Four Tips to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Dealership

In 2019, dealerships have a lot of competition when it comes to returning buyers, servicing, and simple repairs. However, if you focus on the customer experience first, you’ll keep them coming back for years to come. Nowadays, it’s not just their time at your dealership that counts, but also their convenience when visiting your website or waiting for their vehicle to be serviced.

The auto industry is evolving every day, and the way your customers experience your business is changing, too. Below, we have four tips that will keep customers coming back to your dealership.

 

Prioritize A Simple, Effective, & Informative Online Experience

Obviously, smartphones are everywhere. We all know it, and because of this fact, the way customers experience your business begins with a Google search. Typically, they’ll see a list of businesses (on Google My Business)  in their area that match what they typed in. They’ll go through, read reviews, look at pictures you upload, and then they’ll go to your website.

Customer service begins at first touch– your website. If it’s easy to navigate, provides useful information, and puts simplifying the customer experience first, then you’re much more likely to gain their business– and keep it.

 

Be Transparent With Customers

First and foremost, this will gain your customer trust. People know when salesmen are just trying to close a deal. It’s also safe to say many dealerships believe front end sales are where all of their money is made. However, in today’s market, it’s not so simple.

If you treat a customer well and prioritize their comfort, they’ll be more likely to come back for business and refer you. Beyond that, when you set expectations,  provide exact costs, estimates, rebates, and work with them through every step of the process, you’ll develop a positive relationship.

However, as you’ll probably guess, this transparency doesn’t end with the in-person meetings. The best dealerships have software in place that will calculate everything a customer needs to know, instantly, for their purchase– including all of the things (and more) that we listed above. Whether it’s for service, or simply offering information, you can send out automated text alerts for customers to stay updated, giving them another easy way to connect with you.

 

Keep In Touch With Customers

Whether it’s through emails, texts, or phone calls, it’s important to check in with customers every now and then. This isn’t to suggest you should pester them on a regular basis (don’t do that), but sending out promotions every now and then is never a bad idea. Beyond that, if you have a social media page, that can be a great way to stay in contact with customers and provide updates on anything you’re doing that they may be interested in.

 

Have A Management Software System In Place

We touched on it a little bit above, but it’s crucial to have a system in place that helps make the customer experience as easy and informative as possible. In 2019, the majority of the most successful dealerships have a software system in place that not only increases operational efficiency, but also can create custom forms, email templates for promotions, provide customers with text message updates on services, and inform them of pricing and estimates on the fly.

 

AutoMobile Technologies

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your dealership more efficient, provide your customers with the information they need, offer you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

Repair360 Back Office 3.4.5

Search for clients not only by keywords, but also by customer name, wholesale or retail type, contact address, email address, and phone number.

New Features

  • Advanced search for clients

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ReconPro Back Office 2.7.5.0

Filter report data by client’s area instead of team’s area, use chat to submit support tickets, and configure displaying not damaged vehicle parts on printouts

Improvements

  • Showing mileage in the Duplicates by VIN report
  • Using client’s area instead of team’s area in reports
    Submitting support requests via chat
  • Configure showing No Damage vehicle parts on printouts

Fixed Issues

  • Issue with exporting invoices to QuickBooks due to duplicate services

See the details of the improvements here.

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ReconPro mobile app 2.17.8 for iOS devices

Send the Lot Walk approval link not only to customer’s email address but also to any other email addresses that you specify, and other improvements

Improvements

  • Send the Lot Walk approval link to additional recipients
  • Copying question answer notes to question answer services
  • No editing of ‘On Hold’ work orders
  • Showing part info in linked labor services

Fixed Issues

  • There was an issue with categorization of not configured part services

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NADA Chairman Says Dealerships Need To Be Active “Now More Than Ever”

According to NADA News, the new NADA Chairman, Charlie Gilchrist, strongly recommended that franchise-owned dealerships need to be active in NADA “now more than ever.”

He continued on with his recent speech in San Francisco and said: “I want you to think of your association as your second identity. It’s always a part of you, and it’s always there. That’s a big deal, whether you’ve been working in this industry for decades or you’re just getting started.”

President of Gilchrest Automotive, Charlie Gilchrist, has franchises including Ram, Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler all in the DFW area of Texas. His obvious success quickly reminded everyone in the Moscone Center that being a franchise owner is the best way in the world to distribute vehicles. However, he also discussed some of the major challenges dealerships of all sizes are familiar with and will have to prepare for down the line.

“My challenge to each of you today is to get involved,” Gilchrist said. “You are not just ‘a member’ of NADA. You are NADA.” He then followed up with: “Profitability in our new-vehicle department is a serious issue. This means we have to be better, and more creative, at running the rest of the store. We must adapt to this reality to survive in this new world.”

