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Andrew Metcalf

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Is your Service door locked to more customers? Your Service web page shouldn't be either.

Silly question, but it holds truth. Everyday we review Service pages and Fixed Ops strategies and find one common trend; Fixed Ops is often over looked and additional business turned away, and the revenue that goes with it.  When comparing the opposite spectrum, sales, we find the reverse to be true: The funnel is readily available and channels the customers straight to the dealership, whether that's by phone, price acquisition or contact information. 

Your internet-savvy web customer has all the information they seek whether it's pricing, location or comparisons, on demand. They've landed on your site with a purpose; this could be referrals from a popular third party, a vehicle they've been searching for or whatever the case, but this customer is on your site. There is a proper sales funnel to capture them with few to no obstacles. 

Let's compare:

When it comes to Service, we see one main funnel and one streamlined goal - fill out a contact form.  Perfect! A customer who is on your Dealership Service page seeking a Service appointment can't get anymore targeted. So why then, do we see average web Service conversions accounting for less then 20% of total traffic to that page? (Numbers based off our benchmarks). 

Quick answer, roadblocks

1) Some forms require a customer to register. 

2) Some forms require a customer to diagnose the issue. 

3) Some forms are just too long. 

4) Some forms require a login. 

5) Slow Mobile form. 

6) No Mobile form. 

Ask yourself if a customer was interested in a car on your website: Would you ask them to fill out a finance form prior to knowing who they are? The same sales funnel that is in place for most automotive dealership sites today can be reciprocated into service. Create simplicity. 

The next time you complete a site audit, analyze your Service numbers. Look at the total unique visitor count to the Automotive Service scheduling page and observe how many leads were filled out. Lastly, check to see what the actual show rate of those web Service appointments are. We've seen 10, 15, even 20% differences in show rates dependent on the type of form and follow-up that occurs.

Ask these simple questions:

- Is the form easy to use?

- Do you have a Service Department page that then promotes specials and has no flow to an appointment form? 

- Is the appointment form an arduous exam customers are forced to complete, or a user-friendly form with high conversions and higher show rates?

- Do you have a mobile solution? (On average 40% of all website traffic is now mobile / ~30% of mobile has never been to your site). 

- Does my Service scheduler have to load?

Keep in mind when a service scheduler is "integrated" or tied into a Dealer Management System it must load data from the DMS, which can cause slow load times and lost business. 

Each dealer has different goals when it comes to Fixed Ops, but if you have room to schedule more Services - and the additional revenue they bring - you should. With simple changes to your Service page funnel you can "Unlock" your Service door to additional and happier customers.


Written by Andrew Metcalf, CMO. 

Matt Lowery
Our problem is that they think when they fill out an appointment form that the appointment is now set. In our store, we are booking 3 to 4 days out for appointments, but when they use the internet to come in tomorrow, they think its set. Its something we fight with constantly, we want to make it easy and get their information, but when you call and tell the customer you cant get them in tomorrow after they set it up, they arent very happy.
Peter Chung
That's what we thought also, until we realized that is our problem and not the customers. We utilized Adworkz Appt scheduler and just controlled the stream of customers. I realized it was better to have too many customers (we are now open 7 days a week for all service work) instead of not enough. I remember this was the same issue we had with sales internet leads...instead of looking at too many as a problem we found an answer... we created a BDC to handle the volume of sales leads. We now have a service BDC to handle all the online service appts (about 400+) After you see the light you cant even imagine what the business is like without it...(Internet, Webpages, Google, CRM, Email, Content Marketing, SEO, SEM, etc...) These are all good if you can figure them out and use them as TOOLS.
Andrew Metcalf
Matt, as common as you may think this is happening across the board from my data it's often not the case. Though to your point, if you're unable to intake an appointment 3 to 4 days out from the current day you are probably looking for more efficiency rather then volume. There are a number of solutions to accommodate both, have you tested multiple appointment schedulers? Also in your current process do you utilize a BDC for follow up? Often I've found that high volume web service dealers are realistically scheduling 10-20 service appointments online a day (which is realistically about 10% of total ROs). Utilizing a BDC to follow up with each appointment requested. In that a small percentage, usually 8-10%, need to be reached for follow up for overlap. Digging deeper on this a majority of those customers are quick lube/oil service requests which overall are 15-20minute face time intervals through a service advisor. Which allows for short wait times and still having the customer come to you. But back to your point - there are ways to streamline efficiency and volume utilizing services that our out today. Features including time buffers not allowing a customer to book a time within 72 hours, bookings per time slot adding caps to what is available, the biggest thing here that I've found is creating impulse and ease of use. Rather then asking for customer information, something as simple as choosing when to come in (which is controlled by you).
Jim Bell
Great points for all to take into account. Vendors that have the scheduling form tied into the DMS need to make adjustments where you don't need a login. We all have enough logins and passwords with upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols in them. It's just too much to ask of a customer to remember one more when they only use it once every 3-5 months.

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