Reduce Defection Rates When F&I Sets the First Service Appointment

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Almost three-quarters of new car customers disappear from the service drive by the time their warranty is over. 

They’ve defected; gone somewhere else for their maintenance and repairs. And while that’s alarming, it’s not the first concern that needs to be addressed. 

There’s another statistic that’s hard to pin down. It’s the customer defection rate within 12 months.

Some say it’s 30 percent, others say over 50 percent. It begs the question: how many customers visit the dealership’s service department even once after they buy a vehicle?

Dealerships can contact their DMS to find out true numbers but be prepared for a shock. There’s a good chance a full third of sales customers never return once they’ve taken delivery of their car. When sales margins are tighter than ever and so much emphasis is put on fixed operations carrying the load, converting sales customers to service clients is vital. 

An Unlikely Answer


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When a customer takes delivery of their vehicle, do they have their first maintenance appointment already set? If not, that’s a great place to start. And who best to get the appointment set than a team member who’s already built trust – the F&I advisor! 

It makes sense. After advising the car buyer on how best to take care of their vehicle, the F&I advisor can walk the customer over to the service department and set their first service appointment with them. There’s no clunky handoff to a delivery coordinator.

It’s easy to do, especially if there are F&I products involved. First, do a service walk to acquaint the buyer to the store. Then, introduce the customer to a service advisor.

Set the appointment for protection package items, then the first service appointment.

It isn’t just another box to check on a delivery sheet. Setting the first appointment has a huge impact on whether the customer is lifelong or a one-and-done buyer.