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It’s been 20 years or so since I worked at Tom’s Automotive. It was a small independent shop and a great place to start an automotive career. Every day was a chance to get a few hard knocks and learn some valuable lessons from veteran auto pros.   

One of those lessons was the power of “Show and Tell.”

Showing customers worn parts and actual vehicle issues isn’t a new thing brought about by newfangled technology. It’s been around for as long as technicians have been trying to explain the value of the repair they’re suggesting, which probably goes back to the Ford Model T. Back at Tom’s, we had a bin for every RO we worked on, and any parts we replaced on a car would go into that bin. When the customer came to pick up their vehicle, we could bring out the bin and show the customer the worn parts. Simple, right? This was a good strategy because it was at times difficult to explain a service over the phone, or even in person unless you could show that part. It’s a visual thing and most people believe what they see, especially when they don’t understand something.  

People Buy with their Eyes – Not Their Ears

The same is true today. If anything, digital information overload has caused people to become more confused and less trusting. People’s general feeling of being overloaded, combined with busier lives, makes time-consuming explanations less than ideal and Show and Tell more important. Old Tom would be happy about that because he believed in visual selling – something today’s technology is extremely good at doing.

Think about how you use the approach today. Many repair shops have realized that as valuable as “Show and Tell” is at the end of the repair, you can increase sales upfront with a “Show and Sell” strategy. However, chances are, this technique is reserved for dirty cabin air filters, engine air filters, fluids exchange and more maintenance-oriented upsells. These are geared towards customers who are waiting in the dealership lounge. It’s effective, but it also has some limitations. For example, it’s hard to bring some parts out to the service drive: worn brake pads, leaking coolant components and worn wheel bearings. Today, some younger technicians are being inadvertently trained to only recommend items they can physically show, to only those customers who have decided to park it at the shop. As a result, customers who have gone back to work or anywhere that’s not the lounge are missing the valuable visual explanation and you’re missing an opportunity to easily increase the average $ per/RO.  

I can hear old Tom grumbling about that right now. Indeed, if I worked at his shop today, Tom would probably require the use of technology to drive Show and Tell. Here’s why:

  • Sending videos and photos expands the opportunity to connect and show the value of a service or repair no matter where the customer sits. Remember, it’s a customer service economy driven by right time/right place demands. So don’t assume that the guy or gal who came in for an inspection is sitting patiently and waiting. Chances are she or he is back at work or running errands. Yet getting in touch is as simple as if they were right there as long as you use the correct platform. In this case, a text message is most effective, it’s increasingly evident that voicemail is one of the least effective means of communication. In fact, eMarketing Sherpas found that the average voicemail call back takes over one hour but a response to a business text takes just 15 minutes.  If the customer is in the lounge, they are most likely looking at their phone while they are waiting. Use that opportunity to your advantage!

  • Using mobile technology to share the technician’s findings with the customer saves time and keeps the technician working on cars instead of running back and forth with worn parts. Wouldn’t we prefer to keep him at his workstation producing revenue and use the Digital “Show and Sell” method to present findings to the customers?

Using mobile technology is a transparent and friendly way to build customer relationships.

  • The advisors can spend a lot of time physically chasing down customers and may be shying away from presenting issues that they can’t physically show.  I am often in stores training advisors or technicians, and if I had a car at the shop, I might not be available for a phone call, but if I received a text or email with pictures and a clear recommendation, it would be easy to respond back and approve those repairs. I’m not alone: According to a recent study by MobileSQUARED, more than 90% of people read a text message within the first three minutes of receiving. It’s a strong indication that text or email gets through when voice communication gets blocked.

  • Showcasing all manner of issues is easier via digital images or videos. I recently watched a car wobble down the freeway; clearly, it had a worn rear wheel bearing. It was so bad that it made me want to capture video of the wheel and show it to the driver. If they could only see what I saw! Point is, noticing an issue and sending a video to drive home the urgency of the repair is a great way to turn “Show and Tell” into “Show and Sell”. Utilizing only the physical method limits our techs or advisors and may cause us to miss out on larger opportunities.

