If you haven’t noticed, our culture has changed. Your customers are no longer willing to wait. Everyone wants everything NOW!
Just look at the leader of the pack, Amazon. With this market powerhouse it’s all about same day or 2-day delivery. I can’t tell you how many times my first filter on Amazon has been to see how fast I could get something I needed – delivered right to my doorstep. This phenomenon is not going away. We’re already starting to see it in the automotive retail space. And soon, that will expand to include service as well. So, get ready for a huge shift.
Well, if you look at current trends, you can see that the writing’s on the wall; ride-sharing being the biggest current shift. In the next five years I would seriously advise you to start preparing for an automotive service environment that includes 24/7 service, or you will miss the next boom in fixed ops.
Consider Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services. An ambitious driver will drive 60,000 miles per year, or 200 miles per day, approximately 300 days per year; allowing for a few days off. Any downtime for these driver’s vehicles costs them money. What do ride-sharing drivers want? Convenience. Take me for example. I like to get groceries at 2am because nobody is there and
I can get what I need, checkout and be done. As ride-sharing proliferates, drivers will turn to those services that offer the most convenience and cater to their schedules. If those services are not at a dealership, they will go elsewhere.
And, since 2010, new car buyers have decreased in every age group, aside from 55+. If, due to lack of convenience, today’s dealerships only get 1/3 of the repairs from younger generations, it becomes imperative to improve the convenience factor, or they will lose even more service revenue.
Alright, so, what can you do now to prepare for this shift while optimizing your current service operations?
I suggest that you:
- Take a look at your current operations and see what can be done to better maximize your service capacity.
- Once you’ve maximized your service capacity, institute a pickup and delivery service for your customers. It’s all about convenience and that extra convenience can make customers chose you over any competition.
- Extend your hours from 2 shifts to a 24-hour service operation, so customers can get service on their terms, whenever they can fit it into their schedules.
- If #3 above didn’t raise any eyebrows, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of push back on this one; but you’ll be thanking me several years down the line if you consider this option: What about building remote service facilities so that your customers can get service not only when they need it, but WHERE they need it? Think about it. Your current facility can only handle so much traffic. Perhaps OEM rules need to change so that these facilities can even be outside your PMA, which extends your brand and reach, and could even make for some new vehicle sales from service as well.
Yes, this will take some getting used to; more resources and some changes in scheduling and organization. However, I strongly believe change is on the horizon and it is something you need to get ready for in order to survive and thrive.
Doing it now means that your dealership has the first-to-market edge. And, while your competition may think you’re crazy, consumers will flock to you and remain loyal as you become the Amazon of automotive service. And that’s what leads to a profitable future.
Author: Ujj Nath
Ujj Nath is the Founder and CEO of myKaarma (www.mykaarma.com), the cloud-based conversational commerce software that’s revolutionizing the auto service industry. He has 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and automotive industry executive. In 1990, prior to myKaarma, Ujj founded Syncata, a major provider of business consulting and systems integration services. In 2004 he successfully negotiated the sale of the company to ProQuest Business Solutions (NYSE: PQE), which was subsequently acquired by Snap-On Tools (NYSE:SNA). At Snap-On, Ujj was Vice President of Global Accounts and headed the Professional Services Organization for Snap-on Business Solutions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.