Car count is a key performance indicator (KPI) showing you the health of your business. But before we blame low car counts for the reason why we are not achieving our sales goals, we need to take the time to look at all the numbers; analyzing labor and part margins, average repair order (ARO) production issues, other critical KPI’s, customer retention and workflow processes. Only after a thorough analysis can we begin to work on the issue of car counts.
This is not to suggest that a shrinking car count is not a problem. Many shops are experiencing declining car counts for a number of reasons: increased competition from dealers and mass merchandisers, improved car quality, decreased factory scheduled maintenances, decreasing vehicle visits, and other of factors.
The key thing is to track all key numbers and vehicle visits per year, per customer. If you see your car count trending down and you are not meeting your sales objectives, and all other KPIs are in line, then you need to address this issue.
But, are you really losing customers? You may find that that customer visits per year is the problem. With increasing scheduled oil services and the perception that cars don’t need maintenance, this is a big problem. And it may be the problem for a declining car count.
A more proactive approach, selling preventive maintenance and other services will help. In addition, bump up your marketing efforts, especially with you existing customer base. And lastly, make sure you stand out by providing world class customer service.