This isn’t something new. Your customer has been saying it for a bit. In 2018, 55 percent said they would choose one dealership over the next if cost estimates could be found on their website with many choosing the dealer website as their primary touchpoint.
The digital experience is not only for your customer, but employees too. The preference for familiar, digital tools and devices is palpable. When was the last time you used your phone to physically dial and book a service or check the status of an order? As consumers, we expect to tap our phone and view text or email updates. You may even feel put out if you had to do it differently. Let’s take a look at exactly how you can create a fully digital experience for your customer to help capture market demand and drive revenue in your service department.
When your customer visits your website, you’re preparing them for the entire service experience. Alongside easy online booking, the customer should be able to create a mental picture of each step of the service process. With social distancing precautions not yet in the rearview, your customer needs to know how your processes have changed. Help them understand what to expect.
Show them you are making it easy and safe to bring their vehicle in for maintenance or repair by showcasing the accommodations you have created and the processes you’ve adapted.
Keep it Digital
The first hurdle in a customer’s mind may be the face-to-face interaction with an advisor that occurred during the traditional service visit of the past. However, among consumers delaying service visits, 43 percent stated curbside drop off and pickup for delivery would make them more likely to book an appointment.
When a customer comes to your website to schedule their appointment, their first digital touchpoint, provide them with valet options. According to the Cox Automotive Reimagining the Automotive Consumer Experience Study, an overwhelming majority (89 percent) of customers already considered vehicle pick-up and delivery to be part of the ideal ownership experience. As we move forward, it is the experience your customer will expect for the purpose of convenience as well as safety.
For the customer that opts to bring their car in, stick with that convenient and safe theme. And do it digitally. When they arrive, give them the ability to check-in from their vehicle on their mobile phone so there is not a need to meet their advisor in person.
Self check-in could also positively impact your service department efficiency. The write-up process will go more quickly when the customer can initiate check-in and the advisor is able to finalize as soon as they are free. The customer does not have to wait, and you are providing a five-star customer experience for better retention and loyalty.
Service Appointment Communication
You may not see your customer during the service visit, but you can still promote trust and transparency and build the relationship. Do this by communicating in the manner your customer likely prefers — text or email — and include all of the details.
After your tech has completed the multipoint inspection, send it to your customer and include any video or picture related to your additional service recommendations. This gives your customer the ability to see what you see. They should be able to review and approve estimates electronically.
To provide a transparent window into your dealership’s operations, give your customer the ability to track advancement throughout the service process. Find an automated service that will send notifications at each stage of the visit for your customer to access at any time, so they don’t have to guess about progress during the appointment.
As the service visit comes to a close, it can end just the way it started — digitally. Send a text or an email with a link that allows the customer to pay right from their phone. Again, you’re showing a high regard for your customer’s preference for convenience and while keeping them safe.
Download the Fixed Ops Playbook to understand the opportunities you have today to create the experience your customer expects with the right strategy so that you can take action and capture demand.
2018 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study
2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer and Dealer Impact Study