In the service lane, increasing profit relies on the culmination of several small actions. However, many service managers overlook the details because they are too focused on increasing repair orders and hitting metrics. They don’t always realize that meeting sales goals is all about the (seemingly) little things. Superb customer service and efficient processes are the foundations of selling – it’s called the service lane after all. So, here are five ways to increase service repair orders. 

  1. Redefine the service lane – it’s not fixed ops.    

Let’s break this one down. Service lanes are a unique blend of customer service, sales, mechanics teams and fixed ops. So, using systems and tools that aren’t designed for the service lane won’t make you profitable. Dealerships must get tools and systems that support service lane processes if they want to increase profit. It’s really that simple. 

  1. Upgrade your check-in process.

Customer retention and satisfaction are a  struggle for most service lanes. Improving both begins with the write-up. Service advisors should greet customers and check them in quickly. They should also engage the customer while performing the write-up and vehicle inspection. 

While tablets can be a great tool for collecting and inputting information, they can also detract from the customer’s experience. Think about it this way: if you were on a first date with someone who spent the evening scrolling through his phone, would you want a second date? 

For this reason, it’s important to temper tablet use with eye contact and personal communication. We recommend using a hands-free system that auto-generates vehicle service history, and VIN and mileage-specific recommended maintenance reports so that advisors can interact with customers. It’s not a no-no to have a tablet handy to collect and input data, but make sure your advisors are practiced at doing so while carrying on a conversation, and taking breaks to look up from the tablet, explain vehicle issues, and ask if there are any questions.

  1. Develop an effective service lane check-in process. 

Once you’re hands-free, you can improve the customer check-in experience, which goes a long way when it comes to increasing ROs. An effective check-in includes the following: 

  • A walk around with the customer. Service advisors should verbally and physically point out issues they find. 
  • A printed report that includes any recalls, warranties, vehicle history, maintenance and problems detected. 
  • An overview of the report with the customer. This is a quality conversation where you go over recommended services.    
  • A customer may decline at this point, so simply ask why.     
  • For whatever reasons they give, respond with reasonable solutions.     
  • Be honest. Building customer trust can be a long game. The only way to play it right is transparency. 
  1. Communicate with customers. 

In a world where we can order a product on Amazon, track it, and receive it within two days, why can’t service departments update their customers? Inconsistent communication is a problem in most service lanes, and it kills profits. If you notice customers are calling asking when their car will be done, you aren’t serving them well. Investing in a communications system, or simply having service advisors update them via text, goes a long way. Customers want to know the status of their repair but shouldn’t have to beg service departments for updates. Be proactive.  

  1. Follow up. 

If you don’t already have a customer relationship management system (CRM), get one. For those who don’t know, CRMs help companies manage their database of customers and keep track of their engagement. It can also integrate with various marketing platforms, which makes sending emails and service reminders simple to schedule. An untapped resource is customers who didn’t buy a car from your dealership. Seems like an odd place to get business, but there are a million reasons why customers may not have purchased from your particular dealership. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide repair services. Make sure you’re not losing potential profits by sending out a friendly reminder about your services to any guest who graced the car sales floor. 

Increasing repair orders is all about behavior, so if you follow these tips, you’ll see your profits soar. However, if you need a  little help, eAdvisor offers the only system dedicated to improving the service lane check-in process, so give us a call.