Techniques for Introducing Digital Changes in Your Dealership’s Service Department

All types of dealership service departments are switching from using pens, paper, and even whiteboards for record-keeping to computers and digital files. Dealerships may leverage technology in more ways than ever to expand their operations and replace antiquated, inefficient, and labor-intensive procedures. Which technology, though, should dealers implement to help streamline and improve the procedures already in place at their dealerships?


You should begin utilizing technology in the service department since it is the main source of revenue for your company. By implementing the appropriate digital solutions in your service department, you may increase income, shorten the time it takes from the start of a work order to the time it is invoiced, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.


How does digital transformation work?


Salesforce defines digital transformation as:


“The process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, cultures, and customer experiences to meet changing business and marketing requirements.”


Digital transformation is essentially about moving away from obsolete technology and examining how our behavior as consumers has evolved. Take a look at how smartphones and applications have affected how we manage our daily lives and how we shop, for instance.


The process of digitization is not new. Service departments at equipment dealerships are being digitally transformed by the new component. In order to replace outdated techniques for tracking service processes, such as whiteboards, notebooks, and handwriting, digital transformation involves adopting digital practices.


How may these modifications be used to position dealerships for success?


Continue reading to learn how farm equipment dealers run their businesses using the software.


When deciding which digital innovations to implement in your dealership’s service department, there are eight key considerations to keep in mind.


Infrastructure, first


Whether your dealership currently has the infrastructure, specifically the internet bandwidth, to support digital changes is the first item to evaluate. The internet is used by each device brought into the dealership. However, if the internet is sluggish, it will take too long for information to be transferred between the consumer and the service expert. Putting the infrastructure in place can let you communicate with customers more rapidly and enhance their experience.


Secondly, mobile


Customers are already accustomed to performing numerous tasks on their mobile devices. Due to the possibility that customers will demand it, it is critical for dealerships to begin implementing tools and procedures that are mobile-friendly. Mobile applications are an example of a tool you may use to swiftly engage with customers and service professionals when you begin to think about digital changes.


You should also think about making your website mobile-friendly. This makes sure that users of any device can access your website. Consider switching from faxing to texting as well. More dealerships are switching to mobile solutions to stay competitive in today’s market since they are quicker, more accurate, and have good cellular service even in remote places.


Communication, Third


The largest complaint from customers is that there isn’t enough communication when their equipment is being serviced. How can a dealership communicate with customers more proactively?


The service department should first take a closer look at how they schedule their shop walkthroughs.


Check-in with the technicians at each bay during these walkthroughs to learn the status of a service repair and whether a customer update is required. The customer may have already been updated when you checked six hours later, saving you time and allowing you to move on to the next stage.


Ask your field service technicians how they’re doing, the ETA of the work order, and other things as you speak with them. This enables you to have proactive communication with the customer from the service technicians both in the shop and out in the field. Sending such communication to your customers via mobile is also a terrific idea.


4. Electronic Workflow


Although paper is still the dealership’s primary tool, consider the technician in the bay that is the farthest away. The technician has to halt, tidy up, and then proceed to walk the entire distance to the service office. Keep in mind the return travel as well. You should consider implementing a digital workflow system for your dealership’s service divisions.


Give your technicians the resources they need to communicate with the service office more effectively, such as the ability to provide data to clients via mobile devices. This improves their productivity and lessens any manual tasks they could be dealing with. You may now complete more work in less time thanks to improvements in the digital workflow, or you can save money and work more efficiently when you don’t have as much to do.


5. Electronic Timesheet


Another significant area where you can digitally improve your service department is with timesheets. They lessen inaccuracies and differences, particularly when it comes to warranty work orders. For instance, when a technician is on the job site, they frequently call the service manager and ask them to punch in the technician’s time. However, if it’s a warranty job, doing this could be problematic, especially if your company is being audited. Additionally, this bothers manufacturers since it can allow for numerical manipulation. There is no need to question anyone’s integrity; it’s just not the correct procedure.


The precise time on the clock can be entered using digital timesheets by technicians. Better still if they can do it through a mobile device. To clock in for work, the technician doesn’t need to return to the dealership or ask someone else to do it for them. Your dealership needs to put in place a system that allows technicians to clock in without relying solely on their own or another person’s memory.


6. Keeping track


Service managers employ big whiteboards, Excel sheets, and some digital dashboards to keep an eye on their technicians and workloads. However, not even those spreadsheets and dashboards will alert you if a technician exceeds the specified job time. You can take your phone to observe and comprehend what technicians are doing if you have a digital solution that is designed for mobile devices, such as an app or website. You can keep an eye on that more rapidly if you need to deploy another technician to assist. Having a method or tool to rapidly track progress is important.


7. Organizing


Look for a platform that enables your service department to have a dynamic planning schedule so that you can manage and track the time spent on a work order. You should be able to manage and schedule technicians and their work orders using a digital planning system that provides you with visibility into one or more weeks at once.


Service managers can then make decisions about whether to dispatch a technician to a fieldwork or accept an incoming job by using the tool to find openings in the schedule. A tool for multi-week planning provides insight into the present week and several weeks in the future. This enables service managers to plan and budget for adequate coverage in the event that a technician is absent.


8. Messaging Direct


The most crucial tool a dealership should take into account when looking to digitally transform its service department is undoubtedly direct messaging. Imagine a world where service personnel isn’t constantly taking or making phone calls, interacting with customers who are dropping off equipment and waiting for a technician to discuss information with them, or interacting with salespeople who want to know how the service work order is progressing. Your technicians will save time and be able to accomplish more work if you have a solution that can directly inform customers of the status of their equipment.


How do I begin the digital transformation of my dealership?


Digital tools and solutions for dealerships are spreading throughout the market. Reading over a list like this and attempting to determine where in your service department the first adjustment should be made might be intimidating. The most crucial element is to have a single starting point, which is typically a tool or piece of software.


After that, analyze and comprehend how to use the digital tools and solutions that are available to you to replace older, manual processes. Then, based on the objectives and requirements of your dealership, you can create a plan to implement additional technologies as required. Take the time to carefully analyze the instruments you are contemplating, that much is certain. Make sure they are adaptable and can expand with your company.

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