In the service lane, increasing profits 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. Superb customer service and efficient processes are the foundations of generating revenue – it’s called the service lane after all. So, here are five ways to keep your profits healthy.
1. Redefine the Service Lane
Let’s break this one down. Service lanes are a unique blend of customer service, sales, and mechanics teams. 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.
2. 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.
3. Develop an Effective Service Lane Check-in Process
Once you’re handsfree, you can improve the customer check-in experience, which goes a long way for profits. An effective check-in includes the following:
A walk around with the customer. The service advisor should verbally and physically point out issues they find.
An overview of VIS, OASIS, VIP, TIS, and Recommended maintenance reports with the customer. This is a quality conversation to 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.
4. 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. Customers want to know the status of their repair but shouldn’t have to beg service departments for updates. Be proactive. (And ask about eAdvisor’s new service CRM).
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. Make sure you’re not losing potential profits by sending out a friendly reminder about your services to any guest who graced the service lane.
Staying profitable is all about behavior, so if you follow these tips, you’ll see a great improvement. However, if you need a little help, eAdvisor offers the only system dedicated to the service lane, so give us a call.