It’s rare to find a dealership completely unaware of the value of their service drive. Parts and service sales currently account for 12.5% of new vehicle dealership’s total sales, according to NADA’s latest report. However, few are truly maximizing all the profitable opportunities available in the service drive, discoverable only by connecting a dealership’s service with their sales teams.
In this blog post, we outline three dealership service drive best practices to drive vehicle acquisitions, conquest sales and loyalty through the service drive by:
– Breaking down the barriers between service and sales departments
– Building an effective data-driven service-to-sales process
– Identifying and proactively engaging service-to-sales prospects to drive sales and build long-term customer relationships
Break Down the Barriers Between Service & Sales
Many service drives remained bustling during the early days of the pandemic by serving as hubs of constant customer interaction while sales floors fell quiet. In 2020, sales and service revenue decreased its average share of total dealership revenue by only 0.3% compared to 2019, according to NADA.
However, as customers return to the market quicker than initially anticipated, driven largely by OEM incentives, dealers are presented new opportunities to drive revenue through an effective service-to-sales process.
This starts with breaking down the barriers between your service and sales departments. Many auto dealerships find success by deploying a dedicated service-to-sales manager to identify and engage service-to-sales prospects. Every dealership’s needs are different, so while considering this dedicated service-to-sales staff, assess the value by asking questions like how many repair orders your service drive completes per day and how robust is your current service department.
With many auto dealers strapped to “do more with less,” a dedicated service-to-sales manager may not be possible. In this scenario, many dealers are finding success by utilizing their BDC to proactively identify potential service-to-sales prospects, engaging those prospects and nurturing them through the car buying cycle.
To have an effective automotive service drive sales process do this effectively, your BDC can’t simply view every upcoming service appointment as a potential sale. Instead, leverage insights from your CRM, maturity manager or data mining tool to quickly and easily identify your best service-to-sales opportunities.
Solidify Your Dealership Service-to-Sales Process
Dealerships waiting for customers to decide when and where they want to shop – or have their vehicle serviced – are playing a game of chance with their profits, ignoring tremendous opportunities that come with proactively identifying and engaging prospects. In this same way, building an effective automotive service drive sales service-to-sales process hinges on a dealer’s ability to proactively identify and engage potential service-to-sales prospects.
Identifying prospects before they enter the buying journey requires understanding which consumer behaviors typically precede a purchase, such as changes to a person’s career or a growing family. Behavior prediction technology tools enable dealers to do this by analyzing all the available data in a dealer’s CRM, DMS and sales platform to predict which customers are most likely to be shopping soon.
Forward-thinking dealerships using these tools to proactively engage potential buyers are empowered to meet customers where they are with the right message at the right time, rather than waiting and hoping that customer comes to them. It’s in this way Market EyeQ's Service Conquest feature converts dealership service customers into new car buyers at a 4x higher activation rate than the competition.
Create and Capitalize on Dealer Service Drive Loyalty
One of the most important aspects to any dealership’s long-term success strategy is creating and capitalizing on customer loyalty. Loyalty customers are always the highest profitable sales, and keeping a customer long-term means keeping them from becoming a conquest victory for your competition. OftentimesOften times, this loyalty is built in the service drive, with the number two influence on brand loyalty (only after the sales experience) being a customer’s maintenance and service experience.
Much like identifying service-to-sales prospects, progressive dealerships are taking a proactive approach to building customer loyalty in the service drive to increase service department sales. By utilizing behavior prediction technology, auto dealers can maintain consistent communication with buyers and build long-term customer relationships through convenient service alerts.
By serving as an ongoing customer concierge through well-timed service alerts and following dealership service drive best practices, dealers can build the type of service experience that keeps customers coming back and prioritizes the buyers who are most likely to re-enter the sale cycle soon. By proactively identifying and engaging loyalty customers before they enter the sales cycle, dealers who market with Market EyeQ increase retention sales up to 15%.
While breaking down the barriers between your sales and service teams may seem daunting, the potential benefits that come along with solidifying this automotive service drive sales process in your dealership can’t be ignored. By building a proactive service-to-sales process, supported by data-driven tools and best practices, dealers are empowered to take advantage of additional sales and acquisition opportunities while building long-term loyalty.