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.

3 Ways To Improve Your PDR Business

Whether you’re a traditional collision repair shop or a PDR business, it can be challenging adjusting your workflow. Even within some of the most successful businesses, there are constraints that could be tackled better. A good way to improve on your PDR workflow is by looking at all areas of business, but before you can even consider that, you should prioritize connecting your PDR technicians to your back-office and to whoever is handling the customer invoices.

In PDR, speed and efficiency play the biggest role in how much your business will make on a daily basis. Once you understand this, you can begin to look at how you can re-organize your business’ workflow management system. Fortunately, because of the already fast nature of PDR, it’s pretty easy to adapt to a more efficient management system. While PDR is already a lucrative and fast endeavor, better workflow in all aspects, especially the back-office, will not only increase the number of vehicles you work on in a day, but also make it easier for your technicians.

 

Track Your Data

In the PDR business, the back-office is one of your biggest headaches. You don’t want to spend hours on paperwork, but you also don’t want to track invoices, estimates, employee compensation, or more based on information that isn’t completely accurate. What you do want to track, though, are PDR estimations and the exact amount of hours your technicians are spending on each repair. Beyond that, you’ll want to look at it all in real-time to accurately measure how you can reduce your cycle time and increase throughput. No matter what, it’s important to use a database to track and record important information about the vehicles you’re working on.

 

Upgrade Your Workflow Management System

First thing’s first, in 2019, your PDR business shouldn’t be relying on spreadsheets, dry-erase boards, or even sticky notes. They can get easily lost or misplaced, and create unnecessary bottlenecks in your workflow. Right now, the most successful PDR businesses out there are using management software to track their entire PDR process from estimate to the paid invoice accounting entry. Management software applications can manage your entire workflow, invoices, estimates, upload documents and photos, track individual vehicles, customer pricing, and employee commissions.

 

Find Your Biggest Constraints

After you’ve improved on your workflow management, simply embrace the newest technology available. For a lot of PDR businesses, the biggest constraints lie in the back-office. Whether it’s misplaced paper, poor filing, or communication issues on approvals, the back-office is definitely one of the biggest struggles for anyone in PDR.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your PDR business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date.

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution purpose-built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing estimates, hail/PDR 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.

Are You Letting Revenue Slip Through Your Service Department?

 

In this line of work, I get to tour a lot of collision repair shops. Some of those shops are dealership body shops that are either under the same roof or located in the same lot as the dealership.

One thing that always surprises me is when I find that the service department, the sales department, and the body shop do not communicate with each other as a whole. In other industries, this situation is referred to as “siloed” where departments are in silos and either afraid to or unwilling to work with each other.

Just recently, I was at a shop in Pennsylvania and I overheard a customer who was getting an estimate for a new side mirror as a result of a sideswipe. What struck me is that the customer was there because the insurance company had sent her there, not the service department, despite her having just had the car serviced in preparation for a Pennsylvania safety inspection. Had the insurance company sent this person to another shop, the dealership would have lost out on some decent revenue.  If I was the dealership owner, I would be furious.

This situation plays out every day in dealerships all over the country. I have even worked with shops that are not allowed to email blast their sales and service customer databases. Does this sound like your organization? It doesn’t have to be this way.

 

Today, we are going to uncover some ideas to put an end to lost revenue in your service departments.

The first step is to realize that it is not your customer’s duty to remember that you also have a body shop or a service department. These should be kept top-of-mind with all customer contact points. For every sales piece you create to drive new car sales, you should think about how this could also drive revenue for the other departments.

Break down the barriers.

If you have a dealership marketing team, a service department marketing team, and a body shop marketing team, all these people should be working together to generate leads for the dealership as a whole. In fact, you may consider putting them all in the same location in adjacent offices or cubicles so that they can easily work together.

Mine your databases

Each car that is leased should be a lead passed over to the service department and the body shop. Some leases require the use of OEM collision repair parts. And most lease vehicles will require some reconditioning prior to trade in. Your body shop should have access to all leased vehicles who are due for trade-in six months prior to the trade in date in order to reach out and offer deals on trade in preparation.

Incentives

Money always talks. Consider implementing a cash bonus referral program for all work referred among departments. This should not be limited just to managers, empower your technicians to make recommendations. Vehicles declared a total loss should be an easy referral to sales, but service should routinely scan vehicles for body shop upsell work.

Train your staff to pay better attention to the customers coming into the service bays.

Take notice if they have any family lifestyle changes, like a new baby, a new driver, or upcoming graduation and discuss options that might help address the need for a new vehicle. Your service drive is an excellent business center to support your dealership’s CPO and new retail programs. Stay engaged with your customers to maintain their brand and dealership loyalty.

Staffing co-location

Consider having a body shop estimator work out of the service department to write complimentary estimates on any potential work they see in the repair bays. You don’t even need to ask the customer if they want an estimate, simply provide it along with the service work estimate and offer to set a time to have the car in for the repair.

Something as simple as that written estimate attached to a postcard advertisement for the body shop could generate additional revenues.

Text Messaging

Another option is to include this in a text message if your service department uses a texting service to update customers. Text a link to an estimate for the body shop while the car is still in the service bay to make the transaction smoother. For example, if the car has to stay in service to receive parts, now would be a great opportunity to take care of those dents, scratches or quick bumper repair.

Texting can also be a great way for customers to communicate with service managers, get answers to questions, and schedule appointments. However, we caution dealers against advising staff communicate with customers on their personal cell phone devices without the use of a texting platform that tracks conversations, manages opt-ins and opt-outs, and integrates into a dealer’s CRM tool.

Community outreach

Another suggestion is to host customer car care clinics, which includes all makes and models, and offer free vehicle inspections, appraisals on vehicle resale costs, or reconditioning costs. This positions your business as your customers’ advocate while giving you the opportunity to generate new business and goodwill.

We hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to stop the leak of potential profits that you may not even realize are slipping past your Dealership, as we continue our mission to make 2018 the Year of Growth for your business.


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