How to Improve Automotive Service Departments and Drive More Revenue
A great customer experience is everything.
Creating brand loyalty in today's computerized world requires excellence and speed at every step of the automotive customer lifecycle, from first contact to repurchasing. If your dealership can't keep pace, we can guide you through a digital transformation to streamline your operations.
We provide a comprehensive and tailored solutions suite that converts manual tasks and face-to-face interactions to the digital applications you need to create a fantastic customer journey.
Car owners are holding on to their vehicles longer than ever before, meaning that a dealership’s Service Department should become an increasingly significant revenue generator.
However, boosting fixed ops profitability in an ever-changing, fast-paced industry requires a mix of digital solutions and innovative incentives to retain customers. As such, dealers must rethink how to improve automotive Service Departments to find the best combination for their target customer base.
How to Improve Automotive Service Departments
Dealers should consider the following strategies for boosting Service Department revenue:
Act Before the Warranty Expires
Service defection affects every dealership, and customers typically leave between the time of purchase and the first service appointment or when the manufacturer’s or extended warranties expire.
There are various methods for preventing defection in your Service Department, including:
- Using the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to send out targeted service emails
- Scheduling the initial service appointment as part of the F&I procedure
- Providing maintenance and repair specials for vehicles no longer under warranty
- Placing customers in new cars with a similar model and monthly payment schedule before the contract expires.
Create Content That Drives Awareness
Consumers might assume that dealership services are more expensive than those provided by independent businesses without adding enough value to warrant the higher costs.
Dealers can address these misconceptions via online content emphasizing competitive pricing and higher service quality.
Examples include (but are not limited to):
- Sharing articles on social media that outline maintenance tips and news and updates from the Service Department, including exclusive offers
- Making initial service pricing transparent on social media platforms and the dealership website
- Promoting the experience and skill levels of mechanics on staff
Effectively communicating the ability to meet or exceed customer expectations goes a long way toward creating loyal customers, which means repeat business, higher pay per RO, and higher profitability.
Use the Right Digital Tools
Dealers might consider implementing OEM-tailored inspection tools that:
- Allow customers to schedule vehicle pickups and drop-offs
- Deliver emailed and texted service reminders, including appointment times and repair information
- Provide dealerships with mobile tablets for confirming service or repairs and recording additional requests
- Keep customers up to date on vehicle status
- Allow for digital signatures and online service payments
Offer Auto Repair Financing
Not every service appointment goes smoothly and according to plan, and unexpected developments can occur.
The service team, for example, may discover new issues that require care when performing the scheduled repairs. These unanticipated costs can not only be inconvenient and aggravating for customers but ones for which they struggle to afford.
To make these added services more cost-friendly (and encourage those customers to return for these services), dealers might consider offering financing options.
Design a Data-Driven Sales Strategy
To take full advantage of service drive opportunities, dealers should implement a data-driven sales strategy that scales with the changing needs of their dealership.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, dealers should consider all the following when looking to improve Service Department profitability:
- The minimum staff required to support service sales
- The number of monthly service drive ROs completed
- The marketing ROI goal for service acquisition
- The year-over-year sales targets for dealer and brand loyalty
- The dealership’s current market share
The Right Inspection Tools are Vital
These strategies can help you communicate to customers that your fixed operations can compete with independent businesses in both quality and price. In doing so, you should enjoy an increase in service lane traffic.
However, getting customers to the dealership is only half the battle. You still need to understand how to improve automotive Service Departments to follow through on your promise to provide excellent service. You can keep that promise by using inspection technologies that create a modern, digitized service lane experience that fulfills customer expectations.
Contact us today and discover how Affinitiv’s MPI can help your dealership improve customer satisfaction with streamlined, digital inspections that boost efficiency and drive more upsells.
All | May 02, 2023