires for life, you can unintentionally devalue your services.  

“What if we just embrace the fact that the only way you’re going to retain and earn customers' trust is through investing time and effort more effectively?” said Wegley. “Having great processes in place and providing ongoing training and development to our people fosters the environment of continuous improvement.” 

Achieve success by defining company goals to ensure everyone understands what success looks like, then provide the tools, training, and support for your staff to reach those targets. This investment in people and process is the sustainable path to increased market share and happy, loyal customers. 

Communication Builds Collaboration 

In a rapidly evolving market, transparency and humility are key for fixed operations departments. Dealership staff, from technicians to advisors, are often focused on their immediate tasks and may miss the bigger picture of industry trends. Leaders must bridge this gap, sharing market insights, and fostering a sense of urgency without condescension.  

“It’s their future, too,” said Wegley. “The sooner we all dive in together, the sooner we will find positive solutions—perhaps solutions to problems we didn’t even know existed?” 

This open communication builds a collaborative environment. By embracing transparency with a humble attitude, dealerships can navigate changing market dynamics, protecting market share and strengthening the bonds of customer loyalty. 

Use Technology—But Proceed With Caution 

Technology is a double-edged sword for fixed ops. Manufacturer-provided apps and connectivity features open doors for customer engagement and retention—use them wisely! However, excessive communication can backfire, irritating loyal customers. It's about finding the right balance.  

“If your manufacturer offers vehicle technologies that are intended to improve the customer experience using vehicle data communications, please take advantage of that,” Wegley implored. “[But] too much engagement can lead to loss of retention opportunities. Over-communication leads to a disconnect.” 

Your service department's customer base is more localized, so tailor your technology investments to match your specific customer demographics. 

Create New Processes for Your Fixed Ops Department 

Striking a balance between service and market penetration for fixed pods requires a laser focus on the right investments. Between rising costs and prioritizing exceptional staff, it’s essential to map out a well-defined process.  

As you look for new ways to effectively serve existing customers, rely on NCM Associates to help you find your footing.