What is the right move to make at this moment? If you consider consumer sentiment in this time of social distancing, offering valet pickup and delivery service may be the step that makes sense. Darrel Ferguson, Xtime’s director of performance management, and some members of his team recently hosted a webinar, Be Safe Workshop: Valet Pickup & Delivery. They shared recent data along with best practices and how-tos for the valet feature in Schedule. Here’s a bit of what they discussed.
The Data Tells the Story
The 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Dealer Impact Study tells us there has been a 68 percent decline in vehicle sales and a 57 percent decline in service appointments. Service operations with some type of remote service option have not been hit quite as hard, with a 48 percent decline in appointments, but still a significant number.
The top reasons customers delay service are social distancing and concern of contact with staff or people outside of their safe environment. Valet service could be your direct response to the concern over contact with your staff.
While we know a vast majority of consumers say they’re delaying vehicle service because they just aren’t driving very much, 41 percent say they’d be willing to get their vehicle serviced if the dealership picks up the vehicle at their home, takes it in for service or maintenance, then delivers it back to their home. There is also interest in having a tech complete the service at their home according to 30 percent of the consumers surveyed.
So, where’s the disconnect? It’s consumer awareness. Only 18 percent of consumers know there may be a valet option available to them. Let’s get valet in place for your dealership, then we need to make sure and tell your customers.
Valet Set Up
Xtime’s valet functionality lives within the Schedule product and can be tailored to your valet capacities. There are steps you’ll want to take, like enabling valet appointments for each Make you service so all customers can select to have their vehicle picked up when scheduling online. You’ll also want to revisit your Rideshare Powered by Lyft spend caps. Some dealers are using Rideshare to take the valet to the customer and then the valet drives the customer’s car back to the dealership. It may be time to reevaluate what you’re willing to spend on Rideshare in order to get the customer’s car in the door —a lot has changed in the last 30 days.
Find detailed, step-by-step valet set up instructions when you watch the full the webinar .
Best Practices and Tips
We take some best practice cues from retailers that are putting customer experience first, like Amazon. As an industry we used to sell things based on price. Today convenience may trump price for many of your customers.
Once such form of convenience is valet service. What we’ve found is that while many dealers may have already enabled this service, they may not have told customers it’s available. Get proactive in your marketing and communication. Take the time to explain what valet service is, otherwise, they may not know or understand. Talk about valet on your website and in your email and text marketing as well as social media. Don’t be afraid to create video and have digital dialogue with your audience about what you’re doing to keep them safe. And when you do, make sure to link the posts back to your online scheduler.
Now, let’s talk about how to get in front of your audience that may have cancelled or no-showed in the past few weeks. You likely have a large pool from the start of social distancing until now. Calling them and talk about how you can help them get their service done safely with valet.
Best practice conversations are happening now because you need every car and you need every dollar. Get on the phone every day to confirm appointments. If they’re considering cancelling, talk to them about valet. You can make servicing their vehicle convenient and safe.
While you’re at it, contact customers with recalls. Selling service may be a challenge right now, but you may be able to find work that does not include customer pay.
You may also find opportunities to get creative. We’ve talked with some dealerships that have their sales people and other sidelined employees acting as valets, picking up and delivering vehicles.
Lastly, let’s remember this: coupons are not today’s answer. The reason people aren’t coming in is bigger than price. It’s their health and safety they are concerned with. Make sure to communicate what you’re doing with valet and beyond for your customers so they can feel good about making and keeping an appointment.
The webinar, Be Safe Workshop: Valet Pickup & Delivery, included statistics, detailed valet set up instruction, and best practices beyond what we’ve catalogued here, not to mention some great Q&A and discussion. Watch the full webinar now.