The computer-driven world we live in has reached an impasse with the global chip shortage. Some analysts predict the shortage will continue into 2023, causing a ripple effect in the automotive industry. Highly coveted new vehicles with advanced technology are in low supply. Dealerships collectively are struggling to recover from pandemic sales while navigating the next obstacle.
In times like this, we can fall back on certainties. Americans are driving, and their vehicles will have to be serviced to last. See our methods to get more people into your service lanes than ever before. Be more than a place people go to buy vehicles!
Investing in Your Fixed Ops
The parts and service departments require referrals, reviews, and ongoing training as much as the sales floor does. While the revenue stream from fixed ops is more reliable, and the selling environment is unassuming. Low inventory and shrinking profit margins up front are a good reason to put a dual focus on accessory sales cross-departmentally.
Use both the car sale and general marketing to increase awareness about your service department. You can also boost your chances to make money in the service department by training the fixed ops staff to upsell with accessories and additional service options.
Ways to Increase Awareness for Your Service Department
Use Service-Based Lead-in Products
The best time to sell accessories, at the point of sale, is during the wait time for F&I. A great way to ease your customer into the accessory presentation and get them registered in your system is to lead in with a free service. Adding a free oil change to the customer’s cart will allow you to easily recommend other personalization options, as well as getting them in your service drive.
Reward Reviews with Free Service
Online reviews are gold in dealership currency standards. If a satisfied customer is willing to leave you an earnest review, offer free service within six months. Giving something away free pays off when it entices a review and gets the customer back in the service drive.
Advertise Service on Socials
Your social media accounts are probably used to advertise inventory and promotions, so why not use them to spotlight service as well? People like to make a personal connection, so try posting a picture of your service manager and/or staff—remember to write something interesting about them. When your customer knows Barry’s face and that he loves the Steelers, they’ll feel more connected to your store.
Create a Customer Loyalty Program
In the quest for new business, don’t neglect the best business you have—current customers. Start with an email blast to your recent buyers and regular returns to advertise the program, and make it as enticing as you can afford. Offer an incentive just for signing up, like an entry into a drawing for a $250 Amazon gift card. Cap the drawing at the first 50 sign-ups, for example, so your customer knows they’ve got a good shot at winning and they’re more motivated to complete a simple sign-up process. Follow suit with your loyalty program by making the benefit realistically attainable. A loyalty program that doesn’t give you anything until you’ve basically bought stock in the company is just annoying.
Build Web Pages for Service
Optimize your website to appear in local search results by building out tabs for service. Under the service tab, create a drop-down menu listing popular services such as: oil changes, tire rotation, and tire replacement. For each service, embed search terms that will land prospects on your website. Free tools like Google Trends will help you discover what people are searching for right now. When those keywords appear in customer reviews, make sure to add those to your website to boost your SEO. While it may be hard to incorporate “places that do oil changes near me” into your text organically, a review is more likely to utilize those terms (so remember to always ask for a review).
The fixed operations department is critical to your success. Insignia Group works with dealers nationwide to increase profit throughout the store via accessories. The average Insignia Group customer does an extra $250,000 in accessory revenue annually. In service, dealerships using the Insignia Group accessory selling system to sell accessories see an additional 800 customers (on average); which provides ample opportunity to upsell, provide stellar customer service, and create repeat business. The Insignia Group accessory selling system makes it easier than ever to boost service appointments by connecting fixed and variable ops through accessory sales. Why wait six months to get the customer back in your store for an oil change? Sell accessories and get them back in for installation within weeks.