At the Door: Auto Recall Teams Help Manufacturers Close Completion Gaps and Save Lives

It’s not often that a managed sales organization like MarketSource gets to help save lives, but that’s just what our auto recall teams do every day.    

Automotive OEMs count on our experience, expertise, and tech enablement to help them find customer vehicles with open recalls, especially the most challenging vehicle owners who have not responded to other outreach attempts. Our field teams locate customers, complete repairs, capture data, close repairs, and deliver comprehensive reporting. 

That’s what we do on paper. The intangible value of our team’s work is they complete or coordinate free, life-saving repairs at the owner’s convenience who might not otherwise make time for them. Elmore Jones knows about this firsthand. In his case, our team got there just in time. Watch Elmore’s story.  

More Than Just Representatives 

It’s impossible to anticipate each owner’s mood at the time of outreach, let alone their perception of recalls, why they haven’t responded to the notices, or their willingness to trust the team to interfere with or repair their car. That’s why recall canvassers serve as both advocates and advisors who must be prepared for anything and have the patience to give owners every opportunity to allow life-saving repairs. The team relies on a proven blend of people, processes, and technology to meet owners where they are and collaborate with them to return their vehicles to a safer state.   

To earn customers’ trust and prompt them to take action under these conditions requires canvassers with strong character, persistence, an ability to pivot their approach to whatever conditions they encounter, and a strong passion and concern for the customers’ safety.  

They must be skilled at:  

1) Locating owners with recalls that manufacturers have been unable to reach
2) Connecting and building trust with owners as people first and car owners second
3) Educating owners about the risks their outstanding recall presents
4) Problem-solving to help owners overcome objections/obstacles to making the repairs
5) Fixing them on the spot or coordinating a repair at the owner’s convenience   

The most successful canvassers see their role as more than just a job with a quota. They have a strong desire to save lives. Every new member rides along with and observes multiple, seasoned canvassers as they follow their trusted processes. From there, they craft their own pitch that they can speak with conviction and that they can reproduce for great success, door-to-door.  

“It’s true this is a door-to-door sales job,” says MarketSource region manager Andy Franzen, “but what we’re selling is a free, life-saving experience.” 

Delivering Results 

Representatives use territory mapping technology to identify areas to canvass. They then go door-to-door, approach car owners, and help them schedule repairs at the dealership. In some cases, our teams are certified to do repairs on-site. So, if the owner allows it, those teams perform the recall repair on the spot while the customer waits. The team may even find and address multiple safety recalls for a vehicle. They can also check for any service recalls that exist on the owner’s other vehicles. 

The team also educates owners about why their recall matters and how completing it can protect them and their families. For example, in the highly publicized Takata airbag recall, the airbags weren’t the source of the risk. Rather, the inflators behind the airbag were causing the airbag to implode. Takata had cornered the market, so nearly every vehicle by nearly every OEM contained them, creating a widespread, potentially catastrophic problem for almost all manufacturers and millions of car owners.   

ln most cases, vehicle recalls result in fewer than 80% of completions. As of December 2022, Takata airbag malfunctions have caused 19 deaths and 400 injuries. Given the risk of the airbag malfunctioning, the typical completion rate was unacceptable to our clients. 

Making Protection Tangible 

The recall team makes protection tangible. Owners can’t see, touch, or feel the needed repair or the risk they perpetuate by not tackling the repair, but they see the recall notices they get in the mail every week, and they see when the notices stop piling up and recognize the time and money they save when the recall team completes their repair.  

We know how many airbags we’ve replaced and how many customers we’ve sent to dealerships to have them replaced, but we don’t know how many of those resulted in lives saved. Saving one makes our work worthwhile. 




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We can help you save lives and close the gap on your recall completions.

Author: Peter Maxwell

Author: Peter Maxwell

Peter is Vice President, Commercial Automotive Client Services for MarketSource. Broadly experienced and deeply knowledgeable in automobile dealership development and consulting, Pete has a keen understanding of how the right people, processes, and technology combine to drive positive results for automobile dealers, OEMs, and related businesses. His can-do attitude is infectious, and clients admire him for his ability to motivate, coach, and mentor people to success.

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