In recent months I have taken notice of the increase in value adds and warranties from dealerships and repair chains to attract new customers and retain existing ones. It is quite clear that the competition for the “oil change” customer is heating up and dealerships and repair chains are focusing in on this customer. As one industry insider put it “The oil change is the key to opening the doors to other services”. Essentially, if you can perform an oil change consistently for the same customer it means that the relationship between the customer grows into one of trust and the likelihood of additional services increases with each subsequent visit.
With almost everyone recognizing the importance of the oil change customer and customers recognizing the importance of getting the best bang for their buck in tougher economic times, it is opening the doors to value add promotions. In recent weeks, my wife received a letter from the BMW dealership with a request to perform an oil change and an incentive of a free BMW carwash kit. The kit included a bucket, wash hit, soap and a chamois. In recent memory, I can not recall every seeing this or any other type of incentive from a dealership. As well, more and more facilities are offering a third party roadside warranty with an oil change service. The idea is simple – provide the customer with peace of mind between oil changes.
For the time being, fast lubes continue to be the faster choice but will there come a time when speed will also need to be met with an incentive comparable to what the repair chains and dealerships are offering?