About the Dealership

Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is committed to providing exceptional service in a timely manner and their Technicians treat each car as if it’s their own. The Cleveland, TN dealer received the Consumer Satisfaction Award from DealerRater in 2019 as a result.

Results

Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram was an early adopter of the wiADVISOR Program, signing up in 2012. Since upgrading to wiADVISOR 3.0 in September 2018, they have gone from strong to stronger, with increases in their maintenance penetration, $ sold during Check-in, $ per RO, and more.

From the Dealership

“Now into my 3rd year as a Service Director, I have faced the challenge of ensuring multi-point inspections are completed as well as consistently getting recommendations to the customer in a timely manner. With wiADVISOR 3.0 we have become more productive on our service drive as well as in our shop.

There are a lot of good programs out there. In fact, our dealership has tried three of them in the past two years and they do not stand up to the test. Not only do they not work as they should, but the support from them is nowhere near what they have received with wiADVISOR. I commend wiADVISOR for the level of customer service that they provide. For example, when chasing our declined repairs, they helped me set up a follow-up email to every customer offering a discount on the repairs they declined That alone has given us around a 12% return visit for repairs that we would not have had, and I did not have to spend time calling up those customers or sending out flyers.

In the past, I have spent hours of wasted time chasing the repair status from techs to give to customers. If you are looking for a shop RO manger then look no further.”

“wiADVISOR is the best program we have ever used and the support is like nothing I have ever experienced.”

If you are looking to improve your shop’s efficiency and your customer retention, give them a call. They will not disappoint you.”

 Larry Dales, Service Director
Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Cleveland, TN


Experience a wiADVISOR Demo Today

Get in touch with us today to experience a live demo of the wiADVISOR Program and see first hand how it can drive results for your dealership.

Recently while traveling, I spoke with a gentleman who told me his wife no longer wanted to service with her usual dealership. Why? The service department did not have the technology to electronically send inspection results and recommendations. She has neither the time nor the desire to review them over a phone call. She decided to take her business to a dealership that sends MPI results and recommendations directly to her mobile device. This dealership understood the advantage of communicating with customers digitally and according to their preferences.

Why is a digital service drive important?

There are three main reasons:

  1. Many of today’s customers are accustomed to a digital experience with businesses they interact with.
  2. Customers don’t feel a “sales” pressure when they are able to review their inspection results on their device, on their own time, and without an Advisor waiting for an immediate answer, either on the phone or in-person.
  3. You can build trust with customers by being transparent and letting them see pictures and prices of the recommendations being made.

“Seeing is believing” and “A picture is worth a thousand words” are a couple of quotes that come to mind when we consider how powerful being able to visualize something is for customers. Human nature suggests that we believe what we see and are skeptical about what we don’t see. Giving customers the ability to see what a technician sees by sending images of their findings is essential for building trust.

Customers get additional comfort by taking their time to review and process information. By sending inspection results digitally, we give them a less intrusive method to review, research, and potentially share the details with others.

Digital MPI

The power of a digital MPI tool is also supported by its method of delivery. For many customers, texting is likely the most effective way to communicate with them. Why? Unlike emails, text messages won’t get lost in a Spam folder. According to a Dynmark report, open rates for text messages are 98%, compared to a 20-30% open rate for email. In addition, eMarketer reported that adult consumers spend an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes per day on mobile devices. For customers, a short and concise text message takes almost no time to read and comprehend. It’s also easy to use, allowing live links that open mobile webpages.

Not only are you creating more credibility by presenting inspection information to your customers, but you’re also delivering the exceptional and efficient digital experience they get on a daily basis with so many other businesses they deal with. We order tickets, pay bills, arrange rides, and even order coffee from smartphones in the palms of our hands. With digital MPI results, you give customers the ability to review, and accept or decline recommendations at their fingertips.

How do you start changing the way you interact with your customers?

