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These are challenging and unique economic times. Many would-be shoppers are sheltering in their homes for the near future. According to a recent Cox Automotive survey, 29% of customers said they would prefer to delay their car repairs for the foreseeable future, unless it was a pressing issue. Given this information, and the clear concern for personal safety, it’s up to dealers to take action now to reach out to customers, ensure their safety, and mitigate the impact of closures.


Use a “Be Safe” approach to vehicle service


A safe service process starts with a safe check-in process. Give your customers the option to self check-in on their mobile phones. Pre-write repair orders and pull service history and recall information before your customers arrive. Anything you can do to make the service process faster and more efficient will leave a lasting impression on your customers.

A “be safe” approach to service also includes valet pickup and delivery. Or, for those customers who bring in their cars, leverage rideshare options to transport your customers to and from the dealership. These options reduce the amount of time your customers have to spend in public, and they’re a safe alternative to shuttle services that may be temporarily shut down. Lastly, whenever possible, send documents electronically via email or text.


Stay connected to your customers


Communicate with your customers all the ways you’re keeping your service lane clean and safe. Outline the precautions you’re taking in an official dealer-branded document, including your commitment to sanitizing each vehicle after it’s been serviced and ways you’re limiting customer contact with other people.

Take advantage of tools to keep your customers informed during the vehicle service process as well. Give them the option to check the status of their vehicles online or on their mobile devices. Send pictures of needed repairs with a quote. And utilize online approvals, quotes for recommended ASRs, and contactless payments. These types of distance communications that focus on the customer experience and their safety can go a long way toward convincing your customers that now is a good time to service their vehicles.


Take actions to mitigate temporary closures or reduced hours


If your dealership has been impacted by a temporary closure or reduced hours, communicate this information to your customers, along with when you plan to reopen. If possible, don’t completely shut down your scheduling. It sends the wrong message. Give your customers the option to schedule an appointment for a certain date, even if that date is several weeks out. Doing so lets them know that you’re still there for them.

These may be challenging times, but there is still opportunity for your service department to bring in customers and show them that you care. Darrel Ferguson, Director of Performance Management at Cox Automotive, recently addressed the foregoing best practices in a webinar. Watch his full presentation to learn how to implement these best practices to keep your service department successful in the weeks and months ahead.

Visit our Business Continuity Hub for more tools and resources.

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