Posts

Most dealership managers know that the service department is their best source of steady, consistent revenue. Yet too often it seems that maximizing the amount of that revenue — and lowering the cost of the operation — just aren’t priorities.

That’s a problem — especially in an unsteady market where customer expectations around convenience and efficiency continue to grow. Every opportunity to increase ROs and improve customer loyalty is vital to sustaining a vibrant and competition-proof service business over the long term. Doing that requires a technology footprint that helps to ensure all steps of the customer lifecycle are met in a timely and efficient manner.

As simple as that seems, it’s not. Technology is complicated, and it’s hard to know exactly what the benefits are and how they help the bottom line. To that end, it’s important to be prepared by understanding the basics of the technology — and having a few tough questions at the ready. That way you can truly see whether the technology fits your service department’s unique set of challenges. Here’s a simple summary of ONE Platform:  

Seven Digital Solutions of the Dealer-FX ONE Platform

ONE Platform manages the complete service customer lifecycle. It connects seven digital service solutions across the entire experience, integrates with vehicle data, OEM systems and most DMS providers. It’s designed to enhance the customer’s service experience and drive the digital transformation of dealerships:

  • Connect: DMS, OEM, and customer service data for targeted messaging
  • Schedule: An online scheduler on your dealership website
  • Check-In: VIN-specific customer information directly on the tablet for an efficient write-up process
  • Inspect: Multiple layers of customer data so techs have all the information they need
  • Engage: Real-time vehicle status updates, OEM recall notifications, service reminders
  • Check-Out: Customer check-out integrated with EasyPay, a mobile payment solution
  • Retain: Post-service messages, personalized invitations and reminders

ONE Platform provides visibility into virtually all service operations — which can improve customer promise times, increase ROs and elevate scores on customer surveys.

ONE Platform by the Numbers
51% Increase in Customer Pay Sales
12% Increase in CSI Scores
$134 Increase per RO From Appointment To Final RO

Stump the Rep: Ten Questions about ONE Platform

The best way to get the most out of your appointment is to engage the rep’s knowledge about the technology. Do that by asking questions and pulling the experience toward a conversation. Here are ten tough questions that should help you get a pretty good idea about the Dealer-FX ONE Platform:

  1. Will ONE Platform make or save my dealership money, or is it just another technology expense?  
  2. How can I improve cycle time and staff efficiencies, including technicians?
  3. How is the customer service journey tracked, and how can it be leveraged to generate additional business?
  4. How does ONE Platform help me interact with customers in the way they expect?
  5. Can you show me how ONE Platform can manage the “digital service department – from almost anywhere?”
  6. How can this technology provide a Group instant access to performance and return on investment?
  7. Can you show me how to text recommendations to a customer?
  8. Explain why or how ONE Platform creates greater efficiencies.
  9. How does the consolidation of products within the platform actually help with support and training?
  10. Walk me through how ONE Platform delivers greater throughput in the service department.

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?

Thriving in the Emerging Customer Service Economy

Make no mistake: It’s all about the customer experience.
As such, to thrive in today’s automotive retail economy service managers and leaders need to think differently about how they use data and platforms when interacting with customers – and what that interaction looks like. And while it’s easy to point to the likes of Amazon as an example, keep in mind that servicing cars is quite different than selling books. It’s filled with unexpected vehicle issues, limited parts availability, software updates, customer no-shows, absent technicians and more. Every day presents a new set of challenges.

Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today. and Tomorrow

So here’s the question: How do dealers deliver a customer experience similar to that of Amazon? Yet make it scalable to the complex service ecosystem? It starts by thinking differently about how they use data before, during, and after each customer interaction.

Two-Step Approach

Dealers who want to achieve this must take a two-step approach:

First, adopt a service department technology platform designed to deliver an integrated and thoughtful customer experience, across all customer touchpoints. It’s something that can only happen if the data collected is analyzed and then made available at these six critical moments of greatest service opportunity:

  • Customer connection
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Vehicle check-in
  • Vehicle inspection
  • Customer engagement
  • Customer check-out

Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience

Part One: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow
Part Two: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow

Every point in these six critical moments brings with it an opportunity to increase revenue, boost CSI, and improve retention – but only if the data is timely, easy to use, and relevant.

Keep in mind that available data points include vehicle history, service codes, diagnostic information, and GPS data. Just knowing history, service and diagnostic data can help to significantly personalize the customer experience, maximizing the chance the customer will be happy and will return.

Next, work to transform the department culture so everyone focuses on “over delivering” service needs — to ensure a great customer experience. This is a profound change for a business whose fundamental practices and processes have remained stagnant over the past few decades. In addition to adopting a set of new technology-enabled processes and using data to constantly measure each one, employees need to embrace a culture of being in business to serve their customers. This includes:

  • Relentless optimization of the experience, through data analysis and the establishment of customer-centric performance indicators. For example, tracking greeting time, wait time, improving walk-arounds, and ensuring the wash and top-off of finished cars. These micro-moments make a lasting customer impression.
  • Providing comprehensive training to every new employee. And then refreshing and retraining them consistently.
  • Benchmarking service department processes and CSI results, then driving toward specific areas of improvement.

The Connected Customer

Technology is only effective when the culture of the service drive promotes its use as an organic part of the daily routine. It’s not an either-or type of thing: without the right approach, the power of technology to simplify and streamline is impeded; without the right technology, a team intent on over-delivering customer satisfaction will become frustrated and leave for more sophisticated stores.

According to a recent study by Price Waterhouse Cooper, “an average of 48% of U.S. consumers point to friendly, welcoming service as uniquely defining success in an industry; fewer (32%) pointed to having the most up-to-date technology.” In addition, the study found that 55% of U.S. consumers “strongly disagreed” with the idea that human interaction would not be needed when technology improves.

The message? Humans + Tech = Better Service. And that creates loyalty. In the automotive space, when you put the two together the results are compelling across the six critical moments.

Headwinds

As the automotive industry simultaneously faces headwinds and change driven by connectivity and mobility, service department efficiency and profitability will take center stage as the most important part of a successful dealership.

To win business and increase retention, service managers must begin to think differently about how to create those perfect moments. And while it’s true that we can debate the impact of technology, one fact remains. Today’s consumer is already connected – and they expect you to be, as well.

Related Links

Part One: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow
Part Two: Creating a Best-Ever Service Experience for Today…and Tomorrow
It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It…and When