Beyond that, according to NADA News, Gilchrist urged the entire auto industry to unite together to help tackle the issue of technician shortages in the retail sector by supporting the NADA Foundation Workforce Initiative.

With the shortage of technicians and the many challenges ahead for dealerships in 2019, software companies are working hard to help manage and automate the workflow of dealership operations. Among the leading products is ReconMonitor, a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto remarketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your dealership’s operational control and profitability.

When Should You Update Your PDR Workflow Process?

It’s challenging knowing exactly when you should update your workflow process. But if you’re finding that vehicle repair cycles are taking longer than they should, or are simply overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and approvals you need to sift through, it may be time for some change.

 

Who’s Accountable?

First and foremost, one of the biggest challenges in the PDR business involves accountability. When a job takes too long or a problem arises, who exactly is responsible? In most cases, it would simply be in the hands of the operational manager, regardless of whether it’s actually on them. It’s important to know where the constraints are, who made the mistakes or isn’t pulling their weight, and to incentivize your team to work as efficiently as possible. To do that, you need reliable and timely information.

 

How Fast Are Vehicles Worked On?

At the end of the day, the shorter your cycle time, the faster the throughput. If vehicles with small dents are taking 8 hours when it should be a 2-hour job, then it’s time to reconsider your PDR process. Each vehicle holding up space in the shop and demanding technician time is preventing your business from working on the next one, and thereby making more money along the way.

 

Other Shops Are Making The Updates, And So Should You

Right now, the most successful shops are the ones leading the charge in constantly adapting to the PDR world. You don’t want to fall behind or simply follow the trends, but rather predict where the trends will go. Running a PDR business should involve constant improvements so you can stay profitable and competitive. If the most successful businesses are doing it (and some are your local competition), chances are it might not be a bad idea to upgrade and adapt in your own way.

For many PDR shops across the US, implementing a workflow management system has been a complete game changer. Workflow management systems let you access vehicle information, repair costs, perform PDR and hail damage estimates, create invoices, monitor vehicles statuses, and much more in real-time on your desktop or mobile device. To stay ahead of the curve, you want to constantly adapt, and to adapt effectively, you’ll want to use the best tools available. Having complete visibility of your back-office operations as well as your repair work is the best way to constantly improve your PDR process.

 

AutoMobile Technologies ReconPro

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing PDR estimates, hail and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.

ReconPro Starter mobile app 3.4.8

Use conventional repair pricing information for price matrix services if paintless dent repair or any other repair type is less appropriate for your customers

New Features

  • Conventional Repair

Improvements

  • Improved search for parts
  • Auto-scrolling to the answered question

See the details of the new feature and improvements here.

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Repair360 mobile app 3.4.8

Look for parts by using the Search bar that is always visible, and see search results after typing a keyword and tapping the Search key

Improvements

  • Improved search for parts

See the details of the improvement here.

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Retired NADA Chairman Says Dealerships Are Writing The Future

Wes Lutz – Former NADA Chair

Recently in a speech in San Francisco, now retired NADA Chairman, Wes Lutz, advocated for dealerships in America to fully embrace the changing times for dealerships. Advising them to truly listen to their customers and discussing what the future of the auto industry holds.

According to NADA News, Wes Lutz is the president of Extreme-Dodge-Chrysler-Ram in Jackson, Michigan. Lutz was the head of NADA and was there to see new-vehicle sales go beyond 17 million units. However, he also predicted that personal vehicle ownership would eventually end.

“As I traveled around the world in 2018, my biggest takeaway was this” So many people want to write our narrative. They say that dealerships are fighting the inevitable, that change is coming and we don’t like it,” he said during his speech. “The truth is that we love change. Change is not happening fast enough for us. Dealers aren’t fighting the future, we’re writing it.”

Lutz continued on: “People prize convenience above all else. People value freedom above all else. The ability to just get up and go without waiting for anyone is a luxury that people don’t want to give up – they can’t afford to. Which is why people have very little interest in giving up their keys, despite what Wall Street or Silicon Valley says.”

With customer convenience at the forefront of dealership focus, software companies have management software available to help make dealership operations, and the customer’s life as easy as possible. Products, like ReconMonitor, have fully customizable forms and triggers that can notify customers of their vehicle’s status, and alert vendors and employees when their work is coming up. No more phone calls required to keep everyone informed.

ReconMonitor Back Office 3.4.4

Track the history of changes made to registered devices and filter devices by the team, license number, name, platform, and app version.

New Features

  • Audit log for device management
  • Advanced search for device management

Improvements

  • Change the price and quantity of repair order services
  • Read-only PO# in invoiced repair orders
  • Displaying part categorization in italics

Fixed Issues

  • Repair orders closed in ReconPro Back Office were still shown in ReconMonitor Back Office as “In Progress”
  • Incorrect data was displayed on the Repair Orders page after changing repair location

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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