Why Dealership Service Begins with the Sale
Why Customer Service at Dealerships Begins With the Sale
An excellent first impression is one that you won’t get a second chance to make.
The customer-service department connection at a dealership doesn’t start when the customer’s car requires its first oil change. It actually begins the moment the new owner of the vehicle consents to sign on the dotted line.
It is challenging for dealerships to build brand loyalty through the sales process alone because many consumers only visit the dealership once or twice when they buy a vehicle. It is vital that your dealership’s sales team set up your service department to repeatedly satisfy your consumers because the service center is frequently where that loyalty is earned.
When customers enter, they immediately start to evaluate their experience.
Buyers are assessing how they are being treated and if they feel taken advantage of or are receiving a decent bargain from the minute they are greeted by the sales crew. After all, the majority of consumers have already done some web research and are aware of the fierce competition in the car sector.
They will quit if they are not satisfied at any stage of the purchasing process or if they believe their needs are not being met. Because of this, offering top-notch customer service and creating a trustworthy environment will set dealerships apart from the competition and serve as a crucial starting point for obtaining repeat business.
By providing consumers with tools that assist them in making knowledgeable purchasing decisions, such as product reviews, buyer’s guides, or case studies, you can gain their trust.
A crucial phase is the handoff from sales to service.
While NADA indicates that parts and services only accounted for approximately 12% of dealership income in 2020, they may frequently contribute a significantly larger amount of gross profit than any other department in a dealership. As a result, service revenue can have a huge impact on your dealership’s bottom line. As you are aware, the service division is equally essential for customer retention and repeat business.
However, according to a recent DealerRater survey, only 42% of the 16,000 car buyers questioned had been given the name of the service department before they made their purchase. Even worse, 25% of respondents couldn’t recall ever having interacted with service personnel.
According to a recent Cox Automotive Maintenance and Repair Study, clients who are introduced to the service department after the car purchase are 1.5 times more likely to return for service and later buy another vehicle. Dealers may raise that number by ensuring a smooth transition from sales to service, starting with a brief tour.
Customers feel more secure after a smooth transition from sales to service since they know who to contact if they have concerns or need assistance with their vehicle in the future. On this basis, the tone for the entire service relationship is established.
If you execute it correctly, the automobile owner will feel confident in the service crew in the future. The euphoria surrounding their new purchase quickly fades if you take up too much of their time or waste it by not offering anything worthwhile.
Utilize this introduction and tour to start informing consumers about the maintenance schedule for their new vehicle and the value of showing up on time for service to maximize the lifespan and safety of the vehicle. Describe the benefit of having technicians on site who have received manufacturer-specific training. When you hand over the car keys, schedule their first maintenance visit, and notify them of the repairs the service department offers to add even more value.
Assist clients in understanding the warranty coverage
Nothing aggravates a car owner more than going to the service department of the dealership expecting a repair to be covered and then learning it isn’t. Because of this, it’s critical to confirm that clients comprehend their coverage at the time of vehicle purchase. Walking around the car and pointing out what is and is not protected is one approach to achieving this.
As they are exiting the parking lot, don’t suggest an additional warranty. Instead, include this discussion in the sales process so that customers may learn about the possibilities. Knowing that every stage of their ownership experience is covered will make them feel well taken care of.
Provide upfront incentives tied to customer service to entice repeat business
Do you still recall that fantastic Honda service advertisement from 2015 that advised drivers to “Don’t open your hood to strangers”? Customers want to return “home,” but occasionally they require a gentle prod.
Consider making it worthwhile for car owners to return to your dealership for service in order to encourage them to do so. One efficient method to entice customers back is through maintenance plans that are covered by the manufacturer. However, not every dealership offers this choice, and for those that do, the manufacturer doesn’t always foot the bill for maintenance.
The solution is an incentive program like SimpSocial, which offers customers free rental coverage, tire protection against road hazards, and renewable roadside support for the duration of the advised servicing interval. The consumer only needs to return to the dealership for maintenance or repairs to renew the benefits. As a result, you have a new tool at your disposal to make repeat consumers happy.
Don’t miss this crucial opportunity to encourage customers to bring their cars ‘home’ for maintenance and repairs since it begins the day they purchase the vehicle and before they drive away from your dealership for the first time.
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