As the Spring season blooms, customers are eagerly seeking prompt replacements for their winter tires. With a staggering 72% of Canadians owning winter tires, the demand for tire appointments is rapidly increasing.
This presents an opportunity to optimize your operations and gain an edge over your competitors. By adopting powerful solutions, you can enhance customer and employee satisfaction while ensuring seamless efficiency. Our meticulously crafted and expertly curated tips will help you prepare your Service Department to run like a well-oiled machine. Embrace the full potential of this tire season and maximize your business growth by implementing these best practices and solutions.
It all starts by being proactive. Executing a perfectly timed marketing campaign that gets customers thinking about changing their tires early in the season will help you maximize shop capacity. The earlier you allow customers to schedule their appointments, the more options you will be able to make available to them. This will remove bottlenecks and allow your service department to operate efficiently and at full capacity.
With a streamlined communication solution, you can easily get your customers scheduled for a time that works for them. That way, they won’t have to wait too long to get their car serviced, and minimize friction for your employees along the way.
But what’s the easiest way to get in contact with your customers? According to market insights, emails and calls are increasingly getting ignored. We have to turn to a better communication channel. The most effective way to communicate with modern consumers is through text messages. Let’s take a deeper look at that.
Texting is the preferred communication method for modern consumers. 90% of customers today prefer to receive texts instead of calls. With the average consumer becoming reliant on texting, it only makes sense to communicate with them in their preferred channel. So this busy season, get in touch with your customers through an automotive marketing campaign that they will actually read.
Studies show that 95% of text messages are read in less than three minutes. With such an impactful way of communicating, why stop at simple reminders? Use this as an opportunity to let your customers book and check in for their appointment directly on their phone!
Instead of busying your phone lines with confirmation calls or playing phone tag with your customers, mobile check-ins can make this an efficient process. Customers can confirm their appointment no matter where they are — all from their phone!
Not only does this make the process so much easier for you and your customers, but it can also drastically reduce the number of no-shows you have by giving them timely reminders before their appointment. This allows your customers to easily indicate they need to cancel or reschedule an appointment they can’t make. It also makes it easier for your service department to utilize its schedule to the fullest. You’ll now be able to fit in as many appointments as possible!
Service reminders are also a great opportunity to let your customers know about the option to Service Now Pay Later. They can take time to consider this option from the privacy of their phone instead of waiting until they pick up their vehicle to find out about their purchasing power.
When they confirm their appointment, they will have the opportunity to explore the option of paying in installments for their vehicle servicing or even purchasing new tires. Now they won’t have to choose between driving a safe vehicle or paying for a service in full.
Once your customer checks in, clear and convenient communication shouldn’t stop there. You can also maintain that vital transparency with your customers by delivering professional, trackable estimates directly to their device.
While many customers will just come in for a tire change, your technicians might notice they are in need of brake service, wheel alignment, or have an underlying issue with their vehicle they were unaware of.
While you want to keep your customers safe by keeping their vehicles in the best shape possible, you also want to keep your customer informed the entire time their vehicle is in your care.
For transparency, utilize a solution that allows you to text professional branded estimates directly to your customers. This way they can see an itemized breakdown of the services recommended. Reinforce your estimates with VenueVision’s TechVideos app which allows your technicians to provide a detailed explanation for their recommendations by easily attaching photos and videos to estimates.
This detailed breakdown gives customers the opportunity to approve or defer services. Now you won’t have to waste time waiting for a call-back to get started on servicing a customer’s vehicle. Since your customers will have visibility throughout the entire process, you will increase customer approvals, retention and satisfaction while you drive customer loyalty and boost your overall Repair Order Values.
If you can gain your customers’ trust through transparency, you’ll earn loyal customers. But if you really want to hammer home customer retention, then you might want to consider offering a loyalty rewards program to make you their dealership of choice.
Everyone loves a good rewards program, so it’s no wonder that more than 90% of companies offer them. Why not join the club and give your customers another reason to come back to your dealership?
