When it comes to increasing service revenue, there is no shortage of areas to consider – improving process efficiency, expanding facilities, hiring more technicians, just to name a few. With an ever-expanding list of action-items, many dealerships are overlooking one of the easiest ways to increase service revenue and the best part – it doesn’t involve spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in remodeling or new-hires.
The low-hanging fruit in most service department lies in declined service. No, seriously. If you don’t have a rock-solid process for recapturing declined services, your dealership is likely leaving a large amount in missed opportunities (and future sales) on the table. The good news is this is a relatively easy fix and a surefire way to add to your dealership’s bottom line.
Traditionally, most dealers only track accepted service business when it is listed on the repair order and entered into the DMS. Few dealers even bother to record declined services due to the difficult task of manually entering codes for services or repairs customers don’t even want.
We all know that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Declined services account for a significant amount of missed opportunity in service, and as profits shrink on the sales side, dealers can no longer afford to let these dollars slip through the cracks.
Customers decline services for one of two reasons: they either don’t believe you, or they can’t afford it at that moment. Does that mean they will NEVER opt for that particular service? Not necessarily, and if you take the time to educate and build a trust-based relationship you stand a much better chance of performing the service than the independent service folks down the street.
The key reason you aren’t capturing these service opportunities is likely simple. Your service advisors need a better process for capturing the data you need – every declined service for individual customers that visit your service drive. Modern, affordable tablet technology can bridge the data gap, enabling the service advisor to quickly and easily document declined services during the multi-point inspection.
With a solid tracking process in place, you can focus on addressing the root problem – customers likely decline in the first place due to lack of trust or lack of money. Both situations can be overcome. Let’s focus on the outcome you can control – your relationship with the customer. Provide them proof of the problem with a personalized, video documenting the reason for each of your repair recommendations. Give your service advisors the power to completely eliminate disbelief from the equation by showing a set of bare brake pads alongside a new set. The beauty of video is, at that point, the customer no longer needs to believe you – they can see for themselves.
Now that you have overcome one of the two obstacles (you still can’t fill an empty bank account), what do you do with that video evidence and declined service information after the customer leaves? Remarket to them!
It’s time to think beyond serving up a generic service coupon. Modern consumers expect accurate, personalized marketing. Leverage the physical proof that the vehicle needs repairs, along with the necessary documentation to remarket to the customer. The return on this style of marketing is incredible and far more efficient than traditional efforts.
Look, we’re all seeking ways to grow our bottom line in ever-changing markets. The added value in recapturing this lost business is a compelling story itself, but this new technology provides an even more compelling opportunity – the chance to rewrite the stereotypical narrative of a customer leaving the service desk feeling scammed and heading right down the street to a competitor.
Each of these visits represents the unique opportunity to build stronger relationships based on transparency and trust. Every customer experience has the potential to result in a positive referral or a negative referral where consumers tell their friends to avoid your shop. What story will your customers tell?
Author: Bill Wittenmyer
Bill Wittenmeyer has over more than 20 years of experience in the automotive space and currently manages multiple divisions within his organization including sales, marketing, OEM relationships and large-client accounts. He speaks at several prominent automotive forums each year. Before joining ELEAD1ONE, he spent several years in dealership operations management.