In this series of articles We will be sharing information about text messaging with customers – Lets talk about the benefits first.
As we all know just about every customer that enters a dealership service department has a cell phone with them in their hand and paying attention to every ding or texting notification tone they have on their phone and text message that is received.
Did you know that the average text message is read within three minutes? That means that they are quickly available! Another aspect is the fact that 94% of those messages are read by users.
Benefits of texting customers include some of these examples from a dealership perspective:
CSI – As all retail dealerships know a key to the drivers of CSI is communication with customers as they go through the service process. Sending text messages to confirm and follow up after the visit will show attention to the customer and in turn increase CSI.
Marketing – Advertising agencies recommend that businesses use Texting to build opt-in databases to send promotions and announcements to subscriber’s cell phones.
Other Customer Focused Services – Doctors, dentists, salons, and other service companies use texting to send appointment reminders and confirmations. This shows that customer have become familiar with texting and expect customer based services to update them on regular basis.
In the next article we will outline how special offers can increase business for your service department.
Without a doubt, the most frequent topic of conversation among the car dealership industry is how drastically new car sales traffic has plummeted; more specifically, how this has affected the service order department. As car sales decline, many dealers ramp up their sales training efforts, but still overlook their service department. Unfortunately, extinction is an imminent possibility if dealerships don’t modify their methods and concentrate on intensifying their Service Advisor Training.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges your Service Advisor now faces is how to combat the common misconception customers have that independent garages are always cheaper than dealerships, especially when it comes to repairing engines, transmissions, the AC, etc. You may retain their business for dash electronics and the like, but unless their vehicle is still under warranty, private shops are gaining the upper hand on most other repair issues.
You probably already realize that these private shops exploit and foster the belief that all dealership repair shops are a rip off. Aside from their established clientele, a private mechanic’s gravy comes from the random customer who happens in looking for a fair price. They take their time educating and bonding with this potential new customer, flavoring that gravy with how dealership service departments shuffle customers in and out and promote unnecessary repairs. They are courteous and diligent about follow through, knowing these actions will result in deep-rooted loyalty, client referrals and long-term profit. Moreover, today’s independent shops are privy to some of the same technical repair software programs the dealer has.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial to throw your Service Advisor Training into high gear. He must be equipped with the necessary tools to overcome these misconceptions in order to convince customers to stick with your dealership. This invaluable service training enables him to set the bar and consistently exceed it, month after month. For example, does your Service Advisor know how to counteract the damage these independent garages inflict? Does he press the advantages of taking their vehicles to the dealer, or how they’ll have a dealer’s tie-in to auto manufacturers? A beef with a repair can be taken up with the manufacturer.
It’s futile to expect things to return to the way they once were; it’s an entirely new economy. It presents difficult challenges that require different strategies. Service Advisor Training teaches how to embrace the new markets’ complexities. The faster you react, the faster you will conquer this dismal market, while the underprepared fall by the wayside.
Anyone who owns a vehicle already realizes that they typically take it in for some type of service at least two or three times per year, the issue is that dealerships also seem to be leading themselves in the wrong direction because they spend far more time training their sales staff than they spend training their Service Advisors. It could be argued that the Service Advisor see sees five to ten times as many customers as sales and produces three times the profit, but Dealerships are concerned about investing the time in training because of the fear of losing profit or not seeing the over all ROI. However, it can be done efficiently through the real-time courses that are available today.
Automotive Service Advisor Training
It is pretty obvious that service advisors need to know quite a bit about how automobiles work, so they can appear to know what they are talking about when informing customers what kind of work needs to be performed. The thing is that most people who know a lot about mechanical issues are not as polished when it comes to dealing with people. This program puts a lot of focus on how to properly assist customers and make them feel comfortable with what the service advisor is telling them through an “interactive walk-around”. Many customers are weary of service department personnel because the customers believe that the employees are trying to use their expert knowledge to take advantage of the customer. This program essentially serves as an agenda of things that the service advisor needs to inform the customer about, and this will develop a solid relationship between the advisor and customer. Dealerships will definitely see an increase in profits by using this training program, so it is well worth the minimal investment. The best news is that the service advisor will never have to be away from customers, so it is essentially like paid training for the employee and the dealership.
Real-time auto service advisor training is the perfect answer for any dealership. Dealerships will find that this type of training is ideal because the advisor will never have to leave the dealership, which would cut the dealership’s profits temporarily. This program will turn average service advisors into true professionals, and the dealership will make even more money through the service department.
With an innovative and thorough way to maximize profits, Volvo Cars of North America has revised the former way it used to train its dealers. The new method allows the service advisor to work closer with the customer in the initial assessment of issues when the customer arrives in the service bay. By using a checklist to evaluate any concerns that are detected, the service advisor can make recommendations to the customer on additional repairs and services that might be needed.
Chris Dauerer, a vice president with Volvo, states that the Automotive Service Advisor Training program provides a “defined process for the dealer” that in addition to the initial assessment, also has an ongoing follow-up process. He states that the process helps the customer become more aware of things that need repair or replacement such as brakes and tires. It also helps to determine the customer’s needs and wants that may later aid in scheduling repairs.
The Automotive Service Advisor Training costs each dealership $8,000 to participate in the program but has shown to increase the gross profit by $32.50 per repair. This is based on increasing the revenue in service by about $30 and parts by $20. The training is done at the dealership where the trainer can observe the service process and then train personnel on the new method. Based on the average number of repairs done in a year at a typical Volvo dealership, a dealership could see an annual increase in profits around $100,000.
Once a Volvo dealership has operated under the new program for six months, a review is held to determine the success of the new program. If the dealership is following the program adequately, half of the $8,000 is reimbursed. The dealership can recoup the remaining investment after 123 repairs are made.
The Lovering Volvo dealership in Nashua, N.H. has used the Automotive Service Advisor Training at its establishment for one year and has seen service revenues increase by about $2,000 to $3,000 per month. The dealership has seen better organization, more customer involvement and increased upsells on things such as tires, wheel alignment and windshield wipers. The program also helps the service department stay on top of recalls and preparing for upcoming service calls.
The program has also shown an increase in overall customer service scores for Lovering Volvo. In 2010, they received their second-ever Volvo President’s Club award that goes to the top 10 percent of nationwide Volvo dealers.
Dealer Service Academy’s distinct differentiators is the ability to offer leading service expertise, to deliver it via top-notch, interactive implementation and to make the connection between information and action.
Interactivity is our hallmark.