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Service Valet: It’s Harder than It Looks, Unless You Have the Tools


It seems easy: a clean, fueled and available loaner vehicle parked in the lot; a service advisor who understands the value of excellent customer service; an employee with spare time; and a customer with no spare time.

Why not save the customer a time-consuming trip to the dealership by delivering a loaner to them and bringing their car in for service? All the elements are there for the taking, and all the industry statistics suggest customers desperately want this:

     ►  J.D Power Survey: 35 point (3.5%) average increase in CSI for customers using pick-up and delivery

     ►  DrivingSales Survey: 56% of customers said they would buy cars more often if the experience at the dealership were better

     ►  RedCap RESULTS: More than 70% of customers use pick-up and delivery when offered (with an average of 20% in additional RO value for customers who use pick-up and delivery but that’s a different blog post on the DrivingSales website, "Psychology of Service Valet and the RO Value Increase"). 

It’s the old cliché’: If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it. Before going it alone, consider some of the things we’ve perfected with our Uber-like platform that delivers personalized out-of-store experiences:

     1.  How do you communicate the offer, not to mention the logistics of the transaction, with the customer? Over the phone when taking an appointment? By email, text, postcard? When they’re already in the store?

     2.  How do you route the order to a driver? And what happens if they are not available? Is the customer left hanging out in the wind?

     3.  How do you deliver instructions to the drivers that are specific and unique to the customer and their relationship with you?

     4.  How are you going to collect driver’s license, insurance and credit card information before releasing the loaner? Are they stored in a secured place? (Someday, we’ll blog about the service advisor who was stealing customer credit card information and the six figures in restitution it cost the dealership. We won’t disclose names, of course.)

     5.  Does the loaner paperwork need to be signed? Does the driver need to confirm the identity of the person taking control of the loaner? What if that person is the customer’s spouse or employee?

     6.  What happens if a driver gets lost driving to the customer location and will be late for the drop-off time? Does she call the service advisor to get directions? Does the driver call the customer to notify her that delivery will be late?

     7.  How do you track your driver and make sure they are executing the trip as efficiently as possible?

     8.  Are your drivers driving safely? Are they texting and driving? What happens if they get into a fender bender? A serious accident?

     9.  What happens if the customer is not on location at the time of the pick-up or drop-off? What if the location is in a downtown area, how is the driver going to handle parking and the key exchange at a high rise office building?

     10.  Do you want just any employee delivering a loaner vehicle? What if the customer doesn’t recognize the driver? Are they going to turn over their keys to someone they don’t know?

     11.  How do you coordinate a consistent service across all service advisors? Across other functions or departments, such as the BDC, loaner desk and cashier?

     12.  What’s the ROI? Are you considering loaner turn time in the ROI calculation? RO value? Employee efficiency? Are you even able to report on these metrics?

     13.  Is there a service to sale opportunity with pick-up and delivery? What’s the best way to capitalize on it?

These are just some of the issues we’ve thought through before releasing our platform, and some we’ve experienced (unpleasantly) through trial and error. You can benefit from our experience, go it alone, or not offer out-of-store experiences at all. But, without doubt, dealerships will have to grapple with the trend. Consumers want the same level of accommodation and convenience they experience in other aspects of the consumer economy. After all, any consumer item can be purchased in the comfort of your home and delivered to your door step (soon within 30 minutes by drone for many items).

The thought leaders at RedCap spend every waking moment on how to improve the customer experience through a combination of technology, workflows and training. We’re happy to share our knowledge (and even happier to demo our technology or design a pilot for your store). You can stay current by reading our Out-of-Store Experience blog at the DrivingSales website. 

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