Are you giving your customers the experience they want?

By: John Traver

One of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, coined the phrase: “Time is money”, back in 1748.

Today, in 2022 America, those three words still ring true. But if you’re in charge of your dealership’s Fixed Ops department, time is not just money, it is also the road to a better customer experience.

I’ve identified six “way stations” during the service customer’s typical journey, where you have a chance to maximize the customer experience.


The Phones

A customer’s journey most often begins with a phone call: 70 percent of ROs start there. We know that three-quarters of the calls into a dealership are service calls. But all calls are not equal. It’s estimated that 20 to 25 percent of calls to a dealership’s service department are missed. And the ones that connect are often frustrated with long hold times. Remember, this is where your BDC solution starts: on the phones.

Action: Invest in your BDC staff through additional best practices training and on-going mentoring.


Pickup and Delivery

Customers will pay for an enhanced experience. Like with Amazon Prime, membership has its privileges. For vehicle service departments, it can be a customer privilege such as your team picking up their car for service and delivering it back to the customer.

Action: Don’t be intimated. Be prepared to find out what the customer wants and deal with any mistakes later.


The Lane Experience

When your advisors no longer have to juggle phone calls, they have more time to spend with customers. The Return on Time (ROT) saved is a half-hour per repair order.  This means your advisors have more time to upsell, listen to customers, load your shop with appointments and update customer information.

Action: Give your advisors more time to interact with customers and less time dealing with phone calls and other distractions.


Text Updates w/AI

Whether because of their busy schedule or a concern about privacy, people over 50 prefer not to pick up a phone. Yet customers expect and deserve updates. They want to keep informed.

AI-generated text messages can enable your customers to follow the work performed on their car, from start to finish.

Action: Fill in any communication gaps by providing your customers with status updates to their service with an AI-tool.


Mobile Payments

Don’t force your customers to go to a counter inside the dealership to pay. Give them a touchless option for payment. Simply put, mobile payments enable a speedy checkout and improve the customer experience.

Action: Offer mobile payment options to your service customers.


Load Your Shop with Next Appointments

Use texting to remind people of their scheduled appointments.  Text messages have a 98 percent open rate. Practice what Amazon calls “Day 1 Mentality.” Treat every day as if it is the first day of a new technology company startup. Focus on what the customer needs and expects. Do it. Do it again. Do it once more.

Action: If the sky is the limit, determine how high the sky.


Big Rocks, Little Rocks

I believe if you want to be effective, you must do the right things first. I call this the “big rocks” category. A big rock is what your customers want. Start with those big rocks, then add the smaller rocks of making your service center more efficient as needed.


Are you ready to maximize your customer experience? Click below to schedule a demo.