1.How to provide Exceptional Customer Service.
2.RETENTION is the Holy Grail.
Millions of consumers are multi tasking on their mobile device: conducting business, making online purchases, placing food orders, searching for vendors, and communicating with family and friends. Ironically, franchise dealers seem to be ignoring these trends.
Dealers need to re-examine their service lane process in order to create a retail experience that attracts and retains customers. Service generates 7 – 10x more consumer transactions per month than sales. The latest data tells us the average R.O. is $268 and the average lifetime upkeep cost for a vehicle is $8,000 and this has a G.P. percentage of 46%.
Vehicle owners return to the same dealer and brand 50% of the time, which means a dealership can loose 1 out of 2 buyers over the ownership period. When you factor in that only 1 in 3 get their service work done in a dealership, that means under our current service practices nearly 70% will be going to someone other than us to get their vehicle serviced.
Owners have been telling us the two factors they dislike most about dealership service departments are:
- They don’t communicate well – they don’t keep me informed
- It is always going to cost me more than what I came in for
Some Service Advisors are still greeting their customers in the service drive with clipboards, pre-printed documents, and a pen. This process implies inflexibility and shows a lack of customer understanding.
When a consumer arrives at a franchise dealership, wouldn’t it come across more professional if we were aware of their purchase history, service history, greet them by name and immediately respond to their questions and concerns?
Dealership service centers need new technologies that will enhance shop efficiency, improve the customer experience and increase profits in order to stay competitive. This is also important if they want to begin to work on “Customer Retention”.
TO DO THIS WE NEED:
- Better-qualified and trained personnel throughout the service department.
- Improved shop efficiency and streamlined processes
- CRM and third party integration
- Improved and better “focused” upselling opportunities – designed for the “lifetime” customer not the “Highest Dollar/R.O. Amount”
- Modern – up-to-date internet/external communication platforms to more personally communicate with customers (video/texting)
All of these opportunities will improve the customer experience
* Customers expect their purchase experience to be only a click away.
Dealers KNOW that technology alone will not create a great experience in the service lane. However, great people, great process and great technology with all parties can create a positive, memorable, and convenient service experience.
- Customer satisfaction is increased by enabling real-time communications between service customers and Service Advisors, Technicians, and Parts Managers. Customers can be informed of parts availability/delays before they leave the dealership and/or while additional service recommendations are presented.
- Transparent communications between the service lane and customers utilizing photos/videos of undisclosed repairs which need attention helps set realistic service completion times, increases the accuracy of total repair costs, and decreases negative CSI scores.
- Customized “Steps to the Sale” allows a dealer to follow optimized service processes, which again reduces negative CSI scores and increases shop profits.
- By reviewing historical data, this allows the Service Advisor to re-engage customers who have previously declined work. This can be done utilizing direct mail, email, texting, or live conversations.
- Service Managers need to constantly inspect the KPI, Key Performance Indicators to make adjustments to their service sales strategies and profit opportunity trends.
- 4 Qualities for hiring in service: 1.) Honesty 2.) Integrity 3.) Desire for Success 4.) Passion for caring for Customers
Why Customers Choose to Service Their Car At the Dealership
- 26% feel dealerships trained staff is the top reason for getting work done there
- Of those surveyed, only 50% said they would return for work at the dealership after the vehicle is out of warranty
- Consumers believe that having their vehicle serviced at a dealership increases the market value of their vehicle
Why Customers Choose to Service Their Car At an Independent Service Center
- 42% said that price was the main determining factor
- Convenience or proximity was the second highest reason
- They said the overall customer experience felt more personal
- They also felt that by using the independent, they were supporting a local business
- A dealership can and is competitive in most cases for normal service yet 42% of the time the consumer feels the independent is better priced. POST PRICES ONLINE – inform when making appointments.
- As we develop our marketing campaigns for service reminders we can follow-up with personal phone calls to customers that are categorized as “inactive” in our systems.
- We can post and offer answers as to “price comparisons” in our market on our website.
- On our website we can create marketing pages and videos to combat this “higher price” perception people have in the marketplace.
- We must do a “Why Service With Us” video and post it on our website & Facebook, and make it part of a CRM Owner follow-up schedule.
- Become a “Certified”RepairPaldealer in our market. (For example, I shopped my market and an oil change was quoted at $119 on this site so we ARE NOT higher, we just have this perception we must deal with.)
