Running a used car dealership can be incredibly rewarding for both you, your team and customers. But one of the most significant processes involved in the used car business is reconditioning. Most dealers have an average reconditioning turnaround time of 7 days. However, the best-performing dealers can complete the reconditioning process in 24 hours or less. These are the dealers who know that “time is money” and are determined to get their vehicles ready as soon as possible to get the sales rolling in.
So how can you improve the reconditioning process at your dealership? The following are five proven ways that you can improve:
1) Post descriptions, photos, videos, and prices ASAP
Before you begin any reconditioning work, photos, videos, and your asking prices should be available on your dealership’s website. If your vehicles aren’t photo-ready, then use good quality online stock images as a placeholder until the actual vehicle is ready to be photographed. This allows potential buyers to get a look at the cars you have available and can speed up the purchase process.
2) Have A Reconditioning Team Ready
Having a designated team of individuals specifically for reconditioning will significantly speed up the process. Your service team is already busy enough taking care of repairs and other service operations. Send your acquired auction vehicles directly to a team whose only focus is to recondition cars and make them front line ready.
3) Buy Better Cars
Let’s face it: a used vehicle that is in excellent condition will require less work than a car that is just shy of being a fixer-upper. That’s not to say don’t purchase vehicles that need a thorough reconditioning. If the profit potential is justified, you should acquire the vehicle. However, mix it up with vehicles in better condition to make up for the time it takes to perform longer restorations. The goal is to have a steady stream of sellable inventory hitting the front line.
4) Give Proof
Even if you’re not able to have a separate reconditioning team and the responsibility lies in the hands of your service department, it’s important to give proof of how much additional gross can flow into these departments if they reduce reconditioning cycle-time. When there are delays, everyone loses, including the customers. On the other hand, busy dealerships can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross profit annually by shaving off a couple of days in the detailing/reconditioning process. Encourage your used vehicle and service departments by showing them just how much additional gross can be made if they speed up the process, and reward their improvement. This will give them the incentive to work towards that goal where everyone can benefit.
5) Automatic Approval
Dealers who establish an automatic approval process for reconditioning work will see a significantly faster turnaround time. Set up a baseline cost for pre-approved repairs (the average is between $600 and $800) so that the work can be completed in a timely matter. If the estimated repairs are going to cost more than your range, have managers commit to giving a decision within a couple of hours to expedite the process. You’ll not only save a lot of time, but you’ll also save money and sell your vehicles faster.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also recommend using dealership reconditioning software like ReconMonitor to manage the entire process. Using software to shepherd the process allows you and your team to have all the information at your fingertips. You know the status of each vehicle and the techs know what to do now, what to do next, and any changes to the plans in real-time. Information is power, and ReconMonitor gives you the power to speed up recon and get your cars frontline-ready at maximum speed.
Your website is your first impression for folks looking at dealerships online. Not only is it a representation of your brand, but it’s also a way to attract new customers. In only a matter of moments, a visitor to your website can determine if they want to do business with you. They may not have driven by your dealership or seen your commercials. Therefore, your site is as much of a representation of your dealership as the location itself.
One of the most important attributes of a website is the ability to communicate what the business does and who it serves. Your website needs to be able to answer questions a customer might have and give an accurate representation of your brand. At the same time, you can’t fill your website with so much content that your message is lost.
The following are 5 ways you can improve your dealership’s website:
Although you want your website to pop and grab people’s attention, it’s also important to have white space. This gives the impression of organization and cleanliness in a modern way, focusing the attention on essential aspects within that white space. It can be specific models, categories, new or pre-owned, etc. The possibilities are endless. A recent study by Crazy Egg found that user attention increased by 20% when using white space around images, titles, and text.
Create Calls To Action
People are going to venture onto your website at all times: early in the morning, during the business day, and even in the middle of the night. Calls To Actions (CTAs) are an excellent way for someone to begin communication with you based on what they want. Be careful not to bog down the page with too many CTAs. This can cause your message to be lost in the chaos. Less is more when using Call To Action buttons. Sometimes all you need are “View Details” and “Get ePrice” to adequately serve the needs of someone visiting your website.
