Dealers: “Brake” from Reactive Thinking to Earn Big Service Bucks

What stands between your dealership and tens of thousands in potential revenue every year? Brakes.

Brakes are one of the top three “customer pay” revenue contributors to your fixed operations department—along with batteries and tires—that represent billions of dollars in consumer spend annually. But, because brakes are such a big-ticket item, convincing a customer to choose a dealership to do their brake work can be a huge challenge. In fact, 36.1% of dealer customers surveyed said they wouldn’t even consider a dealership for brake service. That translates into a big loss in potential revenue for you.

Let’s use customer feedback to bring big bucks back to your dealership.

According to a recent DMEautomotive survey of nearly 2,000 automotive customers, 37% make their decision about where to get brake service by competitive pricing and 36% by staff expertise. As most service providers know, competitive pricing is a tricky balance. Many customers assume that an aftermarket location offers the best price every time, then don’t give a second glance to the reasonable service pricing offered at their dealership.

That leads us to the second-highest scoring reason: staff expertise. Your factory trained service personnel are the best at what they do, so prove it! Create short topical videos of your service technicians performing a simple service like an oil change to demonstrate your world-class service processes, as well as providing advice, tips, tricks, and service insights to your customers, then post them to your dealership website and social media pages. Though this seems counter-intuitive, most customers will appreciate seeing excellence in action rather than try to use your video as a tutorial.

Neither of these first two reasons for brake service come as a big surprise, however it’s the third highest scoring reason that could open the door for increased dealership revenue and should be the one you focus on: “I have all my vehicle service completed at…” If your dealership already has a loyalty program in place, then you’re already headed in the right direction. You already have the attention of your loyal customers, who know how great your dealership can be and keep coming back for more. And, with the incentive of a loyalty program, new customers and swing-loyalists, or the 50% of your customers whose loyalty often wavers between you and the aftermarket, will be more likely to join in their number, which means even more consumer revenue for your dealership.


But to change customers’ behavior, you first must change their minds.

Dealers must shift the customer mindset from reactive to proactive. Because customers are less likely to identify brake problems on their own, your service department should continually offer to perform multi-point inspections and repair/replace brakes before they become a safety hazard. Inspections can pinpoint customers who will soon be in need of brake service and help alert them to the condition of their brakes, keeping the customer in your dealership instead of making a quick fix by running to the closest place for repairs.

And if they choose not to have the service completed that day, utilize comprehensive post-service communications. Because customers may not perceive the service as urgent, send reminders and special offers to interrupt the independent research process and get them back in your store. If your dealership uses a mobile app like Driver Connect, DMEautomotive’s dealer-branded mobile app, to keep in touch with customers, then utilize all of its communication-centered features like push notifications and messages to alert your customers of the immediate service action to be taken for safety’s sake.

In addition, getting specific and tailoring your communication approach to certain demographics can make a big difference. For instance, our study found that customers over 35 are more likely than those under 35 to get their brakes replaced at the store where they have all their services completed, and that most customers over 35 (33%) prefer to be contacted about service two weeks beforehand.

Simply by listening to your customers, facilitating proactive decisions, and keeping in touch, your dealership stands to earn massive amounts of revenue!

Mike Martinez is chief marketing officer of DMEautomotive, the industry leader in science-based, results-driven automotive marketing that provides a range of marketing services to the biggest and most innovative automotive organizations in the industry. For more information, email

Mike Martinez


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