A season of change was upon fixed operations before the events of 2020 gave us the motivation to accelerate digital adoption. More rapidly than you thought possible, you started implementing processes and technology to provide what was most important to your customers. They said they wanted a safe, convenient, and digital experience. As you worked to provide what your customers wanted, we asked you about your biggest challenges in this environment: customer confidence, revenue generation, and employee retention.
With that in mind, early into social distancing, we created a fixed operations guide, A Playbook to Move the Service Experience Forward. Let’s explore what is still relevant at this stage and what has already evolved in the service department.
In the first chapter of the playbook, we discussed the importance of communication to help customers understand the new services you’re providing and the changes you have made — so they can feel good about booking their appointment. The chapter included suggestions on how and where to communicate those messages as well — text, social channels, website, email.
In a recent Dealer Forward, Tully Williams, Director of Parts and Service at The Niello Company, added to the topic of communication. He talked about the process changes you’ve implemented, like service pick-up and delivery. These updates to the way you do business have made it easy and convenient for customers to do business with you. Tully posed the question to dealers, “Are we marketing to tell everybody how we do business, and how easy it is to do business with [us]?”
Takeaway: While you’ve implemented changes to create a digital customer experience, you’ve also made it easier to do business with you. Include that messaging in your communication so customers can easily recognize the shift.
Earlier in the year, you told us you were concerned with the ability to drive revenue with service visits being delayed by your customers. We took that feedback and covered what should be included in the service experience today in order to drive more dollars per RO. One of those recommendations included the use of pictures and video when the inspection report is sent by text or email to your customers.
Between March and July 2020, dealers using video to present additional service recommendations to customers earned more than $1.5 million in incremental fixed ops revenue.1 Tully reflected on the use of multimedia at The Niello Company, “Video and pictures both have made it tremendously easy for customers to say yes.”
Takeaway: Interacting with customers in their preferred manner — 89 percent of consumers prefer to communicate with business via text messaging — with the transparency pictures and video provide, will help you to drive incremental revenue for your dealership.2
With annual dealership turnover at 40 percent, retaining top talent is an ever-present concern, no matter the outside influence. With that in mind, we asked you to reimagine the employee experience alongside the customer experience in the fixed ops playbook.
To get started, we stated you need to review your current processes and consider employee preference. Simply opening the dialogue with your team and letting them know they are as important to you as your CSI scores can go a long way. It was recommended to get a gut check on the following:
- Your team knows what they’re accountable for and how to achieve it, even with fewer face-to-face interactions
- It’s clear their safety is just as important to you as the customer’s
- Work/life balance is being met
- The technology you use supports your staff’s ability to be successful
- Each employee feels valued
- Pay structure and benefits are aligned to employee preference
Takeaway: Employee engagement, which indicates team member passion and emotional investment in your dealership, is lowest for customer service and service advisors. Prioritizing what they find important can help you to create the best service team possible — all the time.
You are more agile than you ever thought possible. You’ve made changes, that perhaps, may have taken months or years to implement prior to 2020. You created the experience your customers demand in days and weeks. It’s now a good time to talk stalk of what you’ve completed and think about what has evolved since then. There are pivots in communication you should consider and technology you should further lean into to make the most of every opportunity.
1 Analysis performed using 2480 Xtime Spectrum Inspect dealerships, March 2020—July 2020