  • Using mobile technology to communicate needed service is a transparent and friendly way to build customer relationships. It gives the customers greater peace of mind. With digital images or video, they can show the part or issue to knowledgeable friends and quickly get a second opinion. One that will almost always agree with your assessment. It puts the power of knowledge into the customer’s hands. This leads to improved customer retention and stronger profitability.

  • Encourage your customers to download a service app, so they can save images and paperwork throughout the life of the vehicle. Most automakers offer an app for vehicle owners to use that will sync the vehicle’s VIN with its recommended service intervals and allow for added content such as receipts and images or videos. There are also third-party apps that offer many of the same features.

With all this technology, it seems as though digital Show and Tell is a guarantee to “yes.” But what happens if they say no? For most stores, that’s the last time the recommendation is brought up. Sometimes the next technician to inspect the car doesn’t even mention it again, a mistake that hurts sales and credibility. With electronic inspections, information is captured, and there are tools available that help you re-market back to that customer, reminding them of the services or repairs needed to keep their vehicle in top running condition. Also, when the customer comes in for the next visit, those deferred recommendations can be reviewed when making the appointment, during the check-in and again by the technician when performing the new inspection. That allows advisors or managers to take advantage of opportunities which helps to build credibility with the customer.

Digital Show and Tell is Really Show and Sell

Using digital images and video to show needed service is just the start of what technology can do in terms of showing a customer the true and urgent service needs of their vehicle. Today, software is available that accesses data from the VIN, dealership management system and automaker database. These all present the customer with a true picture of maintenance needs and status, from service history to recalls and maintenance intervals. In addition, many of today’s modern shops have tire scanners at the entrance of the drive or handheld units, which analyze tread and alignment before the customer even gets out of their vehicle. It may all seem like science fiction, but in fact, it’s what customers today demand: a complete picture, driven by data and delivered via mobile technology. It takes Show and Tell to a whole new level – one based on data.

Tom, my first service boss, might shake his head at the thought of such technology, but he’d surely have it installed once he saw the fundamental benefits of showing based on data, which increases credibility, trust…and increases the dollars per RO.

Ultimately, it’s all about leveraging the tools of the trade to create a better and more profitable experience. By showing the customer visual evidence of needed repair, no matter what the customer is doing, or where they are, you’re creating an accurate, credible and transparent story. That’s simply the best way to turn the old Show and Tell scenario into a more powerful “Show and Sell.”  

Ridge McCoy| Regional Performance Manager
Dealer-FX Group, Inc. More from Ridge

Read more from Ridge


This year, technology is finally going to take over the world of automotive retail. Force a wave of transformation. And make everyone rethink everything they ever learned about selling and servicing cars.

Balderdash.

The truth is that every turn of the calendar sees its share of new technology solutions and ideas, all designed to make the business of automotive retail easier, better, and more profitable.It’s an incremental evolution of technology and human advancement, the process of which washes out the bad ideas and strengthens solutions that offer value to customers, dealers, and shop owners.

Just think about how far we’ve come: Today, there are apps that sell vehicles via a subscription. The role of a technician is more like that of a forensic technologist than a mechanic. And today, sensors are basically driving vehicles down the road without human assistance.

The point? It’s progress, and how it makes everyone more profitable and powerful. So in honor of new ways and greater opportunities, here’s a look at what you just might see more of – and less of – in 2019:

Not Hot: New and Used Vehicle Margins

It’s getting to the point where it costs money to sell a new car – and used vehicle margins aren’t that far behind, all things considered. More competition, a saturated market, and a somewhat strange consumer fixation on crossovers has put the market in a state of flux. As a result, that puts more pressure on the service department to run a tight ship and increase profitability, build customer retention and even serve as a source of sales.

