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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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5 Ways to Run a Successful X-Change Program

It is no secret that your service customers are valuable! And while there is a lot of debate on what the best practices are for “X-Change” programs are - here are some best practices for running a successful program. Ones that will encourage the service advisors to assist with the growth and development of without fighting back!

  1. The Service Advisor should be a part of the “X-Change” program. Remember, the advisor is the one that has “carried” on the relationship with the customer when s/he purchased the vehicle. All too often, the sales consultant approaches the customer with a hard sales tactic. One that turns off the customer. Whereas, the advisor - who has rapport and trust with the customer - can offer the program instead of an expensive shop bill. As if they are “watching” out for them.

  2. Have a Service Liaison in the lane that can assist the advisor with the greeting of customers as they make their way into the lane. This will not only ensure that the customer is greeting within OEM standards (many of which are within a minute), but are also “checked” in and ready to go when the advisor becomes available.

  3. Use a CRM/DMS program that is linked or a part of the appointment software. Namely, if you use a program that is familiar to both the service advisor and service liaison s/he will easily be able to identify customers in equitable positions. Allowing them to inform the service manager before their visit, which allows the service manager to notify the advisor. Teamwork makes for dream work. Dreamwork makes for happy customers and profits!

  4. If the customer agrees to “reviewing” the program make sure to have the car of choice pulled into the lane so as the customer is checked in they are test driving the new vehicle. This allows for a cohesive flow. Allowing the sales department to appraise the vehicle while they are test driving!

  5. if the customer is not inclined to participate in the program offer a “soft” approach by including a “payment” summary quote of a similar vehicle with their service paperwork. Sometimes an “extra” touch peaks their interest. You can also use a hangtag in the vehicle as well. 

Lastly, make sure to not “over-sell” this program. Whether that is sending too many emails - more than one per month - in addition to the regular marketing. Instead, make sure to have strong POP marketing that is in the lane as well as the customer lounge. And remember, this a soft sales approach. Too much marketing can cause for opt-outs and upset customers!

How do you run your service “X-Change” program? What are some of your best practices? Do you have sales consultants manage it?

 

Guy Tonti

Above our good, but they skip a couple pre-steps we see in our work with dealerships  successful with this.  If you start the communication too hard with the Service Advisor the customer may not be in the proper mindset for the message:

  • Make the program well advertised and consistent.  Customers prefer a program when they believe the dealership is not "making something up", so if they see it as a consistent program they are more willing to listen.
  • Dedicated a sales team (or at least a person) specifically for this, someone the Service Advisor can hand the customer off to.  This is not the usual "up" coming in through the front door, often not even thinking about a trade-in.  Having a sales person (or team) who recognizes this in the conversations they have with the customer is needed.

(sales pitch time for my company :-)

We work with dealerships to produce custom TV channels playing throughout the store that reinforce the marketing and sales philosophy of the store. 

Dealerships with X-Change programs that do the bullets above, advertise it on static signs and our TV channels, AND include personal information about the sales people who work this process, see success in the program; and makes Derrick's points about the Service Advisor start the process more successful.

Tori Zinger

There's a discussion going on about this in the community right now, Derrick - would love to have you input!

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