Among all the potent technologies for improving service department profits, only one will service directors already have at hand—their customer database.
As with any technology not used properly, the customer database will not generate new business opportunities by itself. Its potential to increase labor and parts revenue, retain customers, and sell vehicles is available only when used by individuals who want to make money.
To start, query the DMS or CRM to find customers by vehicle age, mileage, last service visit, or other parameters.
The query should generate a list containing customer name and contact details, age of vehicle by make and model, service history, and recall activities.
Many dealers will also apply data mining and analytics software to the customer database to mine deeper and create dynamic lists faster and more accurately.
For a hungry associate, these contacts, as a separate lookup category in a software tool or as a printout hardcopy, are money in a virtual account. Just decide to go after it!
Another query can help find proactive opportunities. This effort will help you really win over customers, especially those who haven’t been in your shop for some time. To do this, first take notice of frequently repeated repairs in the shop—certain age models always seem to need components at XX,000 miles.
Query the database for customers having this model with mileage under this and go after them. It’s a good bet many, if not all, customers also owning that make and model will eventually have the same issues.
From a general customer list, contact them to learn what other vehicles are owned by the family. Inform the listener that your department can service those makes and models too, and that your shop has access to the right parts and specialty tools their selling dealership has.
By offering a second-tier parts pricing and reduced labor rate you can make your shop highly competitive against the afternoon market for these vehicles. Customers like it, because now all vehicles in the family are serviced at one location.
If all this sounds too simple, it is not. Let me explain.
Yes, creating the list is simple. Finding an individual who wants to call people on these lists by telephone and present your helpful offer isn’t always easy.
The best in-person advisor may prove to be a poor salesperson using this method. Many dealers have found very successful individuals who work these lists productively among their cashiers, receptionists, and others, who are familiar with using the phone to talk with people.
Look for or hire individuals who are familiar with or can quickly adopt to the following:
- Using a phone to use actionable talking tracks; it will help make the right kind of invitation these customers will accept and take advantage of immediately.
- A service-knowledgeable individual; someone with good phone skills, personable attitude and desire to help service customers