None of which is surprising. The service department has long been a foundational part of any dealership. This time, however, there’s more competition on the service side of automotive retail, and service managers will need to bear down on cost and make investments in technology to streamline operations.  

Red Hot: Used Car Reconditioning

Used vehicle reconditioning will be one of those red-hot areas in 2019 – if it isn’t already. Turning around used vehicles for resale quickly (and for less) is increasingly part of the crucial role service departments play in helping boost profits.

Dealership managers should be focused on creating a reconditioning process that emphasizes turnaround speed, lowering parts and labor costs – and ensuring efficiency throughout. With a glut of late-model used cars just off lease, managers who know well their “time to line” will gain the advantage of moving more inventory and perhaps help to stabilize margins. Using technology to improve communication between managers and techs is a key step toward reducing the time gap between trade-in and re-sale.

Not Hot: Blockchain Technology

Okay, okay. It’s arguably bitcoin’s greatest gift. But it’s also the ultimate buzzword. Fact is, blockchain didn’t exactly set the automotive retail world on fire last year — unless talk and speculation counts. It undoubtedly will, one day – but maybe not quite yet. There’s just so much to like about the decentralized ledger technology, especially for industries with outdated records tech and mountains of paperwork (see: automotive). Yet something this big takes a long time to develop, and many experts warn about things like transaction speed and standardization slowing down implementation.

Red Hot: AI Technology

Hello, Alexa. Hi there, Google. Our erstwhile artificial assistants are helping to monitor and drive vehicle maintenance – plus much more. Indeed, it’s already happening: many newer cars use some form of AI to monitor hundreds of sensors to detect possible problems and maintenance needs. In fact, Volkswagen and Microsoft recently announced a partnership with the intention of using AI to improve the ownership experience. That includes predictive maintenance, and Over The Air (OTA) software updates, among other innovations.  

Fact is, AI is in the service bay at increasing levels. From predictive replacement part ordering to claims adjustments and predictive maintenance and repairs, the name of the game is efficiency. Look for increases in AI across the dealership as it proves effective at lowering costs and streamlining workflows. One need only look at the emergence of chatbots as an example of how AI technology can work with employees to create timely and complete experiences.  

Not Hot: Autonomous Vehicles

It gets all the headlines – for good and bad reasons. As a result, the march toward self-driving vehicles is anything but a straight line to customer driveways. As advanced as self-driving tech companies have become, and despite their advancements on the commercial side of transportation, ethical and technical issues are to be sorted out. Of course, most of us know about the accident that killed a woman in Las Vegas as she crossed the street with her bicycle, but there have been other accidents and glitches as testing has increased.

Not that any of this has stopped the self-driving phenomenon. The benefits in terms of safety, efficiency and fleet use are too strong for the technology to not make an indelible impact. As testing continues onward, look for more measured and cautious progress as autonomous vehicles begin to find their place in the automotive world – including service and repair.

Red Hot: Electrified Vehicles

All manner of electric vehicles are available today, and that selection is growing quickly. From hybrids to plug-ins and daily-driver EVs, car buyers are being treated with more power and greater efficiency than ever. One only need pay attention to the number of Teslas on the road – and charging stations available. Worldwide, in fact, EV sales reached around 1.4 million vehicles.

But that’s not the hot change for 2019. What is even more significant is the accelerated switch from the long-standing 12-volt vehicle electrical system to a 48-volt system. Up to now, we’ve seen 48-volt systems in a few luxury vehicles, but it looks like the transition is moving into the mainstream. That’s likely driven by demand for gadgets and power-laden features such as advanced audio systems, ambient lighting and start-stop functionality — not to mention electronic turbo systems and mild hybrids.

More practically, however, is the reality that automakers have been shifting from mechanical parts to electronic componentry under the hood. Ultimately, after more than 60 years the power needed for vehicles is now too much for 12-volts to handle. It’s a change that may have a direct impact on your service techs, as they will need to know how to work with 12-volt systems and 48-volt systems. And it is yet another example of how technology is helping to drive a more powerful and robust automotive world for 2019 — and beyond.