A loyalty program is a surefire way to incentivize your customers to return so they can redeem their rewards and save on future service.
Once you start to earn loyal customers, you will want to make sure they stay that way. The easiest way to do that is by using an automated reputation management tool that will help you ensure your customers have a great experience every time they come to your dealership.
Sending timely automated service follow-up messages allows your customers to share their experience directly with you. This will help you better understand how they view your business. After their visit, customers can rate their service experience right on their phone. So, if there is something they would have liked to see done differently, you will be notified immediately, allowing you to promptly address the situation.
If they give you a positive review, not only will you be able to take advantage by confirming what works well or by rewarding an employee for providing excellent customer service, but the happy customer will also be encouraged to share their positive experience on review platforms. This will help spread the word about the excellent service your dealership provides.
VenueVision has all the solutions you need to create the most transparent and efficient service department, from the moment your customer checks in through aftercare.
To make your service department run smoothly this tire season or for any season, deploy VenueVision’s software solutions and take the transparency and efficiency of your service department to new heights, all while your average RO Values and ratings soar!
How are you using your texting platform? We all know that texting is the fasting growing channel for businesses to communicate with their customers. In fact, 44% of customers have stated they won’t do business with a company that doesn’t use their preferred mode of communication — text. (State of the Connected Buyer Report – SalesForce) That could be almost half of your customer database that you’re not reaching or connecting with consistently.
Did you know that 90% of customers read a text message in the first three minutes after receiving it? Contrast that with the fact that only 21% of customers even open their emails (2022 Email marketing Stats – MailChimp). That’s a very compelling statistic to confirm the most successful way you should be communicating and sending information to your customers.
Maybe your business is already using texting to contact your customers. That’s great. Being able to text back and forth with your customers, communicating in real time is very effective. But what and how are you communicating?
Here are 10 tops ways to use texting to effectively target, communicate and inform your customers.
As soon as your customer has booked their appointment, send them their confirmation directly to their phones in a text. It couldn’t be easier for them to add it to their calendar!
Even with dates entered in our calendars, we have all forgotten appointments we have made, especially if they were made some time ago. Reduce no shows and cancellations by sending timely reminders of upcoming appointments a day or two ahead — or even a week before. This allows customers enough time to arrange schedules if needed or give you enough notice if they do need to reschedule. Allowing customers the ability to confirm by text and track those responses provides even better insight.
Your customers, on average, are only 90 seconds away from reading incoming text messages. When you need to reach them quickly or provide updates or information regarding their business with you, why wouldn’t you text? If you’re trying to reach them by email or by calling, that could take hours or even days at the rate some people check their emails or voice messages!
It’s already been established how quickly people will read their text messages. Use this to your advantage when you want to send quotes and estimates. With some digital estimates, customers can approve directly from their mobile device and submit back to your team in seconds. Not only do you have speedy authorizations, it will also provide an easy-to-track history if you need to refer back to the estimate to verify approval.
On the subject of digital estimates, why not increase the power of your recommendation or quote with video or images. Using media items sent directly to a customer’s mobile device will add transparency and clarity to anything you are presenting. Customers will have increased confidence in your business knowing you are providing added visibility into their service.
Your customers are busy and sometimes not able to make it in person to pay for their service, or perhaps need to pay after your business is closed. Providing your customers with an option to pay from their mobile device allows them to make that payment from any location and at a time that’s convenient for them, and allows you to receive that payment instantly.
Use the power of targeted text marketing to advertise your current sales or service promotions. Provide unique offers and incentives directly to your customers who have signed up for text communication. This can also act as an incentive to other customers and will help grow your customer texting database.
Need to reach your customers quickly with important company updates or last minute news? There is no faster or effective way then by text. With over 90% reach and average of 90 second read time, your message will be connected with your customers as fast as you can send it.