Here are some simple steps to make sending inspections and recommendations digitally the “new normal” for your dealership:

  1. Educate your customers: Let customers know during the write-up that you will send their inspection results by text message, and what they can expect when it comes. Show them an actual example text. Explain the steps for what they need to complete on their end, how to approve and decline work, and what their options are if they have questions or need to communicate with the service department.
  2. Send the MPI results every time – even if the customer is on-site: Consistency is key to achieving an exceptional customer experience. Sending digital inspection results each and every time establishes a process they can expect whenever they service at your dealership. If the customer is waiting at the dealership, this is an opportunity to showcase the tool and ensure they understand how to use technology if they are off-site in the future.
  3. Follow up on sent inspections: Keep an eye out for inspections that customers have not responded to. In these cases, a phone call to check in (after a reasonable period of time) is a good idea. You can check with them to see if they received their text and give them an opportunity to ask questions. This helps with customer satisfaction and the throughput within your shop. For the customers that do respond, let them know via text that their response was received and you are proceeding with the work on their vehicle. This helps build trust with the customer and keeps your Advisor engaged with this method of communicating.

Increase Customer Pay Revenue with Digital MPI

When reviewing the analytics, one OEM has found that sending digital MPI results increases the Dollars per Customer Pay Repair Order by an average of $156 compared to a standard MPI process. In addition, there is a 10% increase in services approved when inspection results and recommendations are sent digitally. Having a higher approval rate on recommended work allows Technicians to obtain more hours while working on fewer cars. That increases efficiency and reduces wasted time moving cars in and out of the shop. There is no reason to think that these results couldn’t be achieved for all OEMs.

As a Service Manager or Advisor, your goal is to present the inspection results and sell the hours. There is a limited number of hours to sell each day and once they are gone, you can’t get them back. To sell those hours, provide customers with clear, concise, and transparent information and do it via text – the way customers today want. 

Are you prepared to deliver the digital experience more and more customers expect?

The time to embrace a digital service department is already here. Your customers likely already want the option of reviewing and approving inspection results on their smartphone. When you consider that the wife of the gentleman I met switched to a dealership that could offer a digital service experience, are you willing to risk customer defections because you aren’t ready to adopt the technology?

By Ridge McCoy, Regional Manager, Dealer-FX


What’s Next?

The Dealer-FX Team will be at the NADA 2020 Expo in Las Vegas, February 15-17, 2020, in booth #545C to demonstrate the POWER of ONE Platform to OEMs and dealers.

THE POWER OF ONE

NADA 2020
DEALER-FX | Booth 545C
February 15-17, 2020 | Las Vegas, NV

The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is quickly approaching. It has always been the nerve center of digital innovation, but the show is quickly becoming one of the largest automotive shows in the world. Audi, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan are just some of the automakers that are exhibiting at CES this year. Here are some of the exciting topics that will be presented at CES 2020.


Connectivity: The Secret Sauce for Vehicle Automation

Automation in transportation has the potential to improve quality of life, reduce crashes and fatalities, and enhance the mobility and independence of millions. But with so many new entrants in the automated vehicle space, how do we ensure the safe introduction of the technology on our roads? Join the U.S. Department of Transportation and industry leaders as they discuss the intersection between connectivity and vehicle automation.

Partnerships Drive Innovation for Autonomous Vehicles

Designing, testing and manufacturing a new vehicle is expensive. CEOs don’t get to make many $3 billion bets. Some companies are seeking to minimize their risks by partnering with others. Hear why leading innovators are joining forces to develop autonomous vehicle solutions.

Vehicle Technology at CES

CES will put you in the center of the latest advancements in vehicle technology. See the latest and greatest on self-driving vehicles, concept cars, and connect vehicles.

Explore CES

MORE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF AUTOMOTIVE FROM CES

New Partnerships Drive the Future

As automakers prepare for the future of mobility, they are investing in and partnering with technology and mobility-focused startups. This allows them to rapidly to expand their knowledge, capability and expertise to remain relevant in an industry on the verge of massive transformation.

