A free lifetime powertrain warranty can be a great way to build confidence in a used vehicle and make a statement about the kind of dealership you run. Unfortunately, some consumers have a hard time sticking to the details of the agreement, leading to negative reviews about these programs and/or the dealers using them. It’s important to back up the offering of a free lifetime powertrain warranty with the information the customer needs to be successful with it.
You must send a clear message that you can afford to offer such a generous benefit because you have confidence in the vehicles you stock and recondition. The credibility comes from providing all the information the consumer needs to be successful with the program and fulfill their maintenance agreement. One of those components is the Owner’s Manual. Make the proper owner’s manual available on the Vehicle Details Page (VDP). Many warranty program instructions point the customer to the owner’s manual for the vehicle’s required maintenance schedule, as in the example below.
For many stores, the biggest source of profit from the lifetime warranty is not the increase in sales but the increase in service. With some programs, the customer does not need to keep their own maintenance records if the work is done at the store where they purchased the vehicle. A well designed service tab on the website makes it easy to schedule service and find service specials. The Virtual Service Consultant from Dealer eProcess provides an avatar to guide the shopper through the scheduling process, pointing out manufacturer suggested services.
Will every customer recognize your store’s help and transparency, providing the warranty, the Owner’s Manual, and the helpful service scheduling? No. During the online experience, some will gain the full understanding and appreciation and some will not. Yet the vast majority of your shoppers are coming into the store armed with the internet in their pocket or their purse. By directing the customer to the internet, either at the desk or on a tablet computer, to show them how to work the warranty program, the salesperson and the store gain a huge boost in credibility. Yours is the store with the information the customer needs, even before they need it. Yours is the store not only providing the warranty but helping to be sure the customer knows how to take advantage of the program. Yours is the store with complete transparency online, in areas they may not have even noticed. They came into the store holstering the internet as a weapon, but you used it to show them you care. It’s a game changer.
You’ll want to follow up by introducing the customer to a service manager and explaining the benefits of having their vehicle serviced by trained experts. You may want to include reminders about the warranty program in your email marketing, at least for the first few years of ownership.
Will consumers continue to invalidate their warranties by missing dates, not providing proper notification, or getting their vehicle services elsewhere without proper documentation? Yes they will, but it won’t be because your store didn’t try to do everything possible to help the customer with your lifetime warranty strategy. The net result is more sales, more service business, and higher customer satisfaction.