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I have been running across articles and video over the past month or so that dealers now are “forced” to look at their service drive for vehicles because of the big shortage of used vehicles unable to be found from trade-ins or auctions. My initial thought is if a dealer had a process in place for working current service customers, they may not be faced with the inventory problems they talk about.
A big concern of mine is that I have also ran across quotes of dealer personnel explaining once vehicles become easier to obtain, their plan is not to put as much effort into working the service drive. Are you kidding me? A majority of the customers in the service department have already met you, liked you and purchased from you. I cannot even try to imagine taking the service drive out of the “bag of opportunities” and sure hope other dealers wouldn’t either. Also for those attached to the sales department that currently do not have a process in place for working the service department, it is time to get one going.
A well thought out process for service will give you a better chance to recapture the customer or gain a new one. Also reducing your selling and marketing expense, increasing your sales volume and increasing your preowned inventory.
Keep in mind that we never want this approach to be overwhelming to any of our customers in service waiting on their vehicle. One of the easiest ways to keep the relationship warm with those who have purchased from us already is to meet them in the service department whenever they are in. Even if they purchased just six months ago, how hard is it to walk back and say hello, ask how things are going and even answer a question or two they might have? This will not only make it easier for you when you are ready to remarket on a future service visit but will also make a positive impact regarding loyalty further down the road. Each “touch point” or “moment of truth” is key throughout the ownership period.
Many CRM systems will show the service appointments scheduled for the following day and the next few steps will require a little effort the night before but are well worth it:
Now we have all the necessary information for each customer to get the right game plan together. If the plan is to present a new or newer vehicle to them and work a deal I like to continue with the following the night before:
I believe this approach is more effective than doing an appraisal when the vehicle comes in and leaving a “we want to buy your vehicle” voucher on the dash for the customer to see when they are leaving. How many of them are going to cancel their next set of plans to spend even more time at the dealership to find out more information? I would say not many of them. Or even better, walking up to the customer sitting in service and hitting them up with what I stated above out of nowhere. Get ready to hear “NO” more than ever I promise. The biggest reason is that it is very “pitchy” delivered on the fly and nobody took the time to explain ahead of time catching them off guard. Immediately putting the customer in a defensive frame of mind. It is about the process, approach and delivery.
As we all know there will exceptions just as in anything else but having a solid process in place and sticking to it will result in better results. Of course this isn’t the only way and I am sure many dealers out there have some great processes as well. My reason for sharing is that I believe this variable should not be absent from our everyday business.