By Darrel Ferguson, Director of Performance Management at Xtime
I’ve talked about the constants in the auto sales and service industry. In the midst of all the rapid changes 2020 brought us, one of those constants has been challenged — and it’s for the good of our industry.
The first constant: We are continually evolving. This constant remains intact, and in fact, accelerated.
The second constant: The auto industry as a whole is slow to keep up with change. I’m not so certain that’s true anymore.
The challenges we’ve faced in a socially distanced world have forced us to become more nimble and agile. You’ve made changes in processes and technology in a matter of days after talking about digital transformation for years.
Now it’s time to tell your customer so they feel confident enough to make that service appointment.
Connect it all through Your Digital Channels
We live in a digital-first world.
With 67 percent of consumers preferring to self-serve over speaking to a live representative, we have to make sure all of the information relevant to the service experience today is available for your customer to find and source on their own.
Your customer is looking for assurances. They may need maintenance or repairs but are apprehensive about their safety. Here’s what they need to see at every digital touchpoint to feel good about booking their next appointment:
You are open for business. Sounds simple, but with many businesses impacted, your customer may not realize that you are an essential service and doors remain open.
Precautions. Let your customer know what you are doing to keep them and your employees safe. If you are sanitizing their car before service delivery, make sure it is apparent.
Drop-off and pickup options. In the 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study, 43 percent of service customers said they’d be more comfortable with service if you offered valet services for service drop-off and pickup.
Step-by-step details. You’ve created a digital service experience, but what that entails at each step of the customer journey may not be fully understood by your customer. Help them identify what to expect in your fully digital process from drop-off through payment and delivery.
Communicate throughout the Service Visit — the Way Your Customer Wants To
The need for trust through transparency during the service visit has not changed.
When you can’t look the customer in the eye and shake their hand, how do you nurture a relationship?
Remember though, the communication must transpire on your customers terms.
That means text messaging, emailing, or providing links to a site where customers can access service updates on their own, at a time convenient to them, and from their phones.
Even prior to the pandemic, 89 percent of consumers said they preferred to communicate with business via text messaging. You must meet your customers where they are.
When you text and email you’re also giving yourself an invaluable opportunity to nurture the relationship and create loyalty. Include pictures and video when you make additional service recommendations to show your customer exactly what your tech sees.
Your customer will be much less likely to think you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes — which means they are much more likely to sign off on the repairs.
Keep Moving Forward
We addressed consumer confidence and its tie to communication here because that’s what you told us you needed.
We interviewed hundreds of dealers to understand your biggest concerns and challenges as we return to the service lane and reimagine the service experience.
Consumer confidence is only one of the challenges you told us about.
You also told us you need to capture market share, adapt processes and team member skillsets, promote productivity, and motivate your team.
So we created a playbook. Use this fixed operations playbook to learn more about the strategy you need to boost consumer confidence through communication and create an actionable blueprint for each stage of the service visit to help your dealership meet your customer’s expectations as we all move forward.
Supporting you is our number one priority. Please reach out to my team of performance managers to discuss where you are in your digital transformation and what your next steps should be. We are happy to help.