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Why Offer Online Service Scheduling?

Article Highlights:

  • Customers expect to schedule an appointment anytime, anywhere.
  • Service retention is crucial.

Automotive dealerships are competing more and more with independents for business, making service retention crucial. With vehicle sales declining, dealerships must attract and capture more service customers to fill the profit gap.

One of the easiest ways to drive service business is to offer online service scheduling. Here are some of the biggest considerations when choosing the right online scheduling tool for your dealership:

1. Does the tool eliminate double-booking and assist in proper shop loading?

Dealerships often use multiple appointment entry methods. When new appointments are entered from a call, it’s necessary to make sure that appointment time isn’t already booked. This can cause a multitude of issues for dealerships not using a single, organized system for booking appointments. Using one system allows customers and dealership employees to view the same appointment calendar and availability. If a certain time is booked, the system will not display availability. This also allows for service managers and advisors to determine proper shop load.

2. Does the tool improve the accuracy of customer information?

Your online scheduling tool should allow customers to update their personal information without dealership intervention. When a customer updates his or her personal information (phone number, address, etc.) in the appointment tool, your system should automatically update to reflect this proper contact information. This keeps your database clean and current – allowing you to personalize the service experience more confidently. Now, post-service calls and campaign mailers can go out without a hitch.

3. Does the tool offer 24/7 availability?

Customers should be able to schedule an appointment anytime, anywhere, and from any device. Having an online service scheduling solution allows your customers to set up an appointment at their convenience. Otherwise, customers must call and wait on hold. Don’t make them wait until your dealership is open.

4. Does the tool increase transparency and customer satisfaction?

Let customers see the status of their vehicles at a glance. For busy consumers, advanced notification makes life run smoother. Instead of having to call the dealership or wait for a call from a service advisor, allow the customer to check the status of their vehicle online. As a result, you can get customers on their way faster, and offer a better experience as well.

5. Does the tool modernize the entire service experience?

With an online service scheduling tool, customers have the ability to interact with your dealership in ways they are more accustomed to in today’s retail environment. This experience continues on the drive when they arrive, when they are greeted by a digital display or by an advisor with a tablet, and so on. Keeping the experience connected and digital throughout the visit increases retention and supports the needs of today’s consumer.

Conclusion

Dealerships hoping to attract and retain more service customers are moving to more modern technology. One of those pieces involves online scheduling. If your dealership is not catering to the modern consumer, your service profits will go right out the door, along with your customers.

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jeff Adams is a Product Planning manager for Service applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.

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