Your service department is the foundation of the dealership. In fact, according to the National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA), 2018 mid-year service and parts sales are up by $1.65 billion when compared to 2017.

That usually means that advisors are busy writing orders, and service bays are humming with profitable work. As a result, now is a good time to make sure that your operation is optimized. And to that end, Greg Dryden — industry expert and Dealer-FX Vice President of Client Optimization — will hold two special sessions at NADA 2019. They’ll cover several actionable insights, and show you how to do the following:

  1. Identify gaps in current service department processes. Tasks like booking appointments, conducting the service write-up, inspection, and parts management.
  2. Calculate the impact on business, caused by gaps and breakdowns in their processes.
  3. Formulate a plan to address gaps in the customer experience while increasing throughput, capacity and parts and service revenue.
  4. Solve issues with parts specifying to drive overall efficiency in their service department.
  5. Structure pay plans that drive the behaviors required to drive key performance metrics for their dealership.
  6. Implement a plan to improve the experience at every touchpoint with the customer. That will help to drive customer satisfaction, retention and brand loyalty/repurchase.

Understanding areas of opportunity in your growing service business are the first step toward improving the process and, ultimately, creating a more profitable experience. Objectives such as these only happen through actionable best practices, shown and discussed by an industry expert. Be sure to save time to attend one or both sessions.

NADA Session: Service Department Effectiveness for the 21st Century

At NADA 2019 in San Francisco, Dealer-FX Vice President of Client Optimization, Greg Dryden, will illustrate the changing behaviors of consumers and how dealership service departments can optimize to increase their business.  Greg began his career in the automotive industry more than 25 years ago, as a Certified Master Technician. Since then, he has worked in almost every role in the dealership. At the OEM level, Greg has helped develop training programs for field staff, trainers, and dealership personnel for leading OEMs including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Group), Audi, Mazda, Lexus, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Acura, Suzuki, General Motors, Mitsubishi, and Subaru.

During NADA, he will illustrate best practices across two days at the convention, discussing the following questions:

  • How close are you to being able to deliver a completely digital service experience?
  • How does a dealership use technology to create a frictionless service experience?
  • Which digital services hold the key to meeting new customer expectations?

Attendees will leave the sessions with a plan to enhance the customer experience while making service departments more efficient and profitable. Indeed, you will be able to begin your plan by attending this one-hour session. There are two sessions to choose from:

  • Session 1:
    When: Thursday, January 24, 2019
    Time: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
    Where: 3010W
    Department: NADA Fixed Ops
  • Session 2:
    When: Saturday, January 26, 2019
    Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    Room: 3011W
    Department: NADA Fixed Ops

Click here to learn more about Service Department Effectiveness for the 21st Century check out the NADA 2019 Workshop Schedule and filter by Fixed Ops. Dealer-FX will be exhibiting at NADA 2019 in booth #3625S. See you in San Francisco!

How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive 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?
Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX.

On August 2, Apple became the first U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market valuation. In doing so, it crossed an interesting threshold once thought unattainable, at least for anything other than a global energy company.

But then again – was anyone really surprised?

Probably not. Apple is unique, after all, a public showcase of thinking differently. From iMacs to iPods and iPhones, the company has been on a journey defined by creativity and driven by innovation.

Here-are-a-Few-Customer-Experience-Lessons-from-Apple-Trillion Dollar Journey Dealer-FX

Apple is simply different.

But so is Amazon. And it’s no coincidence that Jeff Bezos’ company is in close pursuit of that trillion-dollar line. Their own valuation sits at around $424 billion. What’s interesting is that the two companies share similar customer experience keys instrumental to their remarkable achievements. Indeed, what’s most relevant about Apple’s $1 trillion valuation – and Amazon’s pursuit – are the things we can learn from their shared traits:

Culture starts with shared values

The memo sent by CEO Tim Cook after Apple reached the $1 trillion mark is a good example of a positive culture. You can read it here. The takeaway for service managers is how Apple and Amazon executives have aligned the company’s objectives with human values and hopes. This is critical because the digital transformation taking place in the automotive retail industry requires a culture shift inside the dealership. Technology only works if the team members see its value and are dedicated to making the change.

