A little love for the techs: Inside Suzuki's national service department promotion

Publish Date: 
Mar 26, 2013

BREA, Calif. - As part of its 50 year anniversary celebration, Suzuki has launched a nationally coordinated program to generate additional business for a dealer's service department.

The 50th Anniversary Service Celebration, running throughout March and April, is designed to generate additional traffic and improve customers' relationships with their local Suzuki dealers. Participating dealerships create their own nine-day, weekend-to-weekend event to attract customers with free maintenance inspections, servicing discounts, a Hayabusa giveaway sweepstakes and a number of discounts on parts and accessories.

Each incentive ties in with the next one so that customers are encouraged to make repeat visits to their local Suzuki authorized service department. Mandatory for dealers participating in the program are maintenance inspections, which include multipoint walk-arounds to educate customers on work their vehicles may require. From there, customers are offered discounted basic oil changes, along with any other repairs that may have been noted in the inspections. Oil change discounts are directly reimbursed by Suzuki, making it an easier 'sell' for dealers.

Each time a customer approves a repair order, he or she is entered into a national sweepstakes with a grand prize of a new Hayabusa, as well as a variety of other goodies, including Suzuki-licensed accessories and Garmin GPS units.

Suzuki dealers also have access to an array of discounts on maintenance parts and accessories to pass on to customers to help close additional sales during the promotion event.

A second sweepstakes is being held for the dealers' service teams. As in the retail sweepstakes, repair orders generated during the promotion are entries; each qualifying RO a service staff member enters makes him or her eligible to win a price from a separate pool of rewards; these prizes include iPads, Kindle Fire tablets and even cold, hard cash (on a VISA gift card).

Supporting this program is a full range of digital point-of-purchase materials, including a physical POP kit, national advertising, and multiple social media tie-ins courtesy of the OEM. Each POP kit includes an event manual to assist dealers in planning their promotions. 

This promotion breaks the mold for Suzuki. “In the past, there’s been a few scattered dealer programs, but nothing on a national basis,” said Jim Kirkland, director of service for the OEM. “This is an attempt to drive a lot of floor traffic into the dealerships, help promote the purchase of service labor, sell more parts and get people into the dealerships to see the new models, see the accessories, and hopefully have some fun.”

Dealerships that host events have done much better than others, giving customers reasons to ride and come back to the dealership, he noted. “At the same time that we were deciding that events might help our business, our factory had started doing some of these events in Europe,” he added. “They have had good turnouts and pretty good successes with their events.”

Although just halfway through the two-month promotion, Kirkland believes the events will create the expected results. “The majority of dealers have planned some great activities," he said. "They’ve also [stocked up] to make sure they have what they need for the job while the customer is there without having to reschedule. We had hoped that in the first year, one third of our dealers would step up. We’ve met that goal and gone further.”