GM, Toyota, Hyundai, VW, Ford, and BMW have all recently partnered with startups to stay competitive in an ever-changing industry. According to Crunchbase News, the focus of these partnerships is on self-driving and electric vehicles, and ride-hailing services.

Future-Focused Automakers Partnering with Startups

DIG IN

Consumer Demand is Changing

How consumers interact with technology is impacting how manufacturers evolve their vehicles. Automakers are reimagining the interior of their vehicles to enhance the experience with larger built-in touch screens, smart features, immersive infotainment, and virtual assistants.

Kia, Audi and Honda are not only trying to meet today’s consumer demands but also endeavoring to anticipate the future needs of consumers.

New Ways to Interface with Cars

DIG IN

What’s Next?

Learn how Dealer-FX is driving the future of automotive service. Experience a LIVE DEMO of ONE Platform today.

Whether you are looking for electric cars, sports cars or something completely new, the Tokyo Motor show has it all.

This year, the theme of the Tokyo Motor Show is “OPEN FUTURE” – representing the endless possibilities that mobility will bring to the automotive industry. Here are some of the cars expected to debut at this year’s show.

2021 Toyota Mirai

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen fuel cell car looks a lot more conventional – and a lot prettier than expected.

2020 Mazda e-TPV

Mazda confirmed that it will debut their first electric vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show – the Mazda e-TPV. It features a 35.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a rotary engine included as a range extender.

Nissan IMk concept

Nissan’s group of IM-branded concept vehicles will expand once again in Tokyo with the introduction of the IMk electric concept, which was shown off before the show looking like a Nissan Cube for a new generation. It’s a tall-but-small upright concept that should offer a serious amount of interior space.

Toyota LQ Concept

The LQ is effectively a facelift of the 2017 Concept-i, an all-electric, self-driving hatchback, with cosmetic changes inside and out. More significantly, though, the technology is upgraded to reflect advancements since its first appearance, with Level 4 autonomy and a realistic new personal assistant designed to create a bond between owner and machine.

Mitsubishi MI-Tech Concept

Mitsubishi’s MI-Tech Concept will primarily serve as a preview of its next plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which swaps the traditional combustion engine for a gas turbine generator.

For more information about the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, please click here.

What’s Next?

ONE Platform fundamentally improves the customer’s experience through efficiencies in process automation and workforce enablement. It promotes transparency, drives dealership revenue and builds lasting customer relationships. Click here to experience a LIVE demo of ONE Platform.

Some customers are afraid to visit your dealership. From showroom to the service drive, they have anxiety about negotiating, the F&I process, and even the service experience.

Sound familiar? It should. Over the years, the dealership experience has been a much-covered topic. One national survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 52% of Americans feel anxious or uncomfortable when visiting a car dealership. Today, of course, it’s evolved into one of the most important issues dealers face. In fact, multiple studies claim that up to 75% of customers who visit a dealership for service within a 12-month window are likely to return to purchase their next vehicle.

Fact is, the service drive is the central “drive” of the dealership. It’s a recession-proof, consistent profit machine that also helps fill the sales pipeline. What’s more, according to a recent DealerRater/Fixed Ops Journal survey, three out of four vehicle owners “generally prefer getting maintenance and repairs for their cars and trucks at franchised dealerships.” The survey, which polled 16,000 consumers, also found that 81% of owners of luxury-brand vehicles were likely to return for dealership service.

But wait a minute. If people prefer to visit dealer service departments, how exactly are they full of fear at the idea of it?