Technology that redefines the customer experience

For Apple, it’s been about design and the creation of devices that feel natural. For Amazon, it’s using data to anticipate behavior and supply the answer. Both companies blend amazing technology with an incredible human experience. This ideal has obvious application in the service drive: using technology to power human interaction is how relationships are made. It’s a vital component within the dealership sales and service cycle.

Create a need

No one told Apple that people would go crazy over the iPod. They noticed how the customer experience of the typical MP3 player was poor and designed an elegant user interface. Amazon didn’t wait for someone to tell them to create Alexa or apply Big Data to the shopping experience. With that in mind, how can service advisors use information and technology to introduce a need, and sell the ‘why’ to customers? It’s a good way to expand RO values and develop a stronger relationship with customers.

Creating a personalized experience

Your iPhone is personal to you. It doesn’t have to be a different colour (though that’s nice!) because the content is what makes it unique. Likewise, the personalization of the shopping experience is where Amazon gets its power. Innovations like recommendations, one-click ordering, anticipatory shipping, and price optimization make the experience unique – and uniquely valued. Creating a similar dealership service experience requires the timely application of knowledge about the customer’s needs. It also requires the building of a culture that seeks to make the experience more personal.

Someday, other companies will reach a $1 trillion valuation, and Apple won’t be alone. Yet what’s fascinating is that Apple’s success was accomplished in much the same way as it would be at the local dealership: through shared values, the application of leading technology and personalization for the customer.

How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive 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?

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What’s the fastest way to get a “no” from the customer? Ask them to buy a service they don’t understand.

It seems like a pretty simple mistake to avoid, right?
Yet often, service advisors fall into the trap, mostly because they’re busy or not armed with the latest vehicle information. And when it happens, they lose the opportunity to show customers the value and quality of the dealership service experience.

Service Advisors Tell the What Sell the Why - Dealer-FX

Common Assumptions

What’s not so simple is how to demonstrate the value of quality service. In fact, there are a few common misperceptions that service advisors and managers have when it comes to how well customers understand their vehicle’s maintenance needs:

  1. They won’t spend money on service.
  2. They get the work done somewhere else.
  3. They understand the value of the service.
  4. They already know what they want.

Most of the time, these assumptions aren’t true – and they lead advisors into a classic mistake by asking yes or no questions. Here’s an example: “do you want to flush the brake fluid?” Clearly, the easy answer is no. When that happens, many service advisors will shrug their shoulders, check the box, and move on. But here’s the problem: with every rejection, the service department loses sales and an opportunity to create a bond of trust with the customer. In fact, this situation does the customer a disservice.

Be Successful at Selling the Why

Don’t walk into an easy no – educate your customers by telling the what and selling the why. Instead of asking the customer if they want a service item they know nothing about, explain why they need the service and what makes it valuable. In this way, the conversation about a brake fluid change goes something like this:

Your car is overdue for a brake fluid flush. This is important because brake fluid absorbs moisture, and excessive moisture can cause steam. Because brakes work in a high heat and friction environment, that can lead to brake fade, which increases stopping distance. It can also cause the caliper piston to freeze, so the brakes won’t work properly. On average, brake fluid accumulates moisture at the rate of 1% per year, and anything over 2% (two years) is considered too high. Would you like to add this service?

When customers understand the importance and value of the service, they’re far more likely to opt-in because it saves them time and creates peace of mind.

How to Sell the Why

To better “sell the why,” start by preparing your service advisors with talk tracks and relevant knowledge. In turn, they will use that knowledge to educate customers and build trust. Your service department should strive for a consistent “why” performance from all advisors, a goal that’s achievable when your appointment and check-in technology includes detailed information and reminders about key service items.