Every business wants to know their customers are satisfied. But more importantly, they NEED to know when they are NOT. Send timely follow up messages to your customers once your business has been concluded. Follow up with a text that has a simple rating system or links to a more indepth survey. Allow your customers to provide written feedback or use keywords to trigger responses. You can even include links for customers to write a business review.
Sometimes customers get busy. Sometimes they may try another business provider. Sometimes you just haven’t heard from them in a while. Reconnect with customers who you haven’t seen in a few months with a friendly text message. Remind them if they are overdue for any services or if you think there are any upcoming promotions they would be interested in.
As you can see, texting is a means of communication that can do more then just say ‘hi’ to your customers. Your business will benefit greatly if you start to incorporate more text communication and engagement with your customers. And your customers will appreciate the enhanced customer service experience. As with all texting communication though, you do need to remain compliant and provide your customers the option to remove themselves from certain types of communication.
Not all texting platforms are created equal. If you’re looking to add or switch to a texting platform that includes some or all of the above functionality, VenueVision’s autoTEXT solution can do just that. autoTEXT can provide integrated texting with automated messages, bulk texting campaigns, customer follow up and so much more. It also has a dedicated text subscription page which allows customers to customize the types of text messages they want to receive. Give us a call or book a free demo to find out all the details.
There’s no denying that technology and mobile applications are running the world, and more importantly, the way businesses and their customers interact.
Consumers have grown to expect and rely on the instantaneous results and convenience of digital technology. Things have been drastically changing in the last decade in areas such as retail, the food industry, real estate and business. Now it’s time for the automotive world to catch up.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, dealerships today need to fully embrace new innovations and adapt older processes to include these technologies. One of the most harmful phrases in business is “We’ve always done it this way.” Today’s rapidly changing business world is not the place for resistance. It’s not productive to keep using old processes that have always worked ‘just fine’.
Dealerships need to graduate from some of the more antiquated processes that hold them back from improvement and modernization. How do you know if your dealership is stuck in the past? If your dealership still has dry erase boards with sales pricing or names for upcoming sales appointments; out of date posters and print material in service; if your staff are leaving voicemails or sending emails waiting for approval (to name a few), then you are guilty as charged.
“One of the most harmful phrases in business is “We’ve always done it this way.” It’s not productive to keep using old prcesses that have always worked ‘just fine’.”
Modernizing your processes is the first step to building a better dealership. And building a better dealership means building a better customer experience. Embracing digital technology and mobile solutions will get your dealership to that level. Here are some common areas of frustration and delay at a dealership that can greatly be improved with new technology:
PRE CHECK-IN. What are you doing to engage your customers before they even come in for service? Are you providing frictionless appointment confirmation and reminders that allow them to confirm or reschedule an appointment? With over 90% of text messages being read, and in under 90 seconds, sending your reminders by text is the most beneficial way for both you and your customer.
THE CHECK IN. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Welcome and inform your customers as soon as they enter your dealership with branded Appointment screens identifying their appointment time and assigned Advisor. Educate and help upsell your current specials with appropriate videos and promotional marketing on digital screens.
COMMUNICATION. Keep your customers in the loop throughout their service with text alerts for progress of their vehicle or unforeseen repair issues. Give customers a quick and direct line of communication to their Advisor with text messaging to address any questions or concerns they may have.
TRANSPARENCY. Provide full visibility to your service customers with detailed videos and images sent directly to their mobile device. Add further value with itemized digital estimates allowing customers to review all recommended work and choose which items they want to move ahead with. This provides a level of confidence over traditional phone calls telling them what needs to be done and asking for a verbal approval.
SALES OPPORTUNITIES. Your sales team can receive details about customers regarding possible trade in or appraisal opportunities. Digital screens can display Pre-owned vehicle inventory to catch the attention of customers in the dealership.
TRANSPORTATION. Imagine knowing at all times where your Shuttle or loaner vehicles are. With the right technology you can provide scheduling and management of your transportation vehicles and loaner fleets to keep all staff informed and organized. Keep customers in the loop about their transportation requests with text confirmations and links to track shuttle location and arrival details.
