The Legends program has shown year-over-year growth, Kane says. But marketing the program isn’t done the traditional way, with radio, TV or newspaper ads. Instead of relying on that scattergun approach, Kane has been focusing on reaching specific customers through emails to grow the Legends repair program.
“As vehicles have gotten older, it’s becoming bigger and bigger,” Kane said of the program. “We track the age and mileage of vehicles every month that come into our service department.”
The emails go to customers who bought vehicles new that now qualify for Legends, as well as customers who bought used cars that are out of warranty.
The message to the customer, Kane says is: “Through your loyalty, you own a legend and we want to reward you for it.” That reward is not just the 10 percent off parts and labor, but reduced costs for diagnostics.
“You will find 90 percent of dealerships across the country will quote you somewhere north of $125 to $150 an hour to tell you what is wrong with the car,” Kane said.
Those costs can drive customers of older cars straight to independent garages, he believes, because it gives the impression that the repair will be more than they want to spend.
“We use a diagnostic menu to search for the perfect price where it is attractive to the customer. For air conditioning and brakes, we don’t charge any diagnostic fee. If it is some other items, like an oil leak or an electrical issue, the diagnostic fee is usually $29, and almost always under $40. That’s what the aftermarket is doing. That’s one of the ways we get those cars in,” he said.
If Universal gets the repair job, the diagnostic fee is applied toward the final bill.
A key to the program has been training service writers to ask questions of potential Legends customers when they arrive in the service drive to recommend the repair that makes the most sense.