- Become a“Women Drivers CERTIFIED Trusted dealer”.This is available thru womendrivers.com and Certified Trusted Dealers have a satisfaction rating of 97.1% – which is 12% higher than non-certified dealers. With being certified you get access to many of their marketing tools designed to target women shoppers more efficiently.
- If we are truly serious about increasing retention, we have to look at ways of making service at the dealership a greater convenience. Late night hours / customer vehicle pick up and deliver / easier online scheduling – all ways to become more convenient to customers to build retention and increase profits.
- 30% of customers calling the dealership never get connected to the Service Advisor on the 1st
- Technicians can send photos/videos of recommended repairs while the car is on the lift and being available to speak direct to the customer is another way of becoming more convenient and more personal. Being able to speak directly to a technician will create one of the largest “WOW” factors in the service department – they will believe the technician more than a Service Advisor whom in their opinion is a salesperson.
If we provide more convenience, become more personal and especially become more price-transparent we can win back business we have lost to the independents. We need the right combination of people, training, technology, and management oversight to increase sales and profits while also increasing retention and REAL CSI scores.
First appointment – the Sales to Service handoff. Nationally only 41% of the new owners are introduced to the service department and that number drops in half when you include scheduling the first appointment. Yet 53% stated they are far more apt to have the vehicle serviced at the dealership if this appointment has been set.
Upon completion of vehicle repairs we should be scheduling or offering to schedule the next service visit – advise what is to be done at that time and offer estimate of costs for that upcoming repair. It would then get a reminder process attached to remind the customer of this upcoming repair.
Upon completion of an appointment being set online the customer gets a confirmation email confirming the appointment; this appointment also shows in the DMS & CRM.
Upon completion of an appointment being set from an in-bound phone call the customer gets a confirmation email confirming the appointment, this appointment now shows in the DMS & CRM.
During scheduling or prior to customer visiting the dealership any open campaigns needs to be researched so that work can be scheduled and completed during the visit.
As phone appointments are being set we need to be more aware of past work completed or not completed – recommended maintenance due based on time or mileage – time requirements and cost.
With the use of tablets we meet the customer at their vehicle not at our workstation.
When the dealership is using a data-mining tool during the appointment-setting portion they should advise the customer they now qualify for the “X-change” program and help them or offer to connect them with the “X-change” coordinator to have a vehicle available for them to drive while their vehicle is being serviced.
While doing the walk around, photos or videos should be used to notate damage and these should be loaded into the customer record.
MEASURING AND METRICS FOR EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE
(Some done daily, some weekly, some bi-monthly, and some monthly)
- Technician efficiency
- Shop efficiency
- O. Count
- However, this can be skewed by number of car sales, a better way of measuring is keep a 12 month running number divided by unit sales. Watch for trending in good and bad directions
- Average R. O. $ amount – NADA $268 P. 46%
- Effective Labor Rate
- Shop absorption – NADA 70%
- NADA NC GP 28% * UC GP 26% * S&P GP 46% / what are ours
- Operating Profit
- Sales S & P vs. Veh.
- P. S & P vs. Veh.
- Policy Expenses
- CSI Score – dept. – by SA – by brand & SA
- Write – time 2 ½ minutes to 4 minutes
- Upselling amount – total and by SA
- CLS / WLS / ILS – Ave. R.O. – under 12 Mo. / 13 – 24 / 25 – 36 / 37 – 48 / 49 + Ave. O. amounts
- vs. walk-in
- Declined work
- Declined work – captured after
- Advertising & Promotions 10% service 90% sales – ours
- B & W all marketing to review – Epsilon, CRM, other / TU after purchase SM, parts new cust., Acces., TU service RO amt.,
- 29% of website visitors – service – retargeting those NO appt.
- Social Media marketing, videos, specials
- Website promotions – SEO/SEM – targeted
- Employee pictures and stories
Currently after 3 to 4 years of ownership less than 30% of the people we sell vehicles to return for service. 7 out of 10 are going somewhere else. In most cases – we pushed them out. Vehicle margins are getting slimmer and slimmer each year and “Retention IS the Holy Grail”.It is our future. If we continue to ignore it, we may stay in business, some may go out. We may be profitable; however, we may be leaving money on the table. But think of this – what if your Service and Parts operations absorbed 90% of your overall overhead? Would you sleep better at night? Service is the future but not the way we are doing it now.
- We need better people – we need to get outside the box for where we are looking, the kind of people, and the career paths being offered.