Ultimately, advisors are most valuable when they do exactly that – advise customers. This way, they guide and provide customers with the necessary information to make wise decisions about their vehicle. By keeping the “why” in mind, they can better educate customers and build a reputation as a trusted advisor – something customers should expect when they come to a dealership for service.

By Ridge McCoy

Ridge McCoy is a regional performance manager for Dealer-FX. With 20 years experience in the automotive space as a technician, service advisor and shop manager, Ridge has participated in over 1,800 hours of sales, leadership and customer service training. He holds an Automotive Management degree from AMI, a business degree from Northwest University and has served as mechanical chair of the Automotive Service Association in King County, Washington.

Related Links

How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive 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?

Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX. 

 

A Disruptive Transformation, and a Golden Opportunity

Automotive retailers and service professionals face a disruptive transformation. Indeed, while the business of selling and servicing cars seems to be moving at the pace of “business as usual,” around the bend lies one of the most challenging times since the 2009 recession. Consider: Today’s balky, downshifting market, combined with rising interest rates and the rise of multiple customer options, has created a stew of margin pressure. Not to mention increased customer expectations.

Dealer-fx: Creating a Best-Ever Service Department Experience for Today’s Customers

Fixed Ops to the Rescue…Or Not

A key profit anchor for dealerships when times are tough, service departments have historically risen to the occasion. Will this time be different? Maybe. Today, the service drive is also under pressure from several transformative disruptors:

  • Millennial influencers are forcing a technology-based culture change. They’re demanding a convenient, transparent and personalized service experience.
  • The ongoing technician shortage presents challenges to maintaining shop operations and growing the capacity to meet demand.
  • Improved vehicle reliability and longer service intervals make repairs less common and service visits less frequent. It’s a fact compounded by the adoption of electric vehicles and the ever-present competitive pressure from independent shops.
  • Dealers seek ways to expand service department capacity without making sizeable brick & mortar investments.

These demands are forcing the adoption of technology solutions across service departments. Digital workflows and service platforms are creating process efficiencies that scale, while also speeding transactions and connecting to customers. The result is an environment of high-risk for dealers: get your technology right or suffer the consequences of lower customer satisfaction and retention in the bedrock of your business.

Disruptive Technology Gains Velocity

This disruption to traditional practices is quickly gaining velocity. Consider how Uber, Lyft and others disrupt the transportation business and create more consumer options. Note how this idea of personalized mobility has evolved into ride-sharing services and subscription-based vehicle leasing platforms. Information sharing between cars, customers and companies is also on the move.

Telematics has already enriched the diagnostic and information-capturing capabilities of new vehicles, including creating data profiles of the vehicle and customer. In fact, research from McKinsey estimates that connected cars may account for 22 percent of all vehicles on the road by 2020. Indeed, as the industry moves toward 2020, these developments will accelerate as big data, AI and machine learning are infused into platforms and processes.

Ever-Rising Customer Expectations

Telematic and autonomous technologies are already changing new vehicle development, sales, and service. Yet there are still 250 million passenger vehicles on the road in need of service and repair – most of which do not have any of this new technology.

So, what does it take to win the hearts and minds of today’s consumers? The answer is reflected in consumer behavior: they are moving away from simply purchasing products and towards carefully designed, recurring customer experiences, enabled by intelligent applications served on mobile technology.

Amazon is busy creating a personalized, intuitive, and frictionless experience that retrains consumers to expect transparency and data throughput.

In fact, there are more than a few companies that have demonstrated this trend toward the intelligent use of data and preferences applied to mobile applications in stellar ways. One need only look to Amazon to see how the core of this idea can disrupt industries and win the hearts of consumers.

Not only do they know each customer’s relevant measurements, demographics, preferences, and payment info, they anticipate each need and gently make suggestions at the appropriate time. Through the careful use of many types of data, they are able to think differently about the customer interaction. As a result they provide a compelling, ongoing experience with a personalized touch.

