Six Simple Steps for a More Profitable Service Center

When it comes to the P&L, dealers understand service should always be one of their most profitable areas. How do you stay competitive when there are so

many service options out there for consumers? We work with hundreds of auto dealerships nationwide to help them effectively market their parts and service
department. Here are our six tips for getting the word out about your services:

Build trust by reminding customers that you’re the expert.

With all of the third-party shops out there, customers have a lot of choices – and if you’ve focused your communications just on vehicle sales, they may
only think of your dealership as a distributorship. You’re not just a sales expert – you’re a brand expert! Your technicians are specially-trained on your
brand’s vehicles, your stock includes parts approved for use by the manufacturer, and your staff has a depth of knowledge that third-party shops can’t

Focus on:
How customers can trust your reliable parts and knowledgeable techs when they service at your dealership.

Let customers know that you’re familiar with their needs.

As the brand expert, you also know when it’s time for your customers to come in for service and the specific maintenance needs for their vehicle. Use that
knowledge to serve them a targeted offer to demonstrate how competitive you are with the third-party shops. Your marketing software should be able to help
you accomplish this on each customer’s preferred channel – SMS, email, or direct mail.

Focus on:

How you tailor your marketing messaging to each individual customer based on service interval data.

Once you’ve built trust, help customers remember how easy it is to do service with you.

Emphasize the convenience and extended capabilities you offer that will make their experience enjoyable. Be sure to remind them to sign up for your service
club, direct them to your online appointment tools, or enable them to receive service reminders. Your marketing communications should highlight how simple
and straightforward the whole process of servicing at your dealership is. Consumers tend to be wary of auto service shops in general, so once you’ve built
up trust, hammer your point home by showing how much easier you can make their lives when they come back to your dealership.

Focus on:
How your dealership takes the stress out of an experience that is stressful elsewhere.

Pay attention to what customers are (or aren’t!) telling you.

One of the worst mistakes a service team can make is not following-up on email, social or chat inquiries. These are customers who are raising their hands;
they need your help! And customers who take to social media to inquire about appointments aren’t just raising their hands – they’re broadcasting their
needs for all of their friends — and your fans — to see. Don’t turn your back on on-line shoppers just because you have customers in-store — you need to
be responsive to your online customers as well. Think about hiring a reputation coordinator, or use software that helps you monitor your online presence
and enables you to be proactive with these types of outreach.

Focus on:
How responsive you are to your customers on the channels that they choose – and how your service team creates a positive customer experience from
start to finish.

Make the service experience tailored to customer needs.

If a customer hasn’t visited your service bay in a while, you probably don’t want to send them a campaign thanking them for their loyalty. Likewise, if you
have customers who are in and out at regular intervals, reward them for their continued support with a special offer. Use the power of the data you have on
hand – transactional, click and web behaviors – to determine what service these inactive customers require next, and then personalize the campaign with the
message that speaks to their specific needs.

Focus on:

Being attuned to your customer as an individual and how you’re committed to providing them with value.

Thank the customer.

It seems obvious, and it’s very effective – thank your customers for their business. Once they’ve come into your dealership, follow up to see how their
experience was. If you can integrate surveys into your existing marketing campaigns, you’ll be consistent with the existing look and feel of your brand.

Focus on:

How you genuinely care about a great customer experience and welcome feedback.

These best practices should help your service department rise above the clutter and make you their go-to destination for all car repairs and check-ups.
Remember that your service department is a critical part of your dealership and an important extension of the brand. Make sure you nurture your service
customers and support them to grow this important part of your business.

Katherine Lyman is the senior product marketing specialist at Outsell.

Katherine Lyman


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