Recently, for an article in AM Online, we asked our very own Performance Director, his views on how to get the most out of aftersales department opportunities, that for a lot of retailers, are currently not being fully exploited.

You can read what Steve had to say about the world of aftersales and how there are some surprising parallels with his time playing Rugby for England and the Lions below…

Let us do the hard work today, so you avoid the hard knocks tomorrow!

Ex-England and British and Irish Lions second row, Steve Bainbridge, (Direct Affinity Europe’s Performance Director) has also had a long career in automotive retail and notes there are some surprising parallels between international rugby and
the somewhat tougher world of the aftersales arena!

In all of his 18 caps for England, Steve Bainbridge (pictured) was always in the thick of it…

“I’m often asked about my memories of a particular game or passage of play and the response I give always comes as a surprise: I don’t remember!
That will sound strange but the honest truth is that when you’re playing against the best players in the world, you’re just focused on the here and now. You’re not thinking about the bigger picture”.
So, what does this have to do with keeping the lights on in the work- shop, as the cost of liv- ing crisis starts to bite?
“It’s those repetitive drills and hard yards put in at the training ground that really bear fruit on the pitch during those high-pressure moments.”
That’s the situation we’re facing now.
“There’s a crunch coming, but it’s a slow-motion train crash. It’s inevitable but we’re not at the point of impact yet. My rugby career tells me that if you can do the work up front, it will help lessen the hit that’s coming down the tracks.”

So, what can be done now in mitigation? Aftersales work is always a distress purchase and we all delay it if we can. “That can wait until its next MOT” or “They’re not worn out yet”.
This is the catch with AMBER WORK – Rich in opportunity but it’s opportunity that often goes begging.

As Steve identifies: “Across the board, we see that red work, irrespective of brand, converts to sale at 50 – 55%, while like, for like, amber work converts at just 5-10%.
It’s crazy – we do all the costly, hard work up front with the VHC, identifying tyres at 3mm, or pads 3/4s worn, but it’s not turning into recurring workshop revenue in the months ahead. The elephant in the room is resource: Service reception and associated booking teams are just too busy dealing with every other issue that ends up hitting them; from End of Warranty to Recall. There’s always too much that they need to react to now, that impacts on what could be done proactively. If you don’t have a process of “Re-engage, Remind and Re-book”, customers are ending up going else where when their job becomes RED WORK”.

In short that’s where Direct Affinity Europe comes in with our Aftersales Plus Programme.

We turn today’s Amber work into tomorrow’s Red work, delivering incremental retail labour sales through increased conversion. Every Amber opportunity, that is not converted at the time of identification, is placed into a sophisticated “Right Person, Right message, Right time” contact programme designed to re-appoint the customer at a time that works for them, (and the business). We automate the process thus taking the onus and responsibility away from the service advisor, freeing them up to do what they do best: Keeping your customers happy.

We’ve got the team and technology that allows us to focus strategically on keeping clients’ service bays full in the coming months, so knee-jerk tactical actions, that destroy profitability can be avoided, or at the very least, dialled back.

It’s just like rugby really. Get the strategy right and the tactics become secondary!