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CustomerLink PROTECT Extended Warranty for New and Used Vehicles: Competition for Your F&I Profits

March 30, 2001

Yet another challenge has appeared for F&I departments trying to increase service contract penetration and profits per unit in a time of slowing sales.

On March 30, CustomerLink Systems, Inc., which specializes in delivering customer retention and loyalty programs to the automotive service and repair industry, unveiled its latest product, CustomerLink PROTECT.

CustomerLink PROTECT is an extended vehicle warranty program for both new and used vehicles. "Through CustomerLink Systems, independent shops now have the ability to offer their customers extended warranty coverage identical to that offered by new car dealers at a fraction of the cost," a company press release reads.

If that doesn't sound like a direct challenge to your dealership's service contract penetration, profit per unit sold, service department business, and customer loyalty, you must not be paying attention.

"With CustomerLink PROTECT, everyone wins," the release says. "Consumers win because they have an A-Rated comprehensive warranty with an unlimited number of repairs, roadside assistance, rental car allowance, and nationwide coverage. Shops win because they receive a commission on each warranty sold, get paid their retail rate immediately for warranty work performed, and are able to offer added value to their customers."

According to the CustomerLink release, research shows that consumers are three times more likely to take their vehicles to the place where they purchased their warranty. "Ultimately, with CustomerLink PROTECT, shops can increase customer loyalty, car count, and profits!" This comes at the expense of dealership profits, of course.

"I participated in the CustomerLink PROTECT pilot program and sold three warranties in just a few weeks," said Greg Onasch, owner of AutoTech in Sonora, Calif. "One customer even decided to cover two cars. It was a piece of cake. All I did was put the PROTECT brochures on the counter and my customers immediately began asking about the program. I encourage all of my customers to shop around and compare before signing up. Many have told me they have been unable to find a better coverage for the price."

CustomerLink's core product offering, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System "allows service professionals to proactively communicate with their customers," the company press release maintains. "This communication significantly increases the probability that consumers will return to a specific service provider several times a year for recommended service and maintenance and assists automotive service providers in creating customer loyalty. CustomerLink PROTECT is another tool to assist shop owners in building a loyal customer base and a stronger business."

"PROTECT is an incredible program that benefits both consumers and shop owners," said Kirk Olson, founder and executive vice president of CustomerLink Systems. "We, at CustomerLink, are dedicated to developing products and services to make the lives of automotive service and repair professionals easier and their businesses more profitable."

According to Onasch, it is actually possible for shops to pay for their CustomerLink communication program using the commissions they earn from selling the CustomerLink PROTECT extended warranty. "I received a commission check and the opportunity to better serve my customers," he said. "In a few months, my commission from CustomerLink PROTECT could actually exceed what I pay for the communication program."

About CustomerLink Systems, Inc.

CustomerLink Systems, Inc. delivers customer retention and loyalty services to the automotive service and repair industry.

CustomerLink's customer relationship management (CRM) system automatically reminds the vehicle owner of future service intervals, provides coupons, surveys, or thank you letters on behalf of their service provider.

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