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Let’s talk about predictive service maintenance tracking.

It’s one of the best-kept secrets in selling maintenance services.

In simple terms, your looking at service history to see what services were done before. Based on the miles driven per day and the service interval in time or miles you’re establishing two things.

  1. Is the service not due yet, if so when?
  2. Is the service past due, if so by how long?

This is important because it transforms the customer’s service visit experience.

95% of the industry provides the same service experience, minus a few bells and whistles.

Mrs. Smith brings her car in for an oil change and tire rotation. The shop then proceeds to do an inspection of the vehicle. Then they tell Mrs. Smith that there’s $100, $300, $700, or even over a $1000 worth of work that needs to be done.

Sure, the shop is doing its job trying to make sure the vehicle is safe. Unfortunately, the customer feels it’s a fishing expedition for work that it can sell.

We want to transform that experience so the customer doesn’t feel that way about it. We do this by using predictive service maintenance tracking. Before the vehicle comes into the shop, you should know exactly what’s due and what isn’t. You can get the service history from sites like CarFax or your management system.

Pre-inspection you give a report telling them what services are due and what isn’t due.

On the ServiceIntelligence report, items in the blue are services that are not due yet. I start with these first to reassure the client that we’re not in the business of selling stuff they don’t need. We are helping them build the most affordable maintenance plan money can buy. They will squeeze every mile out of every service before it’s due.

Now we can move into the services in red. These services have been performed before and are now due again. We can show them the dates they were done last and how many miles they have driven since then. It’s hard to argue with those facts.

Again, you don’t need to use ServiceIntelligence to do this. You can create your own spreadsheets with your own tracking formulas. it’s more time consuming, but it can work.

There are a lot of benefits to presenting predictive maintenance reports before the inspection.

The main reason is it’s much easier to sell to someone when they’re in the shop in front of you. You can read their body language and see how they respond to what you’re saying over text or email. You can better counter their objections this way.

Selling pre-inspection goes against the grain of what the industry’s been doing for quite some time. This is simply because at the time technology was not good enough to predict service needs. Selling after the inspection was the best option at that time.

Shops that change their pattern and sell pre-inspection can’t believe how easy it is to get the sales upfront.

The inspection now only looks for repairs, not maintenance. This communicates to the customer that this is the point of the inspection. It’s to keep them safe if there’s an unpredictable issue.

You can explain how your goal differs from that of the dealership. The dealership wants them to come back for a new car every four years. Your goal is to make their car last seven, eight, ten years or more. They’ll have a great reliable car that they love. It will save them thousands of dollars a year in depreciation and car payments. They will have the most affordable plan to vehicle ownership

Another benefit of tracking maintenance is preparing the customer ahead of time. The customer isn’t surprised by they need a coolant flush or a transmission service. With consistent communication about services, they know when they’re coming up ahead of time. Now they can budget for planned maintenance.

Repetition of the same service experience is a must to build trust

The customer isn’t going to remember each individual service. You’re going to want to print out the report each time so that they walk away with it. Sure, they’re going to throw away the report after a couple of days. But over time, after looking at the report each time they visit, they’ll start remembering.

Studies show that when faced with unexpected surprises, customer satisfaction drops. You need a process that’s predictable with as little surprises as possible. If you can track services and tell them when they need to happen, you reduce the surprises.

Let me ask you a question. When your inspection finds issues, what percentage of those are neglected maintenance? I usually get an answer of 60% to 80%. The rest is repairs that can’t be predicted. By using predictive service management tracking, you’re reducing the shock of the inspection visit by 60% to 80%! You can’t tell me that’s not going to have a positive impact on your service experience.

I know shops that track maintenance with spreadsheets. ServiceIntelligence removes human error, laziness, and saves them an hour or two a day. Whatever you decide is right for your shop, there is no longer an excuse to not track maintenance.

Your customers want this kind of service experience and you’ll sell more because of it.