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:
- Many of today’s customers are accustomed to a digital experience with businesses they interact with.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
DEALER-FX | Booth 545C
February 15-17, 2020 | Las Vegas, NV