Mobile Formatted Website
Not everyone who comes to your website will be on their computer or laptop. This is why your website must also be mobile formatted. Keep it easy to navigate and identical to the desktop version of your website. Many website building software products have built-in responsive design tools that allow your pages to detect the size of the screen being used, and reformat the page for optimal display. Mobile-Friendly websites rank higher in search results done on the phone compared to non-mobile formatted sites. If you want to read more on the statistics of mobile-friendly websites, click here.
Put A Face Behind The Business
When all the focus is on how to drive traffic to your website and improve the overall appearance, many businesses focus on the products and services offered. This can cause them to neglect the actual person-to-person experience. When people go to the dealership, they’re working with a real person. Since a visitor on your website doesn’t have someone greeting them it’s critical to have a page showing pictures of your staff on your website to give the visitor a welcoming vibe. Don’t limit the collection to just the sales team and service advisors either. Include service and reconditioning staff, finance, back-office, and executives, too.
People want to feel like they’re working with someone who genuinely cares about their business and not just after their money. Having a page with staff profiles “humanizes” your website and allows your staff to introduce themselves before someone comes into the dealership.
The photos you use online for the vehicles on sale at your dealership are essential to determine whether or not someone is interested. It’s the product’s first impression, so you want to make sure the cars look their best. Using high-quality images shows your dealership cares about the brand and giving the user the best possible experience online. A study by Cox Automotive found that 90% of customers find photos important when looking for new or used cars online.
There are plenty of other ways you can improve the online experience for your dealership’s website. These are 5 of the primary techniques that the most successful dealerships use for their sites. Give it a try with yours, and the results may surprise you.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of running a thriving dealership. Customer service is improved, financial operations are streamlined, departments work together much more effectively, and more. Customer contact is the very core of what keeps business moving at a dealership. Without customers, there would be no business – plain and simple.
There have been recent significant changes in how dealerships conduct business. More and more dealerships have entered the digital age of technology to serve their customer’s needs better. But how do you create a system of communication amongst your customers that not only shows your location is “current,” but is also capable of meeting their ever-growing demands? Within moments of a customer landing on your website, they know if they want to do business with you. Let’s take a more in-depth look.
Old Meets New
When you look at the customers that come to your dealership, you probably have a wide range of “old meets new.” The “old” would refer to your customers who have been with you since the beginning. They know the quality of service they will be getting and have referred their friends and family to your shop. You know them on a first-name basis and probably did the first oil change on their kid’s car. The “new” refers to the customers who are used to technology being at their fingertips. It’s a way of life for them, and they’d expect the facility caring for their car to be up to those same standards.
What Happens Next
Today, communication is so much more than an email and a phone call. It’s all about taking the standard methods to the next level with tools such as IVM, text messaging, and ringless voicemail technology. These tools will allow you to connect with thousands of customers all at once without the time consuming manual outreach. For example, interactive voice messaging (IVM) can be an automated call to customers that gives them different responsive scheduling options for their appointment.
Texting has also become a primary form of communication and is a great way to communicate with your customers. Customers never want to feel like they aren’t getting the same level of service they can get elsewhere. Without evidence that your dealership is using current technology, some customers could question if their car is being repaired following the latest repair procedures. They could voice their opinion in an online review, letting other customers know of your outdated methods. And that’s when the negative online reviews can start to affect your business.
Communication Is Key
There are several dealers out there who make the same mistake of not keeping in communication with their customers as soon as they drive off the lot. However, communication is critical in all aspects of dealership operations, from sales to service and beyond.
When it comes to the service department, your customers want to feel informed and not left in the dark. They want to know what’s happening throughout their car’s repair and if something comes up. Just waiting for a call from the shop saying, “your car is ready” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Ask your customers how they prefer to be contacted and make it part of their record. Whenever possible, stay connected with your service customers by sending them text messages throughout the process of their repair. If something bigger comes up that didn’t appear in the estimate, call them and follow it up with an urgent text.
To run a successful dealership is to have multiple communication methods to your customers. It may just surprise you what can happen just by discovering which communication method works best for your customers.