For the past 15 years or so, technology has existed which enables customers to schedule service appointments online. In the beginning, the systems were very basic – the customer filled out a form online and an e-mail was sent to someone at the dealership who may – or may not – confirm that appointment.
Fast forward to today and online service appointment scheduling has evolved into systems that immediately verify the service appointment, check parts availability, analyze shop capacity based on other appointments, available bays and technician skill level, among other things.
But guess what? Despite all these advanced abilities, and the convenience to both the customer and the dealer, most dealers’ online appointment scheduling rates hover around 7-10 percent, with the head-of the-pack dealers sitting at around 20 percent – after 15 years a mere 2 out of 10 customers schedule an appointment online!
Today’s customers demand convenience, and, with all this wonderful technology, why are dealers still only getting 2 out of 10 customers to make appointments online—AT MOST?
I’ll tell you why: We went to a dealer’s website, (will remain unnamed, but most of them are the same) and we counted the clicks and inputs for the major scheduler. It took us 9 clicks and 19 inputs to get to an appointment. Is that crazy? I think so!
Yes, everyone wants to “shop load” correctly and plan the capacity. I am not asking you to go away from that, but just asking you to enable a different approach. How about a simple way for the customer to click a button on your website and have the system call them back – a-la Amazon?
It is a lot easier to verify the details and look up a recall if the person is calling you. Now if the customer does not have time to call you, let them text you.
Even that is simpler than the 9-19 step methodology. The fact is that customers don’t make appointments online because we’ve made it too hard to do so. It reminds me of my doctor today. When I go in, all she does is type into a computer and keeps collecting data on me, rather than talk to me about my health issues. We should learn from it, we have got to make it easier for customers to interact with us!
Show your customers just how much they can benefit by making an appointment. But first, make it easy for them to do so via your website, text and chat.
In so doing you can increase your service revenue, traffic, appointments set and customer experience, while utilizing your shop’s resources more efficiently.
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 email@example.com.