Five secrets to making VHCs successful

  29 May 2019

Health checks are a valuable tool for communicating with your customers. Not only does it offer the opportunity to identify work that needs doing, it allows you to display an element of openness that will help build the customer’s trust in your judgement.

These five tips will ensure you are making the vehicle health check work for you.

  • 1. Sell to the staff

In a challenging economic climate, with improved vehicle reliability, increased service intervals and customers that are looking for low cost rather than loyalty, it is imperative that dealerships capitalise on every customer contact point.

A health check might take a technician a couple of extra minutes when a vehicle is brought in for routine work, but it could result in the dealership selling several additional hours’ worth of labour time. The  Ensure the team sees the relationship between the time they invest and the return in terms of extra work.

  • 2. Incentivise

To push home the importance of carrying out health checks, some retailers have had notable success with offering an incentive system to their technicians. Try offering a bonus or prize system to employees to ensure they carry out a minimum percentage of health checks over a set period.

  • 3. Follow the amber work

Work that is classified as ‘red’ or high priority might be an immediate and pressing sell to the customer, but don’t forget the amber work. Set alerts to ensure that the team follows up on anything that has been identified to ensure the customer recognises that you have their safety and interests at heart.

  • 4. Help the customer to contact you

By giving your customers an appointment card like you get at the dentists when you hand their car back you will convert more amber work and more people will show up for their appointment. Some retailers have also created a set of appointment cards with a magnet on the back, so customers can put it on their fridge to remind themselves that they’ve got two tyres to be replaced on, say, 23 November. Then when you call them in three months’ time, you are calling about the booking they already have a note of, not to make a new one.

  • 5. Image is everything

The kit needed for a video health check is minimal – a phone, a torch and a pointer are often enough – but it’s important not to forget the preparation. A video allows a customer an insight into your servicing bay, so make sure that tools are tidied away, technicians are in the correct branded clothing and that the workshop presents your business in the best possible light.


Saving the customer’s time

With amber and red identification work being an integral part of any dealer’s service department’s revenue stream, one could argue that the recommendation of additional service and maintenance requirements to be carried out as a result of such vehicle health checks can often put the customer under undue pressure to commit.

The prospect of further unplanned vehicle maintenance costs in additional to previously quoted work may well exceed the customer’s initial budget expectations, as well as opinion of value for money.

However by putting a positive spin on this, such a practice can be advantageous for both parties.  Time and convenience are essential to any customer’s requirements. Carrying out additional work on the same visit not only means that the customer doesn’t have to return for a second visit, but also labour and ramp utilisation efficiency can be increased.

In this respect, 1L oil packs offered at point of sale provide the customer with the convenience of simple oil top ups in between routine servicing, without the need for more frequent visits.

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