Of all the services performed by repair shops, battery replacement is the sixth-most common. With an average lifespan of three to five years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that vehicle owners are having this component replaced at such a rate. And it makes sense – with oil changes typically occurring once every six months, a three-year-old battery’s replacement falls neatly around the sixth service interval.
Despite the prevalence of battery replacement for service facilities, there is a huge portion of the population that experiences a failed battery, many of which haven’t been caught by their mechanic. The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), one in five roadside assistance calls is directly related to a dead or bad battery.
Testing batteries is a simple yet important service, and the data supports that it not only keeps car owners safer, but it improves your business.
Customers purchase batteries from failed decisions
When vehicle owners pull into the service drive, there’s usually a primary concern for their repair order. Whether it’s for a basic oil and filter change, a comprehensive diagnosis on a Check Engine light, or common replacement parts like brake pads, there’s a low likelihood their primary complaint is for a bad battery. However, the battery might contribute to their concern.
A battery test when they are either checking in their vehicle or during the diagnosis and repair process can lead to a decision indicating a bad battery. Midtronics case study data shows an extremely strong correlation between “Replace” test decisions and RO sales. That’s true whether it’s a specific line on the RO or the result of a test for preventative maintenance.
A “Replace” decision emphasizes an urgency to correct the problem with proven data. The customer can see the decision and make an informed decision with the understanding it’s going to help them avoid imminent issues, or at least in the not-so-distant future.
The purchase results in both parts and labor revenue, as well as helping your customer avoid an unexpected no-start.
Test count and sales are related
However, it’s not just a matter of simply testing batteries that are suspected of being faulty. Case study data demonstrates a strong positive correlation between test count and sales count. As service shops test more batteries they identify more bad batteries, and thus sell more batteries.
Additionally, testing batteries regardless of the customer’s concerns and complaints on the work order will result in a greater number of tests that pass, or indicate a “Good” battery. The minor time investment required for performing the test still has incredible value, both for the found battery sales as well as the consumer confidence in their good battery.
Value in customer retention
One metric that’s largely unknown is why a customer does not return to a shop for subsequent visits. It could be for any number of reasons including the convenience of the location, pricing, or dissatisfaction with the shop. But if a customer is satisfied with their repair shop, there’s a greater chance they will drive 20 miles or more to continue using their services.
That trust by vehicle owners is earned. What it represents when a customer chooses to go elsewhere, though, is lost revenue. According to 2021 NADA Data, the average customer pay repair order amounts of $394 each visit.. With one visit per year per vehicle, the missed revenue adds up quickly.
Consider when a battery test is done in the customer’s presence. As they see the hood opened, the test device connected, and the results generated, their perception grows that the service department is providing a value-added service. And when the service advisor reviews the results with them, regardless if the decision is “Replace battery”, “Good battery”, or a result that’s initially less conclusive, it solidifies that they’re attending a service department that cares for them and their vehicle, and they’ll continue visiting a shop they trust for future repairs.
Customer retention also delivers lifecycle value for dealerships. According to Kelley Blue Book data, “74% of consumers are likely to purchase their next vehicle from the same dealer they returned to for service”. That’s a monumental number, and it speaks to generating lifetime value rather than sales on a single repair order.
The value of battery tests can’t be understated
Although battery tests typically are performed free of charge, they provide an unbelievable return when they’re performed consistently. Along with generating battery and labor revenue, testing batteries is crucial for maintaining customer loyalty for repeat business and vehicle lifecycle value.