THE CHECK OUT. Decrease wait times and frustration at pick up by providing a mobile payment option. Allow customers to pay quickly, securely and conveniently ahead of time, and from any location. Give customers the ability to safely provide deposits or payments for parts, vehicles or warranties without having to come down to the dealership or give out credit information.
BEFORE OR AFTER HOURS. Not every customer is able to work within your hours. You can provide Mobile Check-in options to allow customers to comfortably confirm appointments and provide extra details or concerns the night before their appointment. Provide options to collect after hours pay
It’s easy to see that there is a whole new world of technologies available. Technology that can help increase productivity and customer service. Technology that can elevate your customer experience, and in turn increase CSI scores and ROI. Dealerships who embrace these digital and mobile technologies can improve in two major areas. First, it will make all of your dealership processes run more efficiently and profitably. Second, it will drastically improve the customer experience and let your customers know that your dealership is forward thinking.
Investing in your customers and improving their experiences with your dealership will ultimately benefit customer retention and loyalty across all your dealership departments. And that is a very good reason to embrace the digital and mobile future!
Yesterday marked the official one year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a Pandemic. At this time last year, businesses around the world were shutting down or moving to work remotely if they could. Businesses deemed as ‘essential services’ were allowed to — and in some cases required to — remain open to provide those necessary services to the public.
But where did the automotive dealership fall? There certainly were a few weeks of confusion and uncertainty. Provinces made official statements within days of the pandemic declaration to clarify what were essential businesses. (Here are some articles on individual province circumstances: Ontario Dealerships Deemed Essential, Quebec Dealerships Pivot to Online Sales, BC Automotive Association pushing for Essential Service Declaration.) Soon enough, it was announced that car dealership Service Departments were considered essential.
Being considered an essential service meant you could keep your doors open for business, and keep your staff working, which was great news. BUT, in order to do so, many safety protocols had to be put in place to be compliant, and that could be a bit of bad news. Some of these changes were fairly extensive, and in some cases, needed to be implemented almost overnight.
Dealers had to install acrylic or plastic barriers between customers and staff members. Every inch of work space, including customer’s vehicles had to be routinely and properly sanitized and protected. Work spaces had to allow for 6 feet of space between each person and a limited amount of customers and staff could be in the building at the same time to ensure minimal contact and interaction. On top of that, all staff were equipped with face masks and shields, gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing spray. Yet somehow, dealerships still needed to provide a level of service to their customers that they had grown to expect. That was a tall order.
One of the first things dealerships needed to do was communicate to their customers. First and foremost, dealerships had to let their customers know they were ‘open for business’. Then came the new Covid Protocols. Most dealerships had an updated process for booking appointments, revised vehicle drop offs and pick ups and payment methods — and it was important to get this information out to customers. A lot of dealerships turned to their texting systems to reach their customers. Confirming or rebooking cancelled appointments, sending appointment reminders with details about where to park or drop off keys. All crucial information to making sure everyone remained safe and ensuring their essential service could still be done.
One of the biggest factors that dealers were confronted with from the beginning and throughout this last year, was the need to provide as many contactless services and options as possible. From remote text communication, to safe and simple key drop off points. From secure online payment options to a seamless, physically distant vehicle pick up — the most important element was the ability to provide this with the least amount of contact as possible. Thus keeping both customers and staff safe.
Even with all the technology at their hands and revised work protocols, patience was definitely required on all sides. Dealerships were adding and adjusting their work processes throughout the waves of the pandemic and provincial mandates changed (more than once!) It was a moving target at times. It took months before some dealerships could run with full staff. This was especially true in the Sales department, which were mostly working remotely. Vehicle purchases were being made solely online. Unlike the Service departments that had moderate changes to their processes, the pandemic completely changed how the car buying process worked.