Help Create Positive Customer Service Anticipation

For starters, it’s fair to speculate that customers are far more apprehensive going into a service appointment than when leaving. Whether it’s a simple rotation or a major interval service, they often don’t know what to expect, how much it will cost or how long it will take. The very idea of automotive service can feel disruptive. The challenge is to shift the customer perception. How does a dealer reduce consumer fear and loathing going into the dealership, and extend the happiness after the sale? This is critical because future dealership revenue streams will depend on how customers feel about going to their local dealership. Here are three simple suggestions:

Help Service Customers Feel Comfortable: Service customers usually start online, scheduling a time to bring their vehicle in for maintenance. So make sure your online scheduling is fully integrated into the service communications so that they’re welcomed by a prepared and friendly service advisor. Your advisors understand the customer profile, priorities, and objectives ahead of time, and are ready for them. You can do this by utilizing existing data, such as VIN and sales information, as well as OEM data about the vehicle. Perhaps most importantly, use digital technology, such as a tablet, to conduct a truly interactive “show and tell” walk-around.

Show Your Expertise: The survey results reflect a need for expertise. Customers simply value the dealer’s knowledge over price discounts from independent shops. Invest in the appropriate certification training classes and renew testing on a consistent basis. Then showcase all that well-earned knowledge in a friendly and consultative way during the inspection. This perspective – this expertise – is why people come to your service drive. Best of all, it’s a win-win: the customer feels empowered by your knowledge and knows that it’s good service advice. The service departments get higher ROs and builds better loyalty.

A Transparent Relationship Always Reduces Apprehension: Each customer touchpoint you have builds data, and provides valuable information about what they want and how to best serve them. It also – if you’re paying attention – reveals their needs, challenges, and lifestyle requirements over time. Do they coach soccer – so a Saturday pickup is impossible? Are they commuters, and will they arrive home after closing? These tidbits or data points personalize the experience and help create connected relationships. Done right, it will build over time to the point where a loyal customer would never even consider going to another shop. But here’s the most important tip of all: make everything transparent, and use technology to do so. Your customers want to know about pricing, standards and service — in advance of coming to the drive. Make it available through digital marketing, and they will make you a consistent stop.

It makes sense that service customers find the process daunting and stressful. Their lives are disrupted, and they often feel that they have very little control over the outcome. By creating an integrated approach between human service and tech-driven efficiency, you can set the stage for a proactive relationship that stays connected long after the warranty has expired.

What’s Next?

We drive the digital transformation of dealerships with the only end-to-end platform that gives your employees the tools they need to satisfy customers while driving higher revenue and profits. 

September sales decline but SAAR stays steady; the dealership of the future starts with service; 2020 fixed ops trends to consider

If September results are any indication, this year’s new car sales roller coaster is on a pretty steep downward run, thanks to the high price of new cars and the cost of borrowing. According to Automotive News, in fact, virtually every automaker reported declines for the month of September – even Subaru, which had scored positive sales results every month since 2011. They were down 9.4%, but larger automakers saw even deeper losses: Toyota dropped an overall 17%, Ford an estimated 12%, and GM an estimated 10%.

Most analysts blamed the high price of new cars, along with interest rates and the short sales month – Labor Day Weekend sales were counted in August this year. That shift resulted in 10% more August sales, a boost promptly given back with a 12% overall loss in September. Via Automotive News, here’s what Edmunds analysts have to say:

“All year long we’ve been talking about high prices and rising interest rates keeping shoppers on the sidelines, but in the third quarter those pressures eased up just enough to get consumers back in a buying mood. If this momentum continues, we expect a solid finish to the year.”

— Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ senior manager of industry analysis

Indeed, there is a silver lining: first, even with the sales decline, SAAR topped 17 million for the fifth time. And if pricing/interest rate pressure eases into the fourth quarter, dealerships could very well see purchase-ready buyers.

Read the Automotive News article here.

The Dealership of the Future Starts with Service

To hear McKinsey & Company tell it, the practice of selling cars at a dealership is fading away, under pressure of profit erosion and disruptive technologies. In an article entitled “As dramatic disruption comes to automotive showrooms, proactive dealers can benefit greatly” McKinsey & Co. researchers found that dealership profit erosion and competitive forces are already forcing change. Here’s an excerpt:

“Average dealership operating profits plunged from 8.9 percent in 2015 to 1.7 percent in the first half of 2018, while gross profits fell from 3.3 percent to 2.4 percent over the same period. Dealership sentiment is also shifting from optimism to pessimism based on the most recent industry research.”

