New Report Sheds Light On How to Better Retain Service Drive Customers
Dealerships across the U.S. are faced with the same challenge day-after-day: keeping CSI scores at sky-high levels. However, this is easier said than done. With nearly all dealerships training their teams on offering excellent customer service, and the vast majority ensuring the ideal vehicle mix, it can be hard to stay ahead of the competition.
These challenges translate to the service drive as well. In fact, service drives also have to contend with mom-and-pop and national chain mechanic shops who would be more than happy to take their customers away. Once a vehicle warranty is expired, it may seem like that event is all too likely.
However, recent findings from the Record360 Dealership Service Center Customer Report show that the warranty is not king when it comes to satisfying and retaining customers. After surveying over 500 respondents who had used a dealership’s service center in the past year, the report uncovered what encourages customers to visit their dealer’s service drive time and time again…and what makes them likely to never visit again. At the heart of the survey are ways that dealerships big and small can improve customer satisfaction, repeat visits, and bottom line growth.
WHY CUSTOMERS STOP VISITING THEIR DEALER’S SERVICE DRIVE
Sure, customers are well aware of the time left on their warranty, and that impacts their likelihood of visiting your service drive. Yet the report shows there are factors just as influential as the warranty in influencing a customer’s decision to choose their dealer for service needs.
Customers Want More Transparency In Their Service Experience
When customers were asked to list all of the reasons they did not visit their dealer’s service center, 37% cited the lack of knowing how much the service itself would cost. Additionally, 32% pointed to never knowing how long the actual service would take as a top reason for taking their vehicles to a different service location.
What is most remarkable about these findings is that they are easy problems to solve. Most service visits are fairly standard, meaning prices should be well known as should the time necessary to complete the servicing. Yet survey feedback is showing us that dealers are not making the effort needed to inform customers about these facts, and it is resulting in customers taking their vehicles elsewhere.
Customers Think You Caused Damage To Their Vehicles
Arguably, one of the worst ways to lose a customer is to let them think you did something wrong, especially if you never did. Yet the survey shows that this is likely happening. Just about every vehicle has some minor (if not major) dings and dents. However, 75% of surveyed customers stated they would no longer visit their dealer’s service drive if they thought it was the service drive’s fault.
A similar phenomenon is happening with missing vehicles. It’s all too easy for an item to be misplaced. Yet 80% of customers would no longer go to their dealer for maintenance if they thought something went missing from their car during their last visit.
Misperceptions could very well be hurting customer retention. If your service drive fails to take high-quality condition reviews of each customer vehicle, you could be left with customers think you’re responsible for damage or missing items. Yet 30 seconds spent taking photos and videos of a vehicle’s interior and exterior prior to servicing gives you the evidence you need to nip this problem in the bud before it gets out of hand.
SERVICES YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT
In addition to showing the preventative procedures that any dealer can put in place to retain customers, the report also shed light on services dealerships could offer to improve overall satisfaction with the service experience.
Easier appointment scheduling is high on customers’ list, with 45% asking for online scheduling and appointment reminders by email. Essentially, customers are expecting the same types of scheduling solutions they’re seeing in many service businesses. Additionally, 41% of customers are asking for records of their vehicle’s condition. Conveniently, this goes hand-in-hand with taking photos and videos for a condition review prior to any service visit. Not only does it give customers what they want, it also prevents misplaced perceptions about vehicular damage or missing items.
Other frequently cited services were Live Chat and Ask a Tech online portals, all of which point to service drive customers wanting and expecting their dealerships to stay on top of technology innovations to improve the service experience. After all, no customer wants to visit a service drive that seems behind on the times. Keeping ahead of these expectations will show your customers you are fully committed to a positive experience, and help you retain them for many service visits to come.
Author: Shane Skinner
Shane Skinner is Co-Founder and CEO of Record360, a digital documentation solution for dealerships and asset rental companies to decrease damage disputes, decrease damage costs and boost customer service. Prior to founding Record360, Shane worked for as controller and business manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car where he was responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for assorted business units including vehicle rental, commercial truck, retail dealerships and vehicle financing. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.