Dealerships have always relied on their service departments to make a profit and keep more customers. While experts say fixed-ops sales are increasing across the board – up 5.6% since last year – service departments need to stay on top of their customer service game if they want to stay profitable. So, here are a few retention pointers. 

Be Efficient

If customers have to wait for extended periods of time while service advisors collect vehicle information, your service department isn’t as efficient as it could be. In our “instant gratification” culture, customers don’t want to wait or have their time wasted. One way to combat this is to engage them during the write-up process by walking them through the multi-point inspection. Another way is to simply upgrade your process and/or outdated technology. According to Automotive News, an efficient service lane plays a major role in the success of a dealership and retention. 

Create a Quality Customer Experience 

The service lane check-in process is about quality. In fact, sales trainer Jeff Cowan recommends limiting each service advisor to 15 repair orders per day in order to maximize customer retention.  Pushing customers through like hot cakes decreases sales and relationship-building opportunities. And though customers don’t like waiting, if service advisors are engaging them with quality care, the extra time will translate to customer loyalty and profit. 

Target your Marketing Messages  

Dealerships shouldn’t advertise to service lane customers in the same way they would for new car shoppers.  So, your service lane communications need to be very specific.  Your marketing should address certain “pain points “of car ownership and maintenance. Start by considering what worries and annoyances you hear expressed the most. Whatever it is, you can develop a marketing strategy around it. You can never go wrong with coupons or discount promotions (the eAdvisor system includes dealer coupons in the Recommended Maintenance Report). But because car service is a pricey risk for customers, make sure your messaging addresses any apprehensions that might stop them from using the coupon in the first place. If a customer feels that you understand their concerns and have their best interests in mind, they’ll come back again and again. 

Through efficient processes, quality customer care, and meaningful marketing your service department can create lasting customer relationships. If you’d like to explore how eAdvisor can help improve your service lane and retention, please contact us!