The article examines sales pressures and the shifting automotive marketplace, including disruptors in the market like Carvana, and third-party digital channels. As a result, they found that successful dealerships in the future will need to get creative and leverage technology to create new profit centers – all while relying on a streamlined and modern version of the service department. Of that, the report is clear: Consumers prefer going to dealership service centers, and millennials do not like to take care of their own vehicles. Here’s what McKinsey says about it:

We also project that the combined “do it for me” maintenance-service and aftermarket-parts profit pool will grow from about $40 billion to between $42 billion and $46 billion in 2030, while franchise service and parts will grow from $54 billion to between $57 billion and $60 billion, due to the growing number of cars on the road and increased parts costs.

The bad news? By 2030, increases in battery electric vehicles will partially offset gains made by service.

Read the McKinsey & Company article here.

2020 Fixed Ops Trends to Consider

If the future looks bright for service drives, the near future – as in next year – looks even better, just as long as managers pay attention to changes in consumer patterns, embrace technology, and focus on customer service. According to an article on CBTNews.com, here are a few trends to consider for Q4 2019 – and as we turn toward 2020:

Certified Car Service Dealer-FX

Price Increases: As new car prices go up, so to will used car prices. Per Thinknum Alternative Data: “The average price of a used car for the months of June, July, and August 2019 was right around $22,000, at least $1,000 more than the summer of 2018.” Increases in used vehicle sales and prices generally mean higher reconditioning costs.

Millennials: As millennials continue to settle down into jobs and homes, the one thing they aren’t doing is vehicle service – there just aren’t as many weekend oil changes happening on driveways in the suburbs anymore. For example, an Ally Financial survey showed that millennials and Generation Z paid an average of $2,334 for vehicle maintenance and repairs in the past five years.

 Read the CBTNews article here, and the Auto ReMarketing article here.

What’s Next?

Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX ONE Platform. At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge marketing services that help to deliver the right message at the right time — via the right digital channel. How can we help you?

There’s no debate – auto shows are great.

The Frankfurt Auto Show may be diminished from its original stature as one of Europe’s major shows, but it’s still an important show for luxury and sports car aficionados.

Perhaps that’s why the Frankfurt Auto Show is special – regardless of how many automakers display their wares. Truth is, as a playground for German luxury performance — not to mention Italian — this show continues to offer enthusiasts a look at what’s hot, and what’s not. Here are a few of our favorites:

Audi AI TRAIL Quattro

Really? Audi’s AI: Trail Quattro is the rig for horrible apocalyptic future scapes. Mad Max and the Thunderdome, anyone? This is the vehicle I would want, right down to its 22-inch wheels and futuristic, all-glass pod.

Audi RS 7 Sportback

It may have made its debut online instead of at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, but the RS Sportback continues to deliver the style, the handling, and the power of the original model. In terms of performance, the Audi RS 7 Sportback comes with twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 engine tuned to deliver 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

BMW Concept 4

The sexy new look of the BMW 4 line is here, with sleek lines, taut shoulders and a very interesting (if awkward) “concept-style” grille. Soon enough we will be seeing this design make its way onto revised 4 Series vehicles — here’s hoping the snout is a little less ostentatious by then.

Lamborghini Sian

According to press reports, the name Sian means “thunderbolt” in Italian. That’s appropriate given that the Sian is Lamborghini’s first electric. But wait — you should also know that the Sian bolts on a V12 engine that delivers 774 hp — also the highest output engine for Lamborghini. Top speed is 217 mph, with all-wheel-drive and a seven-speed transmission. According to Lamborghini, the Sian’s lean body was inspired by the edges of the Countach and is made of carbon fiber. Just 63 will be made.