The result is an experience that’s noticeably different and better than those of competitors because it makes the process of continually buying a product or service incredibly easy and habit-forming.

Next Week: Part Two: How to Thrive in the Emerging Economy

Porsche Introduces Its ‘Live Look’ Technician Platform

Porsche just introduced the long-awaited Google Glass concept to automotive technicians, bringing a media darling technology to dealership service shops. Can this transform the technician experience or is it just more cool technology looking for an application?

Named Tech Live Look,  it features projection technology and high-quality, lightweight smart glasses. A technician would use the glasses to connect to Atlanta-based experts for in-the-moment assistance. Those experts would be able to literally show instructions, images or the like through the glasses. It’s a tech solution that promises to speed up work and improve customer satisfaction. Click here to learn more.

The year 2020 is coming. Are you ready for a technology-enabled world of service, with new customer expectations?

In the car business? Put your seatbelt on.

And while you’re at it hang on tight to the steering wheel, because the road between today’s reality and the likely future is sure to be a wild and bumpy ride. The typical dealer-driven and controlled process of 2018, with few options and an established profit path, is already evolving into a customer-driven buyer’s journey.

 

That’s the type with multiple options, considerable margin pressure, and a heavy emphasis on right-time service levels. It’s not a temporary disruption: The depth and permanence of this change is led by mobile technology, and that has traditional retail operations staggering. In fact, according to Kerrigan Advisors’ year-end Blue Sky Report, it’s driving some generational dealer operators to rethink future plans.

Everybody Take a Deep Breath

At about this point I can hear you thinking: “Yeah, yeah. the more things change the more they stay the same.” It’s true that core fundamentals of retail ops are healthy and established. For example, people will always buy, lease, and service cars from dealerships. The majority will always test drive cars first, and will prefer a dealership service drive to the cluttered and dirty aftermarket option. The process is where change is happening.

And if you doubt that, consider how the popularity of technology-driven options enabled Uber, Lyft and their global peers to create a new transportation channel. Note how ride-sharing services and subscription-based vehicle programs – programs that are now spreading like wildfire to mainstream automakers – are opening the door for expansive and customized options.

Combined with the increasingly sophisticated science of Big Data and connected cars, the automotive landscape in 2020 looks like a data-driven, customer-first enterprise that relies on technology to help humans deliver right-time and comprehensive service.

The Future is Bright

It sure sounds marvelous. Except for one tiny exception: the need to service cars for a profit. You remember profit, right? That thing you had plenty of before interest rates went up, and sales slowed? The reason your service drive exists? If you’re selling new cars for pennies of profit, you’re doing it because it opens the door to more profitable areas of the business. And there’s no better place than the service drive. When times are uncertain, service departments have historically risen to the occasion.

This time might be different. Today, the service drive is also under pressure to Millennial influencers, a persistent technician shortage, and lengthening service intervals. These demands (and others) are forcing the adoption of technology solutions across service departments. The message is clear: get your technology right or suffer low CSI in an area that has always served as an important connector between sales and retention. The year 2020 is right around the corner, and the need for a simple, connected and efficient technology solution for the service department grows larger in the rearview mirror with every passing day.

 

Dealer-FX Receives Honor for the Fourth Consecutive Year

“We are honored that Deloitte has recognized Dealer-FX once again as one of the fastest growing companies in North America,” said Gary Kalk, President and CEO. “This continued recognition confirms that Dealer-FX is on the right track. Our ONE Platform leverages mobile applications, deep data integration and intelligent analytics to deliver a frictionless experience to consumers, and increased efficiency, profitability, and brand loyalty to dealers and our OEM partners. No one in our industry can match the capabilities of our intelligent delivery platform and the Dealer-FX team’s dedication to our clients’ success.”

Dealer-FX’s growth over the past year has been fueled by the addition of new OEM partners, enhancements to ONE Platform, continued geographic expansion and the dedication of our amazing team.

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.