Boost Your Express Service Lane Performance - AutoSuccessOnline

Boost Your Express Service Lane Performance

You might not make a profit on the services, but the convenience and goodwill they generate for your customers and the upsell opportunities they present should make them a profitable enterprise for your dealership.

Has your dealership implemented an express service lane yet? More than half of dealerships have experimented with, or are currently operating, express service lanes. Some manufacturers are encouraging them as a customer retention tool, recommending that dealers offer free maintenance on newly purchased vehicles.

But not all service directors and managers love the idea of express service lanes. That’s because the mindset and processes required for a successful express service operation are quite different than traditional service operations. The focus for express service must always be on the customer — what is cheapest and what is most convenient for them.

The expectations for express service lanes are also different. In general, dealers should not expect an express service lane to be profitable. I’m not saying they can’t be profitable, but that’s not what the goal should be going in. The main reasons to offer express services are to increase customer retention, satisfaction, upselling opportunities and business into your traditional service lanes.

That said, you don’t want your express service business to be a losing proposition, either. Here are a few suggestions to help make your dealership’s express service operation successful:

1. Separate Parts Inventories
When setting up an express service lane it’s critical to split those parts from the rest of your parts inventory, both physically and in your DMS.

The operative word in express service is “express,” so the last thing you want is for your service techs to be waiting at the parts counter. Keep your fast-moving inventory in a separate location, close to the express service bay and locked up. An alternative is to dedicate one person in the parts department to fill just the express service parts orders.

To expedite this process, use electronic ROs. As soon as the order is written up in the service lane, a copy of the RO should print out in the parts department; no exchange of paper is necessary.

In your DMS, special labor ops codes can be created for this process. Express service parts should have their own source codes so you can track and price them by source. Your DMS provider should be able to help you with setting up this process.

2. Competitively Price Services
Before you set up your express service lane, conduct market research in your area. Check with your local Jiffy Lube, tire shops and other independent shops to find out what they charge for the services you plan to offer. Match those prices or keep your prices competitive.

Your dealership’s main advantage compared to independent shops is that you use OEM parts and your technicians are factory certified. Customers may be willing to pay a small premium for that advantage, but “small” is the key word there.

Again, don’t worry about making a profit on these services, especially in the beginning. Over time, you might learn how to streamline your express service operations to be profitable. But the goal is to keep your existing customers happy and to attract new customers who might choose to get larger repairs done at your shop or eventually purchase a new vehicle.

3. Don’t Require Appointments
Some customers like to make appointments and some don’t. If your service department requires appointments for express services, you’ll lose a large percentage of potential customers.

Customers should be able to drive up without notice and get any type of express service completed in less than an hour, but preferably 30 minutes.

For customers who do like to make appointments, be sure to have a self-scheduling solution. If you want to compete with independent shops, your customers should be able to schedule their own appointment using their smartphones.

4. Train Staff to Upsell
The ability to upsell is absolutely critical if you want your express services to generate revenue. The express service lane won’t be profitable in and of itself, but it can generate quite a bit of revenue for the rest of your service bays.

If you’re doing multi-point inspections on 100 cars, probably 90 of those ROs will have at least one recommended item. If 30 percent of those people decide to have the repair done at your dealership, that’s a huge amount of new business.

Mobile tablets are great selling tools because service advisors can show customers pictures to verify worn parts and videos to help explain features and benefits of repairs. Point-of-sale displays near the register and in the customer waiting lounge are also helpful for explaining benefits.

When upselling, electronic menus can be used to present the customers with several options at varying price points. If you give the customer only one option, it’s too easy to say “no.” If you present several options, the customer is more likely to choose one.

5. Utilize Technology
Leveraging available technology is an absolute must if you want to build customer trust and speed up your processes.

The utilization of technology, such as mobile tablets, is becoming more important in terms of customer perception. A clipboard and paper ROs aren’t going to cut it in an express service lane.

Independent shops are being built from the ground up with technology integrated into their processes at every step of the way. If you want to compete with them, your dealership must do the same.

Technologies that I consider “must haves” for an express service operation include:

  • Mobile tablets for check-ins and multi-point inspections
  • Electronic ROs
  • Electronic menu presentations
  • Textable videos that explain features and benefits for common repairs
  • Self-scheduling platform for customers, accessible through mobile devices
  • A communications platform that enables text and/or email messaging with customers
  • VIP waiting lounges with free WiFi and Hi-Def TV screens

Express service lanes can be a winning proposition for dealership service departments. You might not make a profit on the services, but the convenience and goodwill they generate for your customers and the upsell opportunities they present should make them a profitable enterprise for your dealership.

You May Also Like

Body Shop: Are You In or Out?

As the complexity of the vehicle increases, so does opportunity. But you must be willing to invest, educate and market your body shop business to succeed.

Masters School of Autobody Management, body shop, auto body, collision repair,

For decades dealers have struggled with the question of whether to be in or out of the body shop business. Our dealer clients have struggled with that question as well. Even though we make our living supporting body shop operations — both dealer and independent — we do not always recommend the dealer to stay in the body business.

UpdatePromise, Infomedia Power Rebranding of Kia My Service

KIA Superservice SLT Powered by UpdatePromise provides a comprehensive suite of features designed to streamline vehicle maintenance and elevate the overall ownership experience.

The Growing Importance of Warranty to Dealer Profitability

In the next three years, OEM warranty will become an increasingly important factor in dealership operations.

Resignation Letter

When the service and sales departments don’t have fixed ops net profit at heart, you can expect to receive unwelcome news.

resignation letter
Diagnosing Intermittent Misfires

What if there are no codes and a misfire is intermittent? This is where it gets complicated.

What if there are no codes and a misfire is intermittent? This is where it gets complicated.

Other Posts

Stellantis Expands and Enhances Parts Business in North America

The newly introduced bproauto parts portfolio is available for most makes and models.

Stellantis Expands and Enhances Parts Business in North America
Coats Expands Tire Changer Line with MAXX 50

Coats’ entire Maxx line is built with the technician in mind and features easy-to-use, time-saving tools available in flexible configurations.

Body Filler: Filling the Need

Best practices, tips, fun facts and history on that essential product in collision repair: body filler.

Hunter Engineering Expands Supply Capabilities in 2 States

The company has made a number of significant changes at its St. Louis headquarters and production plants in Mississippi to ease supply strains and keep products moving.