Porsche Taycan

Another debut that was “technically” not at The Frankfurt Auto Show — but was — is the Porsche Taycan. The Taycan is the automaker’s first fully-electric sports car, so to announce it Porsche had to go big and do the launch simultaneously across three continents. What’s even more impressive is the car: The Taycan Turbo S accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, while the Taycan Turbo gets there in 3.2 seconds.



Click here for more about 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show.

What’s Next?

Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX ONE Platform. At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge marketing services that help to deliver the right message at the right time — via the right digital channel. How can we help you?

By now every dealership general manager, sales manager and service manager has heard about the power of “the digital age.”

And they’re either all-in or skeptical. Let’s face it: The idea of consumers empowered by search engines and websites seems counterintuitive to good customer service. Where’s the service drive at a Carvana vending machine? Where’s the friendly expert, diagnosing and talking about your car at a Tesla kiosk…or in front of the Amazon screen?

That experience doesn’t seem very powerful. At least not when compared to what dealerships can offer.

Get Digital in Almost Every Way

As true as that may be, it doesn’t mean a dealer manager can avoid, or ignore, the reality of our era. According to a recent J.D. Power Study, satisfaction is 75 points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) among customers who have an all-digital experience, compared with one that is all analog. Customers prefer to schedule service via the internet and communicate with the dealer through text messages, rather than doing those tasks via phone. The study also notes that customer satisfaction increases even further when a service advisor uses a tablet during the service visit. These types of consumer preferences are forcing a disruptive transformation based on the effective use of technology: To provide information, speed up the process, and improve communication.

That’s it.

It improves the most important aspects of a service appointment by increasing transparency for all, expanding and accelerating communication options, and enabling the sharing of vital information. That makes service appointments faster, and customer relationships stronger. The reality of today’s digital age is that consumers now expect a digital, and mobile, experience, to the point that not operating from a digital foundation is a non-starter. Traditional industries like real estate have also undergone a transformation: According to the National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report for 2018, 44% of home shoppers began their search online – a shift of 20 points since the eighties. Part of this is due to changes to active generations. The same study reported that 99% of millennials search for homes online.

Of course, dealerships are also feeling the change. With millennials and Gen Z emerging as the primary shoppers, service managers should be thinking about how to leverage the new reality of customers who treat technology as a fundamental part of their daily experience. Digitizing every customer touchpoint can boost productivity, growth and profitability while enhancing the customer experience. Just think how valuable a comprehensive service delivery platform (including texting) would be – one that manages the entire customer lifecycle, and seamlessly integrates vehicle data with manufacturer systems and your DMS. This gives dealerships real-time access to important data and performance analytics that transform the entire process.

A Culture of Transparency

As impressive as technology can be, it’s not effective unless the dealership is ready and able to shift their approach and change the service department culture. To start, show staff why they should use digital tools, and how digitization will help them “over-deliver” on every interaction and commitment. A simple and effective way to begin this process is to change performance measurement towards customer-centric metrics – especially improvements in satisfaction and loyalty. Ultimately, however, the most important shift most dealers must make is to create a transparent process – especially about things like up-front costs. Transparency also builds trust with and for customers – and improves the service department’s ability to get the job done right the first time. It’s the kind of transparency that comes with improved communication.   

Ultimately, as great as technology can be, it’s only as good as the service department around it – which is why a culture of transparency is so important. The digitization of the service drive is like any other tool: training, support and collaboration make it all come together. Software doesn’t ever work right if the dealership culture isn’t ready. To get there, focus on developing a culture of transparency that prioritizes the customer experience – and use digital tools to make it happen.

