Franchised car dealers and customer disservice

At a time when customer service is critical it appears that maybe some dealers do not understand that this means good service.

Thousands of pounds have been invested in putting a process in place by car manufacturers with various incentives, staff training and coaching yet still according to surveys (which 2010 in this instance) car dealers are still falling short of the expectations of their customers.

According to the survey, fewer than 10 manufacturers gained 80% or more in overall satisfaction with many falling short meaning customers are voting with their feet and deserting to independent dealers.

It may be the culture or the perceptions that haven’t really been properly addressed by dealers, but many customers still feel they don’t get a good deal from franchised dealers and receive much better value for money and feel more like a valued customer with non franchised dealers.

The fact of the matter is that with non-main dealer service stamps having less bearing on invalidating warranties customers will be even more likely to desert to independents and that is likely to cause problems long term for them and the franchised dealers.

We are already seeing many under 3 year old cars coming through with no main dealer service stamps in the book and that is immediately de-valuing the car, because although it may not invalidate the warranty the irony, from a buyers perspective, is that they want to buy a car with a main dealer service history and will shy away from a anything else.

In effect it harms both parties in the long run. Many franchised dealers will not buy a car without main dealer servicing, or at least will certainly de-value it, and therefore if they cannot attract owners to have their cars looked after – especially in the first 2 or 3 years of ownership – then they lose out on a potential profit opportunity and the customer looses out because they don’t get the best price for their car due to their own dissatisfaction with the franchised aftersales service. Talk about catch-22!

It is something that clearly needs addressing because, as we know, the perception that non-main dealer servicing is cheaper is not always correct, but it is still a very satisfactory alternative to thousands of car drivers.

For the record 4 out of the top 10 manufactures for overall satisfaction are Japanese the top spot held by Daihatsu and somewhat surprisingly Jaguar comes in at number 7 – what a turnaround in fortunes for that brand and not just in the vastly improved model line up it seems.

The worst are Fiat, Chrysler and Renault which will probably not come as a total surprise to many in the trade but will provide chilling reading to those car makers, given the fact that more players are joining the game and making a very good fist of it.

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One Response to Franchised car dealers and customer disservice

  1. Rob Stokes May 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Ive worked for big and small Dealer groups, in sales and in management and the one thing which has changed over the years is the amount of paperwork piled into the mix by the Manufacturer, this is all about keeping the quality of the customer relationship up in their eyes but in truth it does anything but. With more forms to fill in and boxes to tick i’s to dot and t’s to cross the process has become over long and burdensome which is bad news for the customers and negative for the salesperson who makes the bulk of his or her income from selling more cars.

    The sad fact (for the gin palace Dealerships at least) is that their prices are entirely governed by the overheads for the upkeep of these eyesores and they need to attempt to reinforce the power (perceived or otherwise) of the Dealer Service stamp. An entirely unrealistic perception of the value of servicing by a Main dealer is being carried along by them, the truth will come out eventually that, using genuine parts and professional equipment and techniques, the independants will eventually take over from the Franchised Dealer for servicing and the whole deck of cards will collapse if the real issues arent addressed

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