As October closes out and we head into November, it is almost impossible to believe we are still working within the confines of the “New Normal” that the pandemic has placed upon us. One positive element that was highlighted, though, is the absolute importance of the Service Department in the dealership. From the onset of this in March, service was deemed essential and stayed open to not only provide services to the community, but also to keep the lights on at the dealership.
Marketing service has been hit or miss across the board with dealerships, but during the pandemic, service digital advertising increased by up to 48% according to an article in Automotive News. Dealers were faced with the need to send targeted messages via video, social channels, and paid search, and saw lifts in website traffic and ROs because of the investment.
With all this new traffic and a stronger focus on your Service Department, how are you handling the additional traffic, leads, phone calls, and communication with customers? Here are three ways to ensure your messaging is getting to your customers and you don’t miss a single opportunity.
Online Appointment Scheduler
One thing we have learned through this pandemic is the importance of our online and digital presence. Website traffic is up YoY, and people are looking for online solutions from their local dealership.
Service has had many of these tools in place for years, but now we need to ensure they are optimized and highlighted on your website. When was the last time you personally went through your online service scheduler (with the eyes of a customer) and tried to set a service appointment?
If you have not done it recently, I highly recommend taking a moment to do this.
- Is your service scheduler prominent on the Home Page?
- Are there also links in the Parts/Service Navigation Tab?
- Once you are on the scheduler, are there multiple offerings that are easy to read and understand?
- Do you have the most popular service items listed first?
- Do you offer Pickup and Drop Off/Service Loaners/Ride Options for the customers, and it is also an option in the service scheduler?
Our job is to make the process as seamless and frictionless as possible for the consumer, and if you are not inspecting it, you would never know the points of friction or the points of missed opportunity.
And if we are spending an increased amount of money on digital advertising for service, we had better make sure our website, service pages, and scheduler are optimized and ready for them.
Have a Trained Service BDC in Place
BDCs are expensive to hire and expensive to train, but one of the more necessary components of your dealerships. They are the first point of contact (after advertising) for many consumers, and they set the tone for the customer experience. When a customer chooses to call into your dealership with service questions, they need to have someone knowledgeable, friendly, energetic, and competent on the other end of the call.
You should also utilize this team to make outbound calls to your customers with outstanding service needs, declined work, or to make CSI calls. All of this takes training and consistency within the team.
If you are spending money on advertising to get customers to take action, you need to have the team in place to help that customer along their journey. If not, you are wasting advertising dollars.
Also, if you do not have a separate Service BDC team, or are looking for a virtual or offsite solution, let us know and we can help you determine what you need.
Include Sanitization Messaging in your Communication and Advertising
This is still one of the most important messages you can communicate to your customers, and I don’t believe this is going to go away post-pandemic. Customers want and need to be reassured that if they choose to get their service done at your dealership, measures are taken to ensure they are safe. This messaging can be incorporated in your advertising and all communication with the customers. Below are some examples that have been effective in continue to assure customers that their health is your priority:
- Videos that showcase your sanitization process in the service lane
- Messaging in all ad copy that focused on your “At Home” offerings, such as Pickup and Drop Off, Concierge Service, etc…
- Videos, pictures of the sanitized and socially distant but comfortable and inviting waiting area
These offerings will continue to be important to customers, as they have become accustomed to them, and will look for dealerships who offer them. Make sure you stay front of mind with your messaging to them.
- With increased service traffic coming to your website, make sure you inspect and interact with all service touch points on your site. Don’t assume everything is working and definitely don’t assume it is all customer friendly and easy to use.
- Take a moment and listen to your Service BDC and their conversations with the customer. If you need help, we are here!
- Think about ways to utilize video in your messaging to customers. Whether it is on your website, YouTube, or social media, video is the most consumed medium and a great way to use sight, sound, and motion to reach customers.