Creating an Exceptional Experience is the Point of the Digital Age

Digitization enables your team to enhance the customer experience and increase throughput, capacity and revenue. But it’s not as if the mere existence of digital tools makes the magic happen. A digital experience simply facilitates a better person-to-person experience which is what customers want most. According to PwC’s Experience is Everything, Get it Right. Study, speed and efficiency (80%); knowledgeable and helpful employees (78%); and convenience (77%) matter most when it comes to a general customer experience. The report found that these “cornerstone CX elements are so highly valued that 52% of consumers would pay more for greater speed and efficiency; 43% for greater convenience; and 41% would pay more for knowledgeable and helpful employees.”

Fast, friendly, and expert service. That creates happy customers – and happy customers translate into repeat customers. Carlisle & Company found that satisfied service customers are 36% more likely to purchase a vehicle from the same brand.    

Now that sounds like something a dealership can deliver, far better than any vending machine.

The takeaway is that creating a service experience that delights customers is essential in today’s market. And customers are even telling us what they want: an efficient and transparent process that uses digital technology to create a human connection. Now that’s an exceptional experience.

What’s Next?

We drive the digital transformation of dealerships with the only end-to-end platform that gives your employees the tools they need to satisfy customers while driving higher revenue and profits.


July sales are volatile; RO increases are fun; the new Corvette is here

As we turn the corner on summer, the 2019 sales year looks more volatile than ever, with nary a pattern or predictable trend to count on. The automotive market has simply become more complex and demanding, with many different ways to create revenue and reduce cost by leveraging digital tech opportunities – and streamlining processes. Yes, sales have been slightly down for most of the year, with around a 2% decline for the first half of the year. Yet many analysts forecasted a small uptick in July sales, thanks in part to an extra selling day.

If only we knew how the month really turned out.

With Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles no longer reporting on a monthly basis, it’s hard to tell exactly where the month ended. One thing we do know, however, is that Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia reported slightly higher automotive sales – led by Hyundai’s 12% increase. Even cars had a July day in the sun: Toyota reported decent gains in Camry sales, among others. So the news for July sales was, well – meh. For dealerships, the effort to increase revenue and reduce cost in other areas of the store, such as fixed operations, should continue to be a key area of focus.

Survey: 31% of service customers listen to their service advisor, add to the RO

What: According to a recent DealerRater survey of 11,000 consumers who had visited a new car dealership, 31 percent said that they added additional work based on the service adviser’s recommendation.

Takeaway: Expert advice never goes out of style, even with a powerful information tool like the internet available for all to use. Fact is, service advisers play an important role in simplifying and educating vehicle owners. And as cars become more and more complex, their knowledgeable advice is, in turn, more important than ever. Service managers should make sure that their advisers have the digital tools they need to quickly communicate with customers the right way.

Click here: 1 of 3 service customers buys additional work – survey

Report: Automotive cyberattacks

What: As cars increasingly become connected to the internet, concern is growing about the risk of a cyberattack that takes control of many vehicles at the same time. In fact, Consumer Watchdog recently published an extensive report that asks automakers to install inexpensive kill switches that essentially turns off the internet and blocks the connection. According to the report, it’s vital: By 2022, two-thirds of new cars on American roads will have online connections to safety systems. In addition, many automakers rely on third-party and open source software.

Takeaway: Remember the Jeep Cherokee that was hacked and shut down remotely? Yeah, that. Consumer Watchdog is, essentially, providing a reminder that a similar hack into another car (or cars) has gone from science fiction to nonfiction. It serves as an important reminder that automotive digital and connected tools must provide adequate security safeguards against possible hacking and attacks.

Click here: Report: Auto cyberattacks could kill thousands

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2020 Corvette: Best Ever, or too Much Supercar?

What: The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray debuted as a mid-engine supercar – the most significant change in its history, and all for a base price of about $60,000. That 6.2-liter V8 behind the seats gets 495 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. Personally, I prefer the original stingray. But wait…THIS is automotive history

Takeaway: Just look, and admire. The next ‘Vette is here.

Click here: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette

Each customer that has their vehicle serviced at a dealership does so with a set of unique anxieties and preconceived notions about the experience.

