Article

Fixed Ops Silver Linings: Stay the Course





There is an upside. It’s often most hard to see while you are in the midst of transformation. And make no mistake, you are evolving.

In a recent webcast Tracy Fred, VP of Operations, CRM Sales and Service shared a story with Dale Pollak, founder of vAuto and Cox Automotive Executive Vice President, and the audience. She talked about one quandary Xtime faced early on in the rapid change and uncertainty of 2020.

Xtime has a Dealer Advisory Board, comprised of dealers and dealer groups, that meets regularly to discuss our products and general industry direction. Even virtually, we were unsure it was the right time to bring the group together. After much deliberation it was decided there was actually no better time to gather digitally with our advisory board — and really listen.

Tracy reflected, “What was surprising to us was what we heard, and that was that our dealers were already making and had made significant changes — not to shut their businesses down but rather to keep their business going. It turns out these dealers were already pivoting to social distancing and to digital experiences.”  

 

Here’s What We’ve Learned

You are making great strides to bring your customer the experience they want today — convenient, safe, and digital.

During the same Dealer Advisory Board meeting, a fixed operations director of a 42-store dealer group shared that, in just a matter of days, they implemented service pickup and delivery at every rooftop. He went on to say there were two important things he learned from the change:

· The dealer group was more nimble than they thought. Before, a change of that magnitude would have taken months.

· Implementing service pickup and delivery, therefore giving priority to customer preference, saved his business.

Tracy relayed an additional insight she gleaned during the meeting. While she and others within Xtime felt it may have been a bit tone deaf to talk about Xtime products with the Dealer Advisory Board at that time, she found the dealers wanted to hear it.

That means, in the midst of turmoil, you were looking for tools, solutions, best practices, and help delivering the experience necessary for today’s customer, as well as your employees, to come out of this challenging situation ahead of the competition.  

 

Don’t Stop Now

Half of you are considering returning to non-digital methods once shelter in place mandates have lifted, according to Cox Automotive’s latest COVID-19 Impact Study. This is despite overwhelming customer preference and increasing gross profits associated with a more digital process.

You’ve made great strides to reimagine the service experience for your customers and your staff. Regressing will not pay off, but delivering what your customer wants today will. Over the last 8 weeks, dealers using video to present additional service recommendations to customers earned more than $4.4 million in incremental Fixed Ops revenue.

There is no doubt now that your business can be agile. With the great resiliency and ability to pivot you’ve displayed in the first half of 2020, fixed operations transformation is happening more quickly than anyone thought possible. Because of that, there is an upside to the uncertainty of 2020: you are better prepared than ever to deliver a fully digital customer experience.

Tracy shared with the webcast audience, “We’ve seen dealers prove they’re capable of embracing digital tools and new ways of doing business much more quickly than we or even you thought possible.”

You are transforming the industry, and you can’t stop now. The reward is too great. Digital interaction is what your customer expects. While overall service repair order volume decreased in the first quarter of 2020, use of digital tools to limit face-to-face contact did not.

Online Approvals, an Xtime Inspect feature, gives service advisors the ability

to share additional service recommendations digitally, improving communication and transparency while social distancing. In March 2020, utilization increased by 40.44 percent

compared with one year prior.

Additionally, percentages of customer responses, approved recommended services, and dollars per repair order were all higher than in March of 2019. In April 2020, utilization increased by 53 percent compared year-over-year, and the average dollar amount recommended was also up 8 percent year-over-year.

 

Keep Moving

You’re no stranger to adversity. You’ve adapted and maneuvered during difficult times before, like the disruption of the information age in 1999 and the Great Recession. The entrepreneurial spirit you possess along with your unique ability to see opportunity in a challenge is exactly what you need to move your dealership forward today.

Use this Fixed Ops Playbook to help you on your path to a safer, digital service experience.  

 

1 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Dealer Impact Study

2 Analysis performed using 1700 Xtime Spectrum INSPECT dealerships

3 Analysis performed using 1,700 Xtime Spectrum dealerships.



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