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3 Ways to Keep Automotive Service Customers Coming Back: Even the Silent Ones

Aimi Gundersen

Aimi Gundersen

10 Aug, 2022
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Automotive service is an interesting business. It's a service industry first and foremost, so your customers trust you with their vehicles—and their money. It’s also an industry that requires expertise and education to perform the work properly. As an automotive service professional, you have to be able to balance all of these things: trustworthiness, familiarity, and technical skill. Throw into the mix a little sales and customer engagement, and one can see the true importance of a well-trained and managed service lane.

When a customer comes into your shop for an oil change or other maintenance issues, it's important that they feel comfortable leaving their vehicle in your hands for the next few hours (or even days). They need to feel confident that you have their best interest at heart- and that all starts with the first conversations you have with the customer.

But how can we make sure that our customers want to come back? How do we get them engaged with us? How can we get them talking about us with friends and family members? And most importantly: how do we build loyalty among these potential customers through engagement strategies that will keep them coming back time after time?

Let's look at some ways in which this can happen now…

You know the value of developing customer relationships.

Whether you are a Fixed Ops Director, Service Manager, Service Director, Advisor, or Tech, you know the value of developing customer relationships. You see the benefits of how staying in touch with your customers can build loyalty and allow you to retain them as repeat customers.

So why should you care about dormant automotive service customers? Because they are exactly what they sound like: people who have been through your doors and had a positive experience with your business at some point in their lives. They may not be actively engaging with you now, but it's important to keep them in mind and keep tabs on them so that when their car needs servicing again or if something else happens in their lives where they need another vehicle, they'll remember who helped them out before.

And, you also know that customer loyalty is the name of the game.

Now, let's talk about how to best engage with dormant automotive service customers. If you're like me, you probably know that customer loyalty is the name of the game. And while it's true that they are more likely to return to your shop and buy high-margin services from you, they also help expand your brand awareness by recommending you to others. That's right: loyal customers refer other people who may be in need of repairs or maintenance on their vehicles.

So how do we get them back?

Here are a few ways to re-engage with these customers:

  • Create a call campaign for your service BDC. Reach out to these customers with a specific offer and useful information
  • Send an email or direct mail piece that includes the same offer, When possible, have a wet signature so the customer feels valued
  • Follow up with targeted social media ads sent specifically to the customer. These should all have the same look, feel, and messaging

With a little effort and some smart follow-up, you can help get those dormant automotive service customers back into your dealership.

One of the most important steps in engaging these customers is to identify them. Pull lists from your DMS. Print out the OEM lists that they review with you every month. You simply need to know who is still around, and why they aren’t coming in for service.

Once you have identified your dormant automotive service customers, the second step will be to find out why they have stayed away. Is it price? Is it perceived value? Is it a lack of information on their part? 

Once you know why this person hasn’t been back into your shop recently, then it becomes easier to figure out how we can get him or her back in our door again with a smile on their face.

This last step isn’t necessarily about getting them back into our shops; instead, it’s about making sure that when he returns again for service work, this person will remember us fondly. 

  • Send updates with videos or pictures of their vehicle while you are working on it
  • Let the customer know what does NOT need to be done as well as the critical areas that need to be addressed
  • Follow up the next day with a call or text ensuring they are satisfied with their service


You work hard to keep your customers happy, but we also know that not all of our customers are always loyal. They may be new to the area and looking for a new shop, or they may have moved away. Regardless, if you want to keep growing your business while keeping good relationships with customers who aren't currently active, then it's time to start engaging with dormant automotive service customers!