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5 Questions to Determine Fixed Ops Efficiency: Appointments and Arrival

Service drive thru
Article Highlights:

  • Who doesn't want a better chance at a sale and better CSI scores?
  • Every retailer is trying to make things more efficient.

This is the first article in a three part series to help you determine whether your dealership is as efficient and streamlined as possible when it comes to various phases of the service experience.

Now, it goes without saying, we should always be looking for ways to enhance processes, speed up experiences, and drive profit in our dealerships. That’s what every other retailer is doing—trying to make things more efficient while gaining the maximum profit per customer. How are they doing it? They are implementing modern technology to eliminate the need for manual processes.

Take the short quiz below to gain insight about how efficient your dealership may be. Answer honestly, and record the number of ‘no’ answers. Afterwards, I’ll discuss how your dealership can improve efficiency and profit using powerful solutions and digital processes.

  1. Can your customers book appointments online?
  2. Is your appointment tool built within your DMS?
  3. When interacting with a customer, can your employees view the customer’s full history (including vehicle purchases, previous service visits, etc.)?
  4. Are customers greeted by name, as well as shown service specials the moment they pull on to your service drive?
  5. Does your system notify advisors of customer arrival and allow them to begin the RO with a single click?

OK, tally up your ‘no’ answers. If you have one or less ‘no’ answers, you’re in a great spot in regard to efficiency. If you have between one and three ‘no’ answers, you have some room for improvement. If you have more than three ‘no’ answers, you have many facets of your fixed ops experience that can be enhanced by way of new technology. Here are some tips to turn those ‘no’ answers into ‘yes’ answers and improve your dealership operations:

  1. Offer online appointment reservations. Everyone offers online reservations—your dentist, your favorite restaurant, and even independent repair shops. If your customers cannot book appointments online, you’re missing out on a crucial way to connect with customers who want services from you. Dealership website content is vastly overloaded for sales. Make sure your service department is also front and center.
  2. Eliminate duplicate entries and double-bookings. If your appointment system is separate from the DMS, your business development center or call center staff must make sure phone and web appointments don’t overlap. This can be a tedious and troublesome process. To avoid the headaches of redundancy and overbooking, utilize online scheduling software that is built within the DMS to make it easier on your customers and your staff.
  3. Access one view of the customer. If your employees cannot easily glance at customer history (including past purchases, service repair history, etc.), you’re diminishing the value of the customer and the relationship. I can confidently say that if a customer who has purchased three vehicles from you enters your service lane, you ought to greet him and treat him like family. Otherwise, he’s going elsewhere for repairs. Beyond the relationship, your employees need to know what repairs and services were offered previously so they know what to sell or assist with this time.
  4. Greet customers immediately. JD Power noted that satisfaction scores jumped 44 points when customers were greeted by name within the first two minutes of arrival. Who doesn’t want a better chance at a sale and better CSI scores?
  5. Alert advisors of customer arrival. Making it easier for your employees to engage with a customer allows for a better relationship and a better experience. Giving your advisors the ability to start a repair order directly from an arrival notification makes them much more efficient. This means your cycle times are more accurate, and your service process moves faster.

Now that you’ve got some tips to improve your appointment process by going digital, use this quiz to take action. Don’t hold back—invest in your dealership’s digital efficiency today, or your customers will go somewhere that does.

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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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