On the whole, dealerships across the country seem to have adapted to this difficult, challenging situation. They have modified and adjusted to their new Covid protocols; with masks, sanitizing and physical distancing almost becoming second nature. Having to run such a tight, guarded ship can actually result in a dealership becoming more streamlined and productive. Increasing communication allowed staff to really provide the next level of customer service.
Now, a year in to the pandemic, with vaccinations rolling out and cases dropping, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Business is starting to come back to normal levels. So, what will this mean for the dealership Service Department in the future? Sure, the acrylic dividers may eventually come down. Customers and staff will hopefully be able to walk around in the dealership mask-less. But what about all the other contactless services that were brought into place? Will dealerships revert back to traditional ways of conducting business and providing service?
If history tells us anything, once society has been introduced to new technology and updated processes, they generally don’t like to go back. Going forward, customers will most likely continue to prefer contactless and streamlined options such as receiving text updates to keep them informed, quick and easy drop off procedures, and providing them the option to pay online. Services such as appointment confirmations, mobile check-ins, booking transportation and payment for services — all done from your personal device — will soon become the standard, instead of a luxury — or in this case, a Pandemic necessity.
In today’s technology-driven age, there seems to be a disconnect between how individuals communicate with each other and how businesses communicate with their customers. Can you guess what one of the biggest differences is? The answer is text messaging. If you’re like most people, the majority of your quick conversations with friends and family are via text message.
With 98% of smartphone owners using text messages on a regular basis, it’s very surprising to see that only 14 percent of businesses regularly use text messaging to communicate to their customers. Not surprisingly, a recent survey revealed that nearly 90 percent of consumers want to communicate with businesses via text.
Text messaging creates an opportunity for dealerships to share relevant information quickly with their customers. Communicating by text also differentiates dealerships by providing a direct two-way channel to drive added service upgrades, assist with sales increases and improve overall customer experiences.
Here are two key questions that dealerships should consider when evaluating whether to include text messaging in their customer communications.
When asked which communications channel they preferred to use when engaging with a business, an overwhelming majority of consumers surveyed cited a preference for text messaging over other methods like email or voice/phone interactions. Text messaging was seen as being both more relevant and timely than email. Respondents noted they only opened roughly 25 percent of the emails they received from businesses, versus opening 90 percent of their text messages received from businesses.
Dealerships that still rely on email or voicemail to get time-sensitive information and offers to customers are falling behind and are not being heard. Consumers increasingly depend on and demand messaging services that let them interact with businesses in a fast and convenient manner.
There are a number of cases to be made for introducing text messaging into your dealership. Here are some important factors:
Sending appointment reminders by text can help cut down on no-show rates and late appointment cancellations, which can often have the single biggest effect on lost revenues. Not being able to adequately prepare for appointments coming in can also lead to staffing inefficiencies and overall operational performance challenges.
Texting can improve customer satisfaction and overall service experience by providing accurate ETA windows and real-time updates and delivery notifications. Giving your customers a direct line to communicate with their service advisor will provide a level of transparency and trust that your customers are looking for.
Providing images via text message can drastically increase your turn around time for repair authorization. People respond to visual elements, so being able to show what parts needs to be replaced or serviced far exceeds the impact of explaining it over the phone.
Post service follow ups are a powerful way to harness immediate feedback from your customers. Dealerships can send messages or short survey questions and receive a higher response rate and respond to any customer concerns or problems that may come up in real-time.
Dealerships of all sizes are beginning to see the benefits of incorporating text messaging into their communication services and are finding that the transition is not a painful or difficult process, but a rewarding one. Those choosing not to support text messaging are not listening to their current customers and closing the door on potential customers who are actively seeking engagement and an increased level of customer service. As a result, these dealerships are inconveniencing customers and ignoring opportunities to build their brands, as well as falling behind in keeping up with their competition.
Find out more about autoTEXT by VenueVision and the benefits this powerful, centralized texting tool can provide to your Dealership.