Best PracticesOct 16th, 2012

Behold! A Way to Turn Warranty Expirations Into Service Gold


I’m certainly not a poet, as demonstrated by my effort at headline writing here…Nevertheless, the poetry of turning warranty expirations into service gold and customer-goodwill are the revenue, retention, and remarketing results you will see.

Your customer database contains specific mileage and date information that will tell you precisely when a customer’s vehicle warranty is about to expire. You want to help the customer maximize their warranty’s value while it’s in effect, and at the same time create opportunities to generate additional customer-pay revenue.

Take a look at your customer database. Analyze it to isolate those customers whose vehicle warranty is soon to expire. Within 30 days of that date, reach out to those customers individually, either by phone or direct mail, and offer them the opportunity to maximize the remaining value in their factory warranty by having any pending warranty-related repairs and services done now.

Let’s study this potential:

Revenue generation via exceptional customer care

However you describe this service, your goal is to entice those customers having soon-to-expire vehicle warranties into your service department. Offer a comprehensive vehicle inspection and perhaps include a complimentary oil change for their time and potential inconvenience.

Once in your shop, inspect every vehicle thoroughly

This inspection helps your dealership find any components on the vehicle that are still covered by warranty, and that will likely need service or replacement soon. Your exceptional customer care will help customers to resolve any issues while their vehicle is still under the warranty.

Revenue from customer-pay services

This warranty inspection will likely reveal other optional repair or service needs not covered. This is the time to present these recommendations as money and time savers. You save your customers’ time because their vehicle is already in the shop; you save them money, because the price you offer is competitive. You’re also catching issues before they can become more serious and more costly to repair.

Retention via exceptional customer care

Any time you go out of your way to save your customers’ time and money, they remember you. As we’ve seen, a warranty expiration service saves customers both. You’ve done them a favor—your efforts will hopefully retain their business or lure them back. You can bet too, they’ll remark to friends and family the great service you offered to them.

Retention via inclusive invitation

While customers are in the shop having this work performed, use that time to ask what other vehicles might be in the family. Inform them you have the right parts, tools, and prices to service those vehicles too. Ask them directly for this business. When they say “yes,” that agreement means revenue for you, a customer more engaged with your service department, and another example of how you saved them time.

Service retention

By retaining customers in service, you strengthen the bond to your dealership. As they roam the showroom, there are often opportunities for conversation, explanation, and perhaps, a demonstration. Without your service invitation, you may never have had such a chance to reconnect with your customer.

Remarketing via trade invitation

You know the mileage of these vehicles and you know they’ve been well cared for; you are partially responsible for this and your service records confirm it. These vehicles will make excellent pre-owned inventory for your lot. Many of these owners will be receptive to an invitation to trade up to a new or like-new model. In turn, you sell another unit; you have retained your valuable customer; and you take in a desirable vehicle with a wonderful story to share with a future prospective customer—a vehicle purchased, serviced, and returned at your dealership.

Mining customer data for unique opportunities to service customers and create revenue is never out of style, and is always poetic. Isn’t the sound of money music to your ears?

Boyd Warner is CEO of AutoAlert®, Inc. (, the most advanced lead-generation solution available on the market today. Contact him at [email protected].

Authored by

Steven Couture

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