They say that when opportunity knocks, you should open the door. Is your dealership’s service department missing opportunities to increase revenue? Let’s take a look at one more item that we have not yet discussed, and then wrap it up with a review of three fixed ops priorities from the previous articles in this series.
NOTE: Much of the information from this series was taken from the Fixed Ops Digital video “The Revolution.” Even if you don’t use their services, we highly recommend that you check out the insights they provide.
Tires Are More Important Than You Think
In an interview with Automotive News, Scott Mueller (Owner of Dealer Tire, LLC) made the comment that “People who buy tires at a dealership will buy 2.5 times more service over the life of the vehicle, [and] they’ll visit dealers three times as much.” He also mentioned that “tires are the first defection point.” (click here to read the full article)
Owen Moon, from Fixed Ops Digital, encouraged dealers to do a Google search for “Tires Near Me.” In most cases, you won’t see any franchise dealers on the first page (I didn’t find any dealerships until the bottom of the second page). Based on this information and Mr. Mueller’s comments above, do you think your dealership places enough emphasis on tire sales?
At one dealership where I took my previous vehicle for servicing, my service advisor was actually really good about selling me tires. And as a result, I did buy tires from them. But, this information isn’t just important for your fixed operations team, it’s also for your sales team.
Last year, I purchased a used vehicle for a dealership that we work with. The sales team was great to work with, and they provided a really good customer experience. That’s not easy, because, by default, I’m a difficult and impatient car buyer.
I had noticed that the used vehicle I was buying was going to need a new set of tires, and I had immediate plans to take care of that. Because the dealership had taken good care of me, I thought I would give them more of my business by purchasing my tires from them as well. So I asked my salesman if I could buy a new set of tires from their dealership and have them installed.
To my surprise, he recommended going to one of the local tire shops because it would be about the same price. Now perhaps there was a good reason why he didn’t want to sell me tires. Perhaps the dealership’s service department was backed up and had requested no more tire installs.
Whatever the reason, from my perspective, the dealership had just missed an opportunity. Not just to sell some tires, but to gain a long-term customer. This brings up an important question, is your sales team taking advantage of opportunities to sell your services?
Priority #1) Connect With Your Customers
Connecting with customers is an important part of converting. Connecting with customers tends to be a very generic process since you generally don’t know what services they need or when they need them. So how do you make meaningful connections that improve conversion rates?
The key is to leverage technology in a way that benefits both the customer and your service team. This starts with helping potential customers to find your services. As mentioned in the third article in this series, most dealerships don’t even show up in search results for dealer parts or services. Remember, digital marketing is not just for your showroom.
The second part of this is making the conversion process simple for your customers with online scheduling and digital coupons. Fixed Ops Digital enables customers to add service coupons to their smartphone’s digital wallet. This then enables your service department to track what services they are looking for and follow up with information that is relevant to your customers. This facilitates more relevant communication and a better conversion rate.
Even if you don’t use a service like Fixed Ops Digital, you can still use your Google My Business listing to highlight your service department and even to highlight your service specials. By providing this information in GMB, it will become more visible to potential customers.
Priority #2) Try to minimize single-line ROs
In our second article, we discussed why providing multiple services to a customer at the same time is more efficient, for both you and your customers, and why it’s also more profitable for your service department.
Accomplishing this requires that you educate your customers. This starts before they walk in your doors by means of the educational content on your website. It then continues in your dealership with your knowledgeable service team.
Priority #3) Providing the Right Customer Experience Is Essential
Just as with the dealership’s showroom, the customer experience generally happens in two parts. There is the important first step of engaging with the customer online, and then there is the actual dealership experience. Make sure you excel at both.
The online part should make it easy for the customer to find the services or parts they need, schedule appointments, and download coupons to their digital wallet.
The in-person part of the experience should, above all else, aim to provide great customer service. A clean waiting room with free coffee and WiFi is great, but if your customer service is bad, nothing else will matter.
A good example of a salesman who assisted with a positive customer experience happened at a dealership in Helena, Montana. I purchased my truck from this dealership. When I would take my truck in for servicing, the salesman who sold me the truck would often come up and talk to me while I was waiting. We would mostly talk about sports and family. If there was a car he thought I might be interested in, he would tell me about it. However, he was never pushy. Had I stayed in Montana, I would likely have bought my next car from him.
That example is what the right customer experience is all about. It’s about making the customer feel like you actually care about them as an individual and meeting their expectations to have the work done the right way. It’s about building trust and loyalty.
“Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” - Seth Godin
With more and more older vehicles on the road today, don’t underestimate the importance of your fixed operations. Not only are there opportunities to increase your fixed operation's revenue, but there is also greater potential to sell more cars to your loyal customers.
And remember, if you do contact Fixed Ops Digital, be sure to tell them that Fast Company sent you.