7 Ways to Go Mobile With Your Service Department

Digital and mobile technologies will shape the future of successful dealerships

At this year’s NADA Convention, you’re likely to notice that digital and mobile have become more than just common themes; they’re the dominant forces in industry technology. Digital solutions, mobile tools, and data-driven digital strategies will all be center stage. At this point, it should be clear that if you want to engage your motorists and keep them coming back to your service department, then it’s time to get on board.

Your customers expect a hyper-personalized, mobile-ready, seamless experience at all touch points. This makes sense considering they’re are on their phones more than ever, and they expect your service department to cater to that preference.

Luckily, a mobile-driven service department benefits you as well. Mobile and digital tools drive efficiency and revenue as well as retention, marking the difference between an existing business and a flourishing one. Here are seven steps you need to do to turn your service department into a tech-driven, retention-boosting machine.

1. Integrate tools with marketing

Your service department should not operate independently of your marketing strategies. Data-driven marketing methods that pull information directly from your service department are better able to present customers with relevant messages they actually want to hear.

If you want ultimate customer retention, it requires ultimate collaboration inside one technology platform.

2. Begin with personalized greetings

What if your advisors could walk onto the service drive and easily identify every customer by name? With modern mobile technology, now they can. Using tablet-based service drive tools, your advisors can identify each vehicle on the drive and deliver a personalized greeting to every motorist.

Today’s customers, especially millennials, expect this type of personalized service. Tablets transform your service advisors from people who take orders behind a desk or counter to concierge-level service providers who shape and guide the customer experience—all before your customers set foot in your shop.

3. Start the inspection on the drive

With tablet-based service drive tools, you don’t have to wait for the bay to begin the inspection process. Your advisors can use a walk-around inspection system to quickly identify common replacement items, such as tires. From there, advisors can get the customer’s approval right on the spot and add it to the day’s agenda.

Does your team ever have to work with customers who believe their vehicles have been scratched or dented in your bay? Use walk-around inspection tools that have photo capabilities to allow your team to document existing nicks, dings, or dents, so both you and your customer know the current state of the vehicle.

4. Make access to recall info easy

According to the New York Times, the auto industry experienced more recalls in 2014 than in the previous three years combined, and 2015 was not much better. The number and frequency of vehicle recalls may rise even higher as regulations become stricter, and vehicles include increasingly complex technology.

With so many recalls as part of your day-to-day operations, it would serve your team and customers well to have easy access to applicable recalls for individual vehicles. Tablet-based service drive tools make this easy, with simple VIN capture that identifies any relevant recalls, as well as prepaid maintenance plans.

Quick and easy access to recall information, right on the drive, not only makes your team more efficient, but also builds invaluable trust with your customers.

5. Finish the write-up on the spot

Currently, your service advisors probably have to go back to their desks to finish the write-up process and obtain customer signatures and approvals. Why not make that process mobile?

Using the same tablet your advisors use for greetings and walk-around inspections, advisors can finish write-ups on the spot, at their desk, or anywhere in between. Tablets can even capture customer signatures so you have instant approval for inspections and any additional work.

6. Perform electronic inspections

The electronic inspection has become an industry standard—and for good reason. Consistent electronic inspections unite your service team, streamline your inspection operations, and ensure reliable results for your customers. With the world getting progressively more mobile, however, so should your inspection process.

Technicians no longer have to be tied to a desktop computer when they inspect vehicles and record findings. Tablets make it easy to keep the inspection system in hand, no matter where you go. And the results pair seamlessly with your DMS and other digital tools.

7. Deliver results digitally

Once the inspection is complete, most service advisors still sit down with customers to go over the results on a paper sheet or desktop screen. But with mobile technology, your advisors can deliver results and gain customer approvals anytime, anywhere.

Web-based applications allow your advisors to deliver inspection results with a single click. The results are sent via link through a text or an email. Your customers can view the report whenever they like, and see informational videos, articles, and photos that support your team’s recommendations.

Modern motorists, millennials included, tend to trust information on a screen more than information they hear from a person. Delivering inspection results digitally empowers the customers to inform themselves and makes educated decisions. They also maintain electronic approval logs and enable more efficient processes for you and your team.

At NADA and beyond, digital and mobile technologies are shaping the future and separating the successful dealerships from struggling ones. Keep your service department on top of the game by creating an engaging, ultra-personalized, and seamless service department, driven by the tech your competitors are missing.

Mike Martinez, chief marketing officer, leads the global marketing, product management, and strategy and analytics efforts for AutoPoint, a Solera Holdings company. For more information, please contact sales@autopoint.com. See AutoPoint at NADA 2016 in Booth #1882C.

Mike Martinez


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