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Will McGinnis

Will McGinnis National Sales Trainer

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4 Simple Ways To Improve Your SERVICE Marketing

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I’ll give you the answer. It’s yes.

How many times over the last couple months has someone at some conference talked to you about your service department? Have you changed anything? My guess is maybe a little but not enough. I know that there are a lot of challenges in making changes to your dealership but how much money are you not making due to the lack of change?

Today my wife told me that she needed to get an oil change. As I sat here at my desk, I saw her type into Google: “Oil Change Owings Mills”. It’s pretty astonishing to have seen the results and you probably know what I’m about to say. One…Count one franchise dealer showed up in the results and even that led her right to the “group home page” with no easy route to accomplish her goal of setting an appointment for an oil change.

The fact of the matter is that we as an industry have failed our customers. Sure, there are a majority of you that get enough work to be satisfied but is it enough? Customers are BEGGING for a trustworthy place to take their vehicle to be maintained but we ignore them. Heck, we don’t even try to be in front of them and they are trying to give you money.

Here are a few steps to at least right your ship:

  1.  Add significant information to your service page. Consumers want to know about your “Factory Trained Technicians” but they also want detailed information about what they can get from you in regards to service. Have you checked out Jiffy Lube’s website? Mr. Tire?
  2. Make it simple to make an appointment that is easily confirmed. On a Chevy site that I ended up making the appointment on, it took me about 15 clicks to find out they have no availability until Thursday. But hey, that’s better than a template that I submit my info on and never get a reply.
  3. In addition to #1 above, if you’re investing on SEM for your retail sales, are you investing any to service?
  4. The number one thing that most consumers are looking to do is get their oil changed. Make it easy for them to accomplish that with you versus these box store guys. Price. Speed (Time in your store). Quality.
  5. **BONUS TIP** - "Dealers need to understand customers are searching for this information and solve their problems by including this type of secondary content within their website." Says, Eric Miltsch, President, Command Z Automotive Consulting. "Not only can this answer specific (local) user intent, it should also be integrated into other areas of targeted distribution such as email marketing, PPC and paid social distribution to increase conversion opportunities."

(The only thing good about this "Live" site is the giant "Make An Appointment" button.)

In my last post I discussed making your customers lives better by simplifying and speeding up the buying process. It’s not a coincidence that I am now talking about “simplifying and speeding up” their service needs. This is the generation we live in. We don’t get to choose it but you can capitalize on it by adjusting to those needs and thus building your brand, capturing market share back and growing your business.

Carpe diem. 

Michael Baker
Discovered years ago to gain great return customer retention, 'actively' vs 'passively', at time of delivery, coordinate an appointment date, via your Customer Relations staff or BDC based on the miles each customer drives/month relative to factory or owners' manual recommended interval services. Strongly suggest doing this for Both pre-owned as New sales. Establish a tactful and personalized BDC reminder system for all your customer's appointments. Assigning a service adviser at time of delivery, with a physical introduction during operational hours is icing on the cake combined with 'the' service adviser's follow-ups. No hypothetical here, just proven results. Of course, coordination with service management supporting the follow up with 'monitoring' by the advisers immediately post delivery with congrats, and again before appointment as a personal reminder by her/him retention rocks. Unbiased, aligning female buyers with a female adviser gains excellent retention post sale.
Larry Schlagheck
Just took the challenge Will and punched in "oil change northville, mi". Results: 1) Three paid ads from Firestone, Goodyear, and Shelton Buick (36 miles from my home). 2) Organic included Yellow Pages, Jim's Oil Depot (local independent shop), Jiffy Lube, and Valvoline Instant Oil Change.
Will McGinnis
Great input, Michael! Thank you for your comments. You're absolutely right and it doesn't end with just getting your front end marketing in order. @Larry! It's crazy isn't it?!?! Just a little tweaking here and there and dealers can at least start to conquest some of these customers back. Thanks for the comments.
Brandon Abel
Marketing the Service shop presents a list of specific targets with SEM that could be focused on with individual web pages. Using Will's keyword phrasing you can build a list of the obvious search keywords by combining "service + location". Guess all of the searches your potential customers will be typing in that relate to your services. Then design a single page of the site to match each keyword phrase. This can turn out to be a lot of work but really that's what the game is about, outworking your competition with the right actions. There are other factors to helping sites rank organically but none of it matters if you haven't built a solid foundation with the actual pages targeting the keywords you are in the game to rank for. Phase two of course is making it easy for a lead to connect from Any And All pages on your site with ONE click. (Not 15 clicks) This is as simple as putting a duplicated contact form into the page template itself. At the very least a big obvious button inviting people to connect needs to be a permanent fixture on every page.

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