- We need to be more convenient – more sensitive to what customers want and when they want it.
- We need to train – train – train.
- We need processes, much better processes.
- We need meaningful metrics to live by.
- We need the support of the entire dealership – sales – office – we are no longer “the red headed stepchild / the necessary evil”.
- We need to focus on the lifetime of the customer, not this week’s paycheck.
Wayne Gretsky’s famous quote offers a fitting mantra for dealers and service teams as they look forward and outward to map their future: “Skate for where the puck is going, not where it’s been.”
IDEAS ARE EASY – EXECUTION IS EVERYTHING
This is a video I prepared that addresses:
- Changes and more changes taking place in the automobile dealerships today.
- All the various areas I work with in dealerships to help with the Internet challenges.
- The techniques I use when working with dealerships that make me unique and describes why my processes work.
Please take the time to view and if I can help – please contact me.
Now if you are a friend or an acquaintance, I am sure you are driving which means you purchased a vehicle from a dealership – please forward to them and help me find a few new clients.
This is from a recent (12/21/17) webinar and what the presenter felt the future BDC/Internet would look like.
“Begin with the end in mind?” So let’s start with a few very important questions.
1. How much profit will you make in 2016?
2. How many new units will you sell in 2016?
3. Per month?
4. By model?
5. Ave. G.P. per model?
6. How many used units will you sell in 2016?
7. Per month?
8. Ave. G. P.?
9. F. & I. per new per used?
10. How much service business / G. P. / Effective labor rate???
11. Per month
12. How much parts business / G. P. / all profit areas???
13. What expenses items do you need to watch in 2016?
14. By month / by department?
15. Are you going to include department managers in watching those expenses? If so, HOW?
You may have noticed I didn’t ask: “How much profit do you WANT to make in 2016. The reason is it’s about planning, preparation, accountability, ownership.
About 2 months ago I started sharing with my clients one of the “keys” I feel that will need to be improved in 2016 is Leadership and coaching skills. For many of my clients I provided video sessions from some of the BEST Leadership trainers available today.
About a month ago I asked many of my clients to start creating a: “Game Plan for 2016”. I helped them layout month-by-month sales for 2015 and then asked them to project 2016 again month-by-month.
I asked them to begin improved manager meetings to include managers in these GOALS, to include them in identifying expense items that needed addressing in order to hit the profit objective. We designed sheets for the individual managers to use so we could create TEAMWORK to attain these GOALS. The design of the sheets was also to improve “peer pressure”, (team communications) similar to not wanting to be at the bottom when you attend a 20-Group meeting.
2015 is ending up top be a very good year for most dealers. The projections are for 2016 and maybe 2017 to be even better. But my question is: “Are you going to be as good as the rest? Better than the rest? Not quit as good as the rest?” Why not be the BEST you can be.
Design 2016. I am attaching the forecasting sheets we used to help forecast month-by-month sales for 2016. GM has new SFE/EBE monies and if you hit them every month it will have a tremendous impact on your new profit. Will you be forecasting those numbers? Will you be watching them everyday? Will you be discussing them regularly with your management team? You can design your profit for 2016 step by step.
Also available for you is a monthly outline for your managers meeting. What to focus on each week – How to get them to OWN there objectives and expense items.
Also available for you are the action sheets we have designed that require managers to identify 1-2-3 items each month that they can improve and 1-2-3 items each month they need to be more efficient in. (nice way of saying expense control). This is where the “peer” pressure comes in because they are identifying these items in front of all of the other managers and during the month and at the end of the month no one wants to be LAST. Maybe you should have a MONKEY like many 20 Groups give the bottom person.
You can design your profit for 2016 step by step. The industry projections are it is going to be a very good year, are you designing yours – letting it fall into place – letting the manufacturer be the influencer? Take the time to decide today what your profit is going to be and then put together a step-by-step plan to attain that amount.
My goals are to make the Internet Departments I work with the most efficient they can be. Here are some of the items I will be working on and with in 2016 to create our Digital Game Plans.
➢ Best 3rd part ROI’s
➢ Data Mining – service and sales
➢ Video Game Plan – video viewership is up 74% over last year. You Tube website is second only to Google – it is more viewed than any other website in the world. Perfect our You Tube Channels
➢ Create Vehicle Review videos * Create Feature videos * Create “How To” videos Operate accessories, specific options (GPS – MP3/I-phone operations/etc.)
