Posts

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.


The service journey can be fast-paced and complicated. One missed appointment, a broken promise time or confused communication can lead to missed steps and a poor customer experience.

The pace of service retail in this digital-driven and on-demand market places a premium on efficiency and creates a need to build an automated monitoring, communication, and reporting technology. If you’re researching service dashboard-like solutions, make sure you start with these questions:

Service Dashboard: Dealer-FX

#1. How Does it Help My Daily Service Operation?

Service Dashboard enables managers to quickly track the progress of every vehicle through the shop, from before write-up to delivery. Advisors don’t spend time filling out route sheets because it’s automated, and service managers can quickly see all shop activity at all times. It also streamlines communication. For example, Advisors, technicians, managers and parts clerks can easily connect from their workstations. Automatically see the day’s appointments including transportation options and unfinished carry over work. View an up-to-the-minute timeline of the service process, with timestamps marking the completion of each step for every vehicle.

 

#2. How Does Service Dashboard Track Communication and Information?

All internal and customer communications are associated with a VIN, so the tool maintains a complete record of every message, recommendation, and response. In other words, “Who said what” is never in question. Send and receive texts with customers and department employees, keeping a VIN-level record of all communication in an easily accessible journal. Access the entire vehicle history with every document associated with a VIN, including pre-writes, menus, inspection results and ROs from prior work.

Service Dashboard: Dealer-FX

#3. Does it Help Identify Problem Cars and Broken Promise Times?

Yes. The Service Dashboard has an “Opportunities” tab that allows users to identify potentially problematic vehicles, including those falling behind the required timeline. It also highlights missed appointments, vehicles ready for delivery, those not delivered and more, including alerting employees when promise time and quarter-time targets are at risk.

Special Feature:  How does Service Dashboard help connect with customers?

Service Dashboard lets dealerships inform customers exactly where their vehicle is in the service process.  It also enables dealers to consistently meet that expectation. Service dashboard can also send technician recommendations to customers, and handles invoices and receive payments.

How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help auto brands and dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge technology solutions that create an exceptional and efficient service experience. How can we help you?

Related Links

 

Provides Real-Time Status Of Every Vehicle At Every Stage of Service

Toronto and Detroit, March 14, 2018

Dealer-FX, the leading customer experience management provider for automotive OEMs and their retailers, is announcing the release of the Service Dashboard, the industry’s only real-time department management, status and communication tool. Today’s customers want to know exactly where their vehicle is within the service process and when it will be ready for pick-up. The Service Dashboard enables dealers to consistently meet that expectation.

The Service Dashboard, formerly known as the Dynamic Route Sheet, automatically collects data in real-time from the DMS and the other components of ONE Platform to provide a complete view of all activity within the department. It tracks every vehicle at every stage of the service process, alerting advisors to potential bottlenecks and letting them communicate via text with both employees and customers. It’s the central hub, the screen where department employees spend much of their time including starting new tasks, and the Single Source of Truth for the dealership service department.

“The Service Dashboard gives dealers an unprecedented level of visibility and control over the entire service department,” said Gary Kalk, President and CEO of Dealer-FX. “Dealers can now manage every aspect of their people and processes, and can identify the sources of delays and inefficiencies that cost time and money. Service Dashboard makes it easy to manage capacity, boost throughput and drive both customer satisfaction and profitability higher. It changes the game.”

Total Visibility, Complete Control

The Service Dashboard allows dealers to manage the service department and track the progress of every vehicle through the shop from before the write up to delivery. It ensures greeters, advisors, parts clerks and technicians are more effective than ever. Because it’s automated, advisors don’t spend time filling out route sheets and service managers can quickly see all shop activity at any point in the day. Advisors, technicians, managers and parts clerks can easily communicate with each other without leaving their workstations, keeping everyone more customer-focused and productive. All internal and customer communications are associated with a VIN, so the tool maintains a complete record of every message, recommendation and response – ‘who said what’ is never in question.

Focuses Attention for the Greatest Impact

A unique feature of the Service Dashboard is the Opportunities tab, which allows users to identify potentially problematic vehicles, including those falling behind the timeline needed to meet the promise time, or those not meeting the quarter-time needed to complete the vehicle inspection. It also highlights missed appointments, vehicles ready for delivery, those not delivered and more. Managers can focus on the areas of greatest impact and minimize attention paid to vehicles not needing help.

Single Source of Truth

The Service Dashboard is feature-rich, able to handle the demands of the largest and most complex dealerships:

  • Quickly identify potential roadblocks so service managers can keep jobs on track to meet customer expectations
  • Send technician recommendations to customers using Digital MPI, the most convenient mobile approval tool available
  • Alert employees when promise time and quarter-time targets are at risk
  • Send invoices and receive payment via EasyPay
  • Send and receive texts with customers and department employees, keeping a VIN-level record of all communication in an easily accessible journal
  • Automatically see all of the day’s appointments including transportation options and unfinished carry over work
  • Access the entire vehicle history with every document associated with a VIN, including pre-writes, menus, inspection results and ROs from work completed
  • View an up-to-the-minute timeline of the service process, with timestamps marking the completion of each step for every vehicle
  • Customize the display of the Service Dashboard to suit each user’s needs

The Service Dashboard is included with ONE Platform at no additional cost. As with the entire set of ONE Platform solutions, Service Dashboard relies on certified, bi-directional integration with the DMS and leading third parties, and shares data across all ONE Platform solutions.

About Dealer-FX

Dealer-FX is transforming how millions of consumers interact with automotive brands and their retailers. Our customer experience management platform uses advanced data analysis and mobile applications to deliver convenience, transparency and trust to consumers, and increased efficiency, profitability, retention and brand loyalty to OEMs and dealers. We are backed by the strength and resources of HGGC, a private equity firm in Palo Alto, CA.

Our core offering, ONE Platform, is comprised of seven components, which along with the Service Dashboard, manage the entire service experience from initial contact through drive-off and to next visit. It delivers the best dealer service experience. Period.

Dealer-FX is the exclusive or preferred service technology provider for FCA, Nissan, Infiniti, Toyota, Lexus, Audi, Mitsubishi and several other OEMs in the US and Canada, and has more than 2,000 dealership clients. Dealer-FX is based in Toronto, ON, and maintains an office in Rochester Hills, MI. For more information please visit dealer-fx.com, or connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.