With the ongoing (and often heated) car servicing debate still a hot topic it appears that many rental companies are shunning the main dealer service depts. and using their own in house facilities to save money. Perhaps more tellingly this is not having a dramatic effect on the resale values as ex-daily rental cars make up a significant percentage of late plate used cars in this country.
If consumers are happy with buying cars which have been ‘self serviced’ then there is an argument for the same consumers using non-franchised service centres themselves, without much of a penalty when it comes to the re-sale value of their car. As long as the work is carried out properly and is documented then that should all be fine.
Really, if you think about it, like in many industries and retail establishments there are 2 or 3 tiers of service which customers choose from based on their individual preference and of course financial circumstances.
For example in Tesco or Sainsbury you have “value” and “basics” range at the budget end and the top of the range “finest” or “taste the difference” and standard products in between providing 3 levels of produce from which consumers can select based on whether they want to treat themselves or whether they are on a tight budget. In other words there is a selection of products of varying quality at price levels to suit all budgets.
Similarly in the airline industry you can pay for a flight and nothing else (“no frills”) and get to your destination very cheaply and it may not be the most comfortable or pleasurable of experiences but it will be cheap. Alternatively you can pay a little more and have a meal and drinks and a bit more legroom included all the way up to a 6 foot bed and your own cabin. So you are offered basic, “Premium Economy”, Business and First Class different cost levels for different services.
This begs the question that if main dealers are coming to recognise that they are losing business to independents predominantly over price why not introduce a 3 tier system based on a menu pricing scheme? A simple service with no courtesy car, no collection or delivery just a drop off and collect with no valet, no gourmet coffee but at a very competitive price, up to the “full Monty” of fuelled courtesy car on standby or car collected from your home, fully serviced, washer bottles and levels all checked, full inspection then valet and delivered back for a premium price. Customers can then make up their mind what level they require, they get that all important franchise stamp in their service books and they also receive a real choice about where they have their cars maintained, and dealers get a large share of customers based on being more competitive and, as a result, more profitable.
The modern service industry is all about choice so maybe franchised dealer service centres should offer exactly that in order to retain those migrating car owners.