Fixed Operations Training: Recalls Are an Opportunity, Not an Interruption

In 2017, more than 28 million recall notices went out to car owners. But that pales in comparison to 2016 where nearly 53 million recalls were issued. 

It’s something that instills fear into drivers and can devastate a car company’s brand image. A recall can single-handedly take out a major industry supplier, which was witnessed in the Takata air-bag inflator recall scenario. 

In the confusion and mistrust that a recall creates, there’s also an opportunity. Vehicle recalls can help generate dealership income in almost every department. 

The Service Department

For recall repairs, the service department stands to gain the most. Even if the recall is a .2-hour repair or inspection, additional maintenance, and repair work is possible. Most importantly, it ignites opportunities for renewed customer contact. 

Pair up with your social media expert and your BDC to create a recall ‘campaign’ for your store. Use manufacturer-supplied lists to contact your customers as well as broadcast a net to capture car owners not loyal to another dealer. 

The Parts Department

This one is obvious: recall parts sales. It’s crucial that the parts department keeps in communication with the BDC and service departments to prevent appointments where parts are not in stock. 

The Sales Department

Teamwork is the name of this game. Create a whole-dealership strategy to turn recall customers into sales leads. That means there isn’t just opportunity to begin a mid-ownership relationship with a customer, but start the whole cycle over again. 

During recall visits, it’s a great idea to post a salesperson in the service drive or customer lounge to interact with recall customers. Provide an incentive to change cars, and spiff your dealer staff for making referrals to the sales department.  

Recalls can be tricky to navigate when customers are wary, upset, and have lost some trust in their cars and the carmaker. Be understanding and don’t make excuses. 

There will be big recalls in 2018 and beyond. Capitalize on them instead of just tolerating them.