CQM Online

After working in fleet maintenance shops for 15 or 20 years, you understand just how important a good preventive maintenance program is. We wondered if some of the same principles could be applied in the retail market, so we talked with service department managers at several local dealerships, and learned that many had never thought of preventive vehicle maintenance (PVM) as a business line. Most of them kept busy with warranty service, state inspections, and repairs.

At the same time, many of them noted that the "discounters" (quick lube stores, department store auto centers, and specialized tire, muffler and brake shops) were capturing bigger shares of the overall market by leading with low-cost oil changes or specials on tires and brakes.

Whether they knew it or not, their emphasis was on periodic maintenance: send the customer a post card every 3 months or so, announce an economical oil change, and take it from there.

This sounded like the foundation of a pretty good PVM program. So, we designed CQM (for Continuous Quality Maintenance) to help dealerships stay connected with their customers through a relationship built on sound PVM principles.

The original program was paper-based and worked like this:

  • Our customers sent us an enrollment form for each vehicle in the program
  • We produced customized maintenance books, tailored to each specific vehicle and driving pattern
  • We produced "telereminder" reports each week and sent them to the dealers
  • The dealers contacted their customers and scheduled appointments
  • The service departments did the work and sent vouchers to us with the date and mileage when the work was done
  • We updated our system so that we could accurately reproject when the next services were due
Get the picture? We did this for several years, before enrolling independent service centers in the program. That's when we learned how diverse the business can be. A new car dealership might have 5 or 6 basic PVM schedules to manage. An independent service center may have literally thousands. Dealerships have service writers and office administrators to share the workload. But, in many independent service centers the owner is the service writer, chief technician and bookkeeper.

We had to streamline the program to make it more workable, and we chose the Internet as the way to do it. We eliminated almost all of the paper (we still send a customized maintenance book and welcoming letter to each vehicle owner) and we created a "rule base" for generating maintenance schedules.

Now, our customers go to a web site to enroll their customers' vehicles, forecast all upcoming maintenance events, manage the contact with their customers, report completion of each service, and request customization if our maintenance rules don't meet their needs.

With CQM Online, our customers have a complete PVM management system that provides an objective framework for building a maintenance-based business and enhancing the relationship between them and their customers.

CQM Online Elements
Here's what your customers get when you enroll them in CQM Online:

CQM Book - prepared by FTI whenever you submit an online enrollment request. Each CQM Book consists of:

  • Laminated Cover - a durable, color cover with a window that exposes the mileage interval for the next upcoming service.
  • Intro Page - your personalized greeting to the customer.
  • Visit Pages - a page for each maintenance visit with the mileage interval, a list of the service items you will perform, and a promotional message.
  • Coupon Pages - full-page coupons or promotional messages at the back of the book. Use these to promote other services you may offer such as towing, used car sales, over-the-counter part sales, etc.

Introductory Letter - sent with each CQM Book by FTI on your behalf to welcome each vehicle owner into the program and reinforce its benefits. We print the letter on your stationery, with your personalized message and signature and send it in a special CQM envelope that features your logo and return address.

Complete Marketing Tool
CQM Online is more than a maintenance book - it's a complete marketing tool that puts your name and unique capabilities in front of your best customers. All letters, envelopes, and correspondence use your graphics and messages to promote your services. You can even include co-op advertising by manufacturers or vendors, if qualified.

Using CQM Online, you can teach your customers about PVM and its benefits. You can help them lower their total cost of ownership and increase the reliability and resale value of their vehicles.

The major benefits to you are improved customer relations, more repeat business, and less dependence on high-stress breakdown work.