Pre-Paid Maintenance Plans and the Stage 5 Clinger

With the rise of the Internet, the rapid increase of the mobile revolution, even showrooming, and dealers, aftermarkets and independents all vying for the attention of the same consumers, it’s safe to say that your customers just aren’t as easy as before. And with that, cue the “stage 5 clinger.”

Inspired by the comedy, Wedding Crashers, a “stage 5 clinger” is typically a person who is attached, slightly obsessive and just won’t disappear at the end of a relationship. Now does that sound like the kind of customer your store could use?

Recent DMEautomotive research shares that pre-paid maintenance plans keep your consumers sticking around even after the expiration of their plan. Nearly 3 in 5 consumers reported they are likely to continue servicing at the dealership after their pre-paid plan expires – compared to average dealer post warranty retention rates of 22% – 40% (depending on vehicle make and age). The bottom line is that increasing your sales of pre-paid maintenance programs has the potential to double your service retention and therefore your service profits.

Once you cement that bond with the consumer, by implementing a pre-paid maintenance plan, it’s important to keep working at the relationship. While the majority (69%) report using their plan for “all” scheduled maintenance, a surprising 25% have only used it for “some” of their covered services. So even though a free or paid-for plan is in place, your customer is choosing to service somewhere else.

Winning the heart of your customer in the beginning can turn your connection in to a long-term commitment.  The key is getting the consumer to cling. How much your consumer uses their plan, and whether they exclusively service with your dealer, correlates with a significantly higher likelihood to continue service with you post-plan. For instance, 62% of those that use plans for “all” service are likely to stick with your store. And nearly two times the consumers in that group report they’re very likely (30%) to return to you – but those that only have “some” maintenance performed under the plan are 13% less likely to return.







Overall, 56% of those with a maintenance plan report they’re likely to keep servicing at your store when the plan expires (with only 1 in 5 claiming they’re unlikely to). So there you have it. If you’ve been searching for this long-term customer relationship, implement a maintenance plan, and keep your consumers clinging– Stage 5 Clinging.


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