Value Building Service Strategies
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
Customer satisfaction and enhanced profitability are two reasons to incorporate a formalized service process at your dealership.
So how do you get started? Your service process should begin exactly one day before the customer is scheduled to come in, when the Service Advisor (or the person designated by the dealership) calls the customer to confirm the appointment or reschedule if necessary.
For every service appointment you have confirmed in your system, you will prepare four (4) items in advance of the appointment.
This pre-work order presentation file will contain:
• The computerized pre-work order. Print out all the information you now have on the customer—their name, address, phone number, primary concern and service issue(s), mileage, etc.
• Dealership’s service history of the vehicle. You’ll have complete documentation of all the service business they have provided to your dealership.
• Manufacturer’s service record. Every manufacturer has its own acronym. You will need to check and see what the warranty coverage is, if there are any open recall campaigns, or vehicle service agreements that the manufacturer supports which cover this vehicle.
• Maintenance menu to be presented to the customer upon arrival, for necessary scheduled maintenance. If you don't already have one - contact us and we will help you!
Note: A separate, "blank" presentation file should be prepared for "walk-ins" and customers without appointments, ready to have the history and service records dropped-in.
Benefits of this Strategy
With so much of the administration and documentation work done in advance of the customer coming in, you will have reduced the time it takes to do an effective write-up from five to eight minutes to three to four minutes.
Here are some advantages:
• Both service managers and service advisors have access to all pertinent documentation.
• Stores the information in a logical system
• Puts in place a system for retrieving customer information
What about a Service Walk-Around - WITH your customer?
Here are some valuable points you might find by performing this all too important step:
- Obtain the exact mileage on the vehicle
- Provide the customer with menu recommendations – based on mileage
- Cracks in windshields
- Worn wiper blades
- Battery check
- Inspect under hood and top-off washer fluid
- Inspect tires worn past the wear bar (a real safety issue)
- Broken or cracked tail or headlight lenses
- Noises or anything obvious
- Upholstery and carpet tears or stains
- Cracked or broken moldings
- Increased rapport with your customer
- Make recommendations
- Ask for the sale
- The customer’s vehicle is, in fact, your greatest selling tool.
And all these things add up to potential profits! In fact, some dealers have created an entirely new profit center out of small dent and body repairs combined with detailing services. Those who don’t can still profit big by utilizing vendors for these and other services.
Consider the above situation. Without a walk around with your customer present, the shop was sure to lose money and a repeat customer. Not to mention getting a low satisfaction score. But with a different process in place, look what happens:
Service Advisor to Customer:
“I notice you have a few door dings. We offer a service that can take care of up to three small dings like this for only $95.00! Would you like us to take care of that while you’re in for service today?”
Performing a proper service walk around not only saves you money, it can make you money too!
Your success doesn’t depend so much on your products so much as it depends on your time management and people skills.
Interested in how the process could work for your organization? Let’s talk!