It may be a simple warranty appointment or a service interval check-up. It could also be something more serious. No matter what it is, each person brings a set of assumptions. As e-commerce channels such as Amazon have re-framed the consumer experience, those assumptions have evolved into heightened expectations around transparency, convenience and communication.   

Exceeding expectations in a profitable and efficient way requires technology. That’s a simple fact. For Dealer-FX, getting to the heart of the matter is what Digital MPI is meant to do. It’s designed to be a fast and convenient way to get approvals on service recommendations. By reducing the time it takes to get a response from the customer and decreasing phone calls back and forth, Digital MPI improves department efficiency and vehicle throughput, saving technicians and advisors time.

1. What’s the Value of this Technology — and What is the Single Greatest Benefit?

Simple: Giving Service Advisors the ability to communicate with customers over text or email, through a connected platform that syncs data to communications. In addition, Digital MPI combines three key functions and features:

  1. Efficiency: Digital MPI puts vital information in the hands of Service Advisors and their customers when they need it, and how they want it. That increases revenue and improves capacity.  
  2. Communication: Digital MPI opens up a text channel between advisor and customer that’s comfortable and transparent for all. It’s a vital component to building loyalty from the service drive.
  3. Integration: Efficiency gains and incremental service revenue increases add up when it’s an organic part of the service process. That takes integration with data solutions and workflow systems. Digital MPI is designed with that integration in mind.

The bottom line? Selling additional work from technician inspections is key to dealer profitability. Analysis shows that of dealers who are the most successful selling work from MPIs, one action most shared in common was high DMPI utilization.

The value of the technology extends also includes efficiency gains. Simply getting customer approvals faster (think phone tag) reduces a major bottleneck that kills service department productivity. Delayed approvals require technicians to unhook equipment and unload vehicles from lifts, then park them in the lot before loading another vehicle on the lift. Each swap can take 10-20 minutes of a technician’s time — and 18 days of technician productivity per year for the dealer.

2. How Does Digital MPI Work?

Service Advisors using the Service Dashboard receive a completed MPI report with recommendations and send it to the customer via a short link embedded in an email or text. Tapping the link opens a unique mobile website detailing the report and recommendations. The DMPI report goes over any concerns the customer originally came in for, outlines any concerns needing immediate or future attention and notes all items the technician checked as still in good condition.

All recommended items include price estimates and can be approved with a single touch. Customers can also access helpful explanatory information with photos about each recommended service.  The customer can review, decline or authorize the repairs in a matter of minutes with minimal personal interruption. Once approvals are complete, the customer is given a total estimate for their service visit, including items that were previously approved, as well as an updated promise time. Using text and email to get customer approvals is less intrusive and can be performed more easily, eliminating voice mails and resulting in shorter approval cycles.

3. Can it Improve my CSI score?

According to the J.D. Power 2019 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, there’s a 75-point difference between customers who have an all-digital experience and those who have an all-analog experience. That makes using digital tools to communicate vital to good CSI.

Add to that a dedicated approach to customer service that fuses human relationships with the efficiency of technology. In essence, technology empowers human interaction, and optimizes the experience. In this way, and because Digital MPI has such a strong consumer-facing value, it’s easy to see how utilizing Digital MPIs could contribute to positive CSI scores. The technology provides dealers and their customers a win-win: customers appreciate the speed and efficiency it brings, while dealers appreciate the value of added capacity and happy service customers. It’s all a part of creating a frictionless service experience that infuses human relationships with technology efficiencies.   

…And One Special Feature

Digital MPI is built on a solid foundation of data. It uses certified, bi-directional integration with DMS software and leading third parties, and shares data across all ONE Platform solutions. This provides complete transparency, establishes accuracy and includes complete store integration. In that way, it’s built to exceed customer expectations.

What’s Next?

We drive the digital transformation of dealerships with the only end-to-end platform that gives your employees the tools they need to satisfy customers while driving higher revenue and profits. Experience a LIVE Demo today!