LONDON, Ontario -

Did you know that your most effective used-car sales team is likely your service department?

Among used-car buyers who service at a dealership, 74% shop that dealership for their next used vehicle, and 55% buy their next used vehicle there.

Happy service customers also create great opportunities for referrals, with 72% saying that if they are happy with their service experience at a dealership, they will recommend it to their family and friends.

The challenge is getting used car customers to service their vehicle at your dealership.

It’s not uncommon for new car customers to abandon servicing at the dealership after their warranty expires, and used car customers start with even less of a connection to the dealership. What’s the good news? If the sales team tweaks their process slightly, they can increase service retention and, in turn, increase their own repeat business.

What can the sales team do to bring in more service customers?

Looking at all used-car buyers who bought from a dealership, the average service retention for the selling dealership is 31%.

However, if the sales person helping the customer through their used-car purchase takes steps to connect the customer with the service department, sales retention is as high as 48%.

(See the graphic in the photo window above for more)

More service customers lifts all profits

The sales team can help build the connection with the service department for their used-car customers.

This increased service retention will not only provide a nice boost in service revenue, but it will also help build the sales person’s long-term customer base.

It can bring previous customers, as well as their friends and family, back to buy vehicles.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to throw a few perks into your service experience to ensure the initial appointment becomes the start of a successful, ongoing relationship.

Sales and service may operate as separate business units, but they both stand to gain substantially through using the sales team to improve service retention.


Drew Harden is manager of research & insights at CARFAX Canada. Driving Insights is an information series designed to help used car dealers better understand the motives and behaviors of Canadian used car buyers. The research, designed by CARFAX Canada and executed by Dynata, is based on the most pressing questions of dealership management and staff across Canada, answered through a national survey of 1,000 Canadians who recently bought a used car from a dealership. If there’s a question you’d like us to address, email and we’ll get you some answers.