Stopping the clock and responding to leads quickly is a critical part of any service manager’s day. Not only because the manufacturer demands we answer quickly, but also because with each minute we ignore a customer, the chance of connecting, engaging, and confirming an appointment decline dramatically.
Dealerships need to have a strategic plan for the initial response to a service appointment or teleservice request and to be prepared for the confirmation, follow-up, and loyalty/review calls that must happen. BCP works with thousands of dealerships, and we noticed that while some are great at responding initially to customers (many because they utilize our services), the long-term follow-up is lacking, leaving service dollars on the table. In addition, think about declined service, losing loyal customers, and defectors. If you are not reaching out to these customers, not only are you missing money, but also may have issues with your manufacturer.
Here are 4 things to consider with service follow-up, and some tips on how to simplify it and make it more effective.
This seems like a common practice, and it should be. However, there are still many dealers who do not confirm the appointment or are not utilizing text to confirm appointments. Customers have become accustomed to receiving texts confirmations and reminders of all appointments, and expect them from your service center as well. In an independent study, dealerships that sent customers automated appointment reminders via text message saw an average of 6% higher show rate than dealerships that do not.
Make sure that you are not only confirming appointments via call/email, but you have incorporated texting into the cadence.
In every OEM I have worked with, CSI and Reviews are on the top of the list for things to monitor and continuously elevate. And while not every situation is manageable, engaging with the customer is.
There are two elements to Improving CSI and Reviews: the first is ensuring you are getting enough of a sample to have an accurate start rating. If you are not soliciting reviews in the service lane, you are missing out on positive reviews. The likelihood of a happy or satisfied customer leaving a review after they walk off the lot goes down dramatically as opposed to asking a customer for the review while they are finishing up with the service advisor. Make sure asking for the review becomes part of the process for every happy customer. The more reviews you have, the easier it is to offset a negative review. And Google looks at the number of reviews as a portion of how they rank relevancy in searches. More reviews = better local SEO.
One final thing with soliciting reviews--make sure you are sending the review to the correct Google My Business page. If you have separated your GMB pages into sales and service, make sure you are sending the reviews to the service page. Many times we have seen dealerships create a Service GMB page, but then not add images to the page and continue to send reviews to the sales page. Not only does this defeat the purpose of separating the pages, but it buries your new page.
The second is ensuring you are responding to reviews. We have written on the importance of review responses before, and if you want to dig a little deeper into it, read this. This engagement is of the utmost importance, not only to the customer who left the review but to all the customers reading through the reviews and deciding if they want to do business with you. Review responses and customer engagement matter not only with your current customers but also with future ones.
Service Effectiveness, Market Share, and Owning Your Back Yard
How many UIOs (units in operation) are in your market for your brand? What is the percentage of them who come to your dealership for service? These are questions I have heard over and over when sitting in discussions with the service manager and the manufacturer. These are customers who have bought a vehicle in your brand, and may or may not be getting service done at your dealership.
You need to engage these customers and own your market. One of the most effective ways to do this is to consistently and effectively engage with your customers. When was the last time you reached out to sold not serviced customers? Do you have a plan of engagement for communicating with customers who own your brand in your market, but are going to the independents to get their service completed?
- Get a list of Sold not Serviced and send them a video or text message with the value propositions of your dealership
- Engage with customers in your brand and in your market who have never serviced with you. Send an offer that would pique their interest and get them into the store
- Do you offer Pickup and Drop-off? Do you have valet services? Is your waiting room enhanced with technology? Focus on these elements and paint a picture of why the experience would be better at your dealership.
- With any email communications, create a custom audience in Facebook and target those customers as well with a specific message that mirrors the email message
All of these engagement ideas will not only help gain back defectors but also win your market’s business.
Video Video Video
This is not the first time you have heard this, and it won’t be the last. Video is the best way to engage with your customers, communicate while working on the vehicle, and follow up on reviews, CSI, and the service experience. Video emails have a 53% higher click to open rate over regular text-based emails, and tech videos increased the average RO by $125. Videos create transparency, trust, and familiarity with the customer that they would not receive otherwise. If you are not using tech videos, or if you are having a hard time getting the team to adapt, this should be where you focus your attention. If you have this mastered, then make sure that you are utilizing video in text messaging, emails, and other forms of communication with your customers. They appreciate it and are starting to get accustomed to it.
Engaging with your service customers is critical to continued success. Continued contact with your manifest lists is necessary to build your market share and meet your revenue goals. If you do not have a BDC, or your BDC is unable to make these calls, Better Car People is here to help! We can call any lists, and our automotive-specific agents know how to talk to your customers and set appointments. Our combination of intelligent technology and expert staff help ensure that you will not miss a single customer.