For generations, companies have operated under some version of the age-old rule “the customer is always right.” Today, customers aren’t just right, they are in control. They now shop at their convenience, receive personalized recommendations, and buy whenever and from wherever they want. Accustomed to this level of service, vehicle owners now expect to have customer-centric experiences in your dealership service department. To earn their initial business and to bring them back repeatedly, your dealership needs to adhere to a set of best practices for improving the customer experience through convenience, transparency, and communication.
Best Practice 1: Increase Convenience with Service Pickup and Delivery
With many consumers feeling busy, overbooked, and out of time, the idea of service pickup and delivery appeals to 89 percent of vehicle owners. Specifically, they want the option to schedule automated, efficient concierge service right through your online scheduler. Dealerships that already offer service pickup and delivery have found it’s an effective tool for improving the service experience and increasing customer satisfaction. In fact, 86 percent of customers that use pickup and delivery report being satisfied with their experience (2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study, Oct 15-17).
Best Practice 2: Improve Transparency with Picture- and Video-Based Communication
The majority of vehicle owners lack the knowledge and experience to understand what’s going on under the hoods of their cars. As a result, they may find it difficult to trust the recommendations of service advisors. Picture- and video-based communications introduce transparency into dealer-customer communications, allowing advisors to show a problem and educate customers on why a recommended repair is needed. Dealerships using media-enhanced communications are maximizing revenues from service interactions with a 24 percent increase in ASR conversion and a 70 percent increase in the average dollars per repair order (Cox Automotive Data, 2021).
Best Practice 3: Improve Communication with Texting
Dealerships aiming to improve the customer experience need to go beyond good communication and reach customers through their preferred channels. For many customers today, that channel is text messaging. According to research, 89 percent of consumers want to use text messages to communicate with businesses (Twilio). With text messaging, your service employees can communicate service updates in real time from a single system and they won’t have to play phone tag or return to their desks to communicate with customers.
Best Practice 4: Increase Convenience with Flexible, Online Payment Options
To improve customer experience, service needs to be great all the way through to final payment. With today’s technologies, your dealership can now accept credit cards online or on in-dealership tablets and desktops so customers can truly pay at their convenience. You can improve the experience even more by getting customers in and out faster with emailed or texted payment requests and receipts.
In today’s retail environment, the customer is at the center of most transactions. As a result, vehicle owners have high expectations for the service experience offered by your dealership. By implementing a proven set of best practices aimed at improving convenience, transparency, and communication, your dealership can increase revenues and earn repeat service business from customers.
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