Analytics for Dealerships for a More Lucrative Service Lane
It’s no longer sufficient to merely offer outstanding service in the automobile business because of all the changes and disruptions. Nowadays, it’s important to have an advantage over the competition, and the service lane is one area where this is especially true.
This explains why more auto dealerships are discovering how to rely on data analytics to inform choices and improve dealership performance. Effectively utilizing your dealership’s analytics will help you increase customer happiness, streamline operations (including work assignment and inventory management), and boost the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives.
However, how does that truly appear? What advantages does a more data-focused service department at your dealership have? What metrics should you monitor? Let’s get going.
Understanding Data Analytics’ Importance in the Service Department
In order to improve many elements of dealership operations, data analysis enables service departments to depend more on objective information than on subjective judgment. Utilizing data analytics, dealers can:
increase client satisfaction
For the service department to become more profitable, improving the customer experience is crucial. For instance, dealerships might change personnel levels to cut wait times and boost overall customer satisfaction by evaluating data to identify peak service hours. Using data analytics also allows you to:
Analyze consumer behavior: A dealership, for instance, can learn that its customers prefer text message updates regarding the status of their vehicle’s service, prompting the dealership to put in place a more effective text-based communication system.
Streamline appointment scheduling: A dealership might modify staff schedules to provide adequate coverage during these peak periods, minimizing customer wait times on the phone, by realizing that the majority of customers call to arrange appointments during weekday lunch hours.
Improve communication: A dealership could put in place a proactive communication plan if they notice that a large portion of incoming calls are about status updates. As an illustration, clients can receive automatic service progress updates, which lowers the number of incoming calls and boosts customer satisfaction.
Streamline the work of the service department.
Dealerships may discover skill gaps and offer focused training by evaluating technician performance data, thereby boosting efficiency and service quality. Without having to build anything new, filling in skill gaps can also help increase service lane capacity. For example, if you have new and experienced technicians, you can assign the newbies simpler tasks like oil changes to speed up the completion of complicated repairs.
Dealerships can determine the ideal staffing numbers by analyzing call statistics and appointment schedules, ensuring that service advisers and technicians are not overworked and that consumers receive fast service.
While inventory shortages might be painful, they are frequently manageable if you place your orders ahead of time. Dealerships may make better decisions about which parts to have in their inventory by examining historical service tasks. By doing so, they can ensure that they satisfy client requests and service vehicles quickly without having to wait around for replacement parts.
Consider this example of anticipating seasonal demand: The data indicates that there is a rise in demand for tire replacements during specific winter months. The dealership can be ready for the busy season and shorten client wait times by stocking up on the right number of winter tires in advance.
Finding frequently replaced parts: You probably have a good idea of the components that need to be replaced most frequently during routine maintenance (such as brake pads, air filters, and oil filters), but having good data available will help show how frequently you typically restock for each component, making stock orders easier to automate.
Stocking components for popular car models: Dealerships can make sure they have the appropriate parts in stock for their clients’ vehicles by checking data on the most frequently serviced vehicle makes and models. This not only expedites the completion of a service job but also reflects your dealership’s dedication to giving customers effective, personalized service.
Monitoring the appropriate parameters to increase service revenue
Dealerships must first determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that have a direct impact on their profitability in order to successfully implement data analytics in the service department. Think about utilizing KPIs like:
Scores on the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Positive customer experiences are indicated by high CSI scores, which can boost repeat business and customer loyalty.
Call fail rate: A low call fail rate demonstrates that the service department is efficiently handling customer inquiries and booking appointments.
Defection rate: Tracking the number of customers who switch to competitors helps dealerships identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to retain clients.
The relative price of services: By monitoring prices relative to competitors, dealerships can ensure their service pricing remains optimal, balancing profit margins with total customer volume.
Revenue growth: Monitoring overall revenue growth is crucial to assess the department’s financial health and identify potential growth opportunities.
Campaign conversion rate: By tracking the conversion rate of personalized marketing campaigns, dealerships can measure the effectiveness of their targeted efforts to drive service appointments.
Knowing your target market will improve your marketing communications
By having key customer data on hand, preferably linked up with an automated maintenance marketing system, you can provide more personalized communication and drive better results. Make sure you’re recording information like:
Vehicle make and model: Knowing the type of vehicle a customer owns can help a dealership tailor marketing messages to that customer’s specific needs, such as suggesting maintenance services or highlighting new models that may be of interest.
Purchase history: Understanding a customer’s past purchases, such as the type of vehicle they bought and when they bought it, can help dealerships anticipate when a customer may be in the market for a new car or in need of service.
Service history: Tracking a customer’s service history can help a dealership anticipate what services a customer may need in the future and target them with relevant offers.
Demographic information: Knowing a customer’s age, income, and other demographic information can help dealerships tailor their marketing messages to resonate with that customer’s specific needs and interests.
Communication preferences: Understanding how a customer prefers to be contacted, whether it’s via email, text message, or phone call, can help dealerships reach out to customers in a way that’s convenient and comfortable for them.
Overcoming Obstacles in Implementing Data Analytics
While data analytics offers numerous benefits, dealerships may encounter some challenges in implementing these tools. Some of these are easier to overcome than others:
Data quality: Dealerships sometimes struggle with collecting and maintaining accurate, up-to-date data. Ensure data collection methods are standardized, implement data cleansing practices, and conduct regular data audits.
Integration issues: Any business will struggle to integrate data from multiple systems and platforms. To handle this, you may want to consider using a cloud-based data management system that can integrate data from other systems, like your DMS or accounting software.
Skill gaps: Depending on the system you choose, more technical expertise might be needed. You can consider upskilling current employees if that’s the case, hiring external specialists, or simply looking for a system that’s user-friendly.
Cost: Dealerships may find implementing data analytics systems expensive. Data systems are only as good as the processes you’re using to track and leverage your data, so if you’re considering a major upgrade, make sure you have a clear plan for how the insights generated by your system will be used to improve results.
Your DMS may have some built-in data analytics capabilities, but in many cases, these are limited. To fully harness the power of data analytics in your service department, you may need to consider investing in specialized data analytics software or supplementing your DMS with a customer relationship management system (CRM), or other third-party analytics solution that offers features like customizable reporting.
We won’t endorse any particular solution here, but this list of dealer CRMs has many options to choose from. By leveraging your dealership’s analytics, you have the potential to significantly increase profitability in the service department. Having access to valuable data can make a huge difference in growing your profitability.
For instance, knowing when service customers are most likely to defect can help you be proactive about maintaining their loyalty. To learn more about these critical moments, read our guide to Avoiding Potholes in the Customer Journey.
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