➢ Create FAQ pages to include What the question is – answer – Next Step
➢ GEO fencing – if you don’t know what it is learn quickly, before your competition
➢ Constant phone training – in and out bound calls
Those are just a few of the items I plan on working on with my clients this year in order to “e the Best we can be”. You can design your profit for 2016 step by step.
My hopes are this may spark a “light” within you to do the things “only you can do” but they require a time commitment from you. 2015 has been a very good year. 2016 is again going to be a very good year. We have no guarantee how many more good ones we have before the cycle turns downward. Don’t make this a good year – make it a Super Great year.
Plan your future step my step. If I can be of help – the nest step would be to pick up the phone and call: 815-978-5038. That’s my cell – I will answer and we can decide if I can help you attain YOUR goals.
Are you planning for Maximizing Profits for 2015?
In the past 30 days, I have attended an Internet Conference in Las Vegas, viewed eight webinars and read in excess of 30 articles on “new and improved ideas”, techniques and products; all related to what’s working BEST with the Internet TODAY.
What is my conclusion? Everything is working, yet nothing is working. So, not to worry you – I do HAVE THE ANSWER.
First, let’s look at some of the latest statistics:
Here are some statistics you have probably heard just to confirm:
* 90% of the people shopping for automobiles are at one time going online and viewing things via the internet.
* Phone-ups currently are 4-1 over lead submission.
* The average person is visiting approximately 1.5 dealerships.
Now, here are some stats you probably did not know!
DAYS TO SOLD
Day 1 – 14%
Day 2 – 18%
Day 3 – 12%
Day 4 – 6%
Day 5 – 4%
Days 6/10 – 14%
Days 10/30 – 19%
Days 30+ – 12%
Since I started specializing with the Internet, I have been teaching the importance of having a “long-term” schedule to identify and engage potential clients and I am still an advocate of that; however, I am changing my emphasis to the first 5-days, with an accelerated push at that time and then automating things, with just a couple of calls. Let’s consider the logic.
DAYS TO CONTACT
Day 1 – 67% 99% of Sold’s were contacted within the first 5 days
Day 2 – 19%
Day 3 – 8%
Day 4 – 2%
Day 5 – 1.5%
Day 6 – .5%
Then, the next question to come up should be what method is being used to ENGAGE there people? 72% of the people were contacted by phone and 28% were engaged via email. This tells me that strong emphasis needs to be placed in order to get the right person to speak with you on the phone. Question: “Does your first email response ask to have a telephone conversation for additional details? It should – even if the prospect did not provide a number, ask them to take the time to call – you will both be better satisfied!
So, considering the statistics and remembering that I told you I had the answer….. so here it is. THE ROAD TO THE SALE today, whether you want to admit it or not, starts online! How much time does your sales manager spend with your BDC, Internet Sales People, whomever you have responding to these opportunities? I was taught that the best management style in a dealership is performing “one-on-ones” daily with the salespeople, I still believe that, but if your main sales manager is not performing “one-on-ones” daily with your people responding to your Internet leads everyday you are missing opportunities. They should be making certain that multiple calls are being daily in the first five days in an endeavor to contact new leads Additionally, there should be at least four hours between attempts. Are they viewing the emails being sent? Are they discussing the messages being left? Are they monitoring how many out-going dials are being made everyday? If you are not doing these things daily, you are probably not selling 11% of the overall leads you get.
54% WILL PURCHASE WITHIN THE 1ST 5 DAYS
33% WILL PURCHASE BETWEEN DAYS 6 – 30
12% WILL PURCHASE 30+ DAYS
As a closing note…. I speak with dealers and managers who tell how expensive it is to bring someone in to train, help set these processes in place and setup schedules to follow and my question back is always: “How expensive is it NOT TO ENLIST THE ASSISTANCE OF AN INTERNET PROCESS SPECIALIST AND HOW MUCH NET PROFIT ARE YOU ALLOWING YOUR COMPETITORS TAKE AWAY FROM YOU WHO HAVE THE PROPER PROCESSES, PROCEDURES AND PHONE TECHNIQUES TO PROPERLY HANDLE TODAY’S CUSTOMER?”
Scott Hembrough of Hembrough Business Systems worked with Cannon Auto Group in Lakeland, Flordia – a 2nd generation dealership that was struggling from bouncing back from the financial slow down the entire auto industry suffered from.
Scott helped with Internet, phone training, overall dealership processes and listen to the credit Danny Cannon gives Scott regarding the dealerships profitability.