Say hello to the new auto shopper: the digital driver. With the rapid adoption of mobile devices and the increase in auto shoppers looking for information on the go, dealerships must adapt to these ever-changing trends.
Your service department, in particular, is an area of the dealership that has the greatest opportunity to take advantage of these trends. According to Google, 43% of drivers perform a search online when deciding where to take their vehicle for service. And this number, especially via mobile devices, is on the rise.
What are they searching for? DIY repair tips, towing services, vehicle repair shops, dealerships, special offers, and more. Service shoppers are constantly performing service related searches online. So does your service department show the top the 3 spots most visible results on Google?
Digital is a major player
I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s a common myth among service shoppers that all repair shops are the same, perform the same services, and all for the same price. Does that hold true for your dealership? Do you offer the same quality of service as an independent service shop? No!
So the question is, how can you cost-effectively reach the thousands of local prospects who search for service each month in your market? Through Digital marketing. Now’s your chance to get in front of in-market service clients when they’re ready to book a service and tell your story.
In fact, there are probably a lot of differentiators between your dealership and independent service shops that are not being told. If you reign supreme in service, have immediate access to OEM parts, courtesy vehicles or any other comforts that could make the service experience better, digital is the best way to educate consumers and dispel the myths held by service shoppers about dealership service departments.
Discounts, coupons and deals are important to consumers, but when it comes to service, 81% agree that quality service is more important than price.
Drivers are looking online
Studies show that about 40% of drivers research how to do their own repair before taking a vehicle in for service. They’re looking to save time and money. This provides you two opportunities to assist them and drive them straight to your dealership.
First, video. There are close to 300,000 Youtube videos focused on how to change oil filters, brake fluid and fuel pumps. Take a few hours out of your week to add your videos to the lot. The videos make you a valuable resource and thought leader to the local consumer. You are now the expert in their eyes, They’ll catch a glimpse of your service lane in your videos, meet your techs and more.
Second, visibility. If you’re serving tailored ads online, when your potential customers are researching service and find themselves overwhelmed or the repair too complicated, your service department’s ads are right in front of them as a local expert.
Smartphones have become part of most shoppers’ daily lives. An “always on” mentality has developed, enabled by mobile’s convenience and portability. This behavior is changing the way Americans conduct their daily lives—what they buy, when and where.
Powered by the combination of mobile applications with GPS technology, geo-targeting provides a new opportunity to serve search results based on an auto shopper’s location and expectations. Half of smartphone and tablet users expect to locate an auto business within local driving distance. This should be of particular interest to service departments. Where do most service incidents happen on the road? And how are stranded drivers going to find a service resource? That’s right, their mobile device!
Drive shoppers to your service lane
If you take nothing else from my article, note that service shoppers spend ample time researching service online before making a decision about where to take their vehicle.
They’re using the Internet in a variety of ways, but all you need to know is that they’re online and they’re looking for information. It’s your job to ensure that your dealership shows up in their service-related searches and that you, the expert, are there to educate them. Dealers once controlled 100% of the service and parts retails business, but independent service shops are outmarketing dealerships and stealing $225 billion a year from dealers like you.
There is a major opportunity for dealerships to tell their story and sway the common misconceptions about dealership service departments. If you invest in a service digital marketing campaign to deliver the right message at the right time, local service customers will find you and head to your service lane, growing your profitability and retention rate all at the same time.