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Three Hidden Problems That Damage Service Retention and How to Fix Them

As a manager, you know your service department inside-out. If there were a problem with your processes or your team, you’d know. Wouldn’t you?

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As a manager, you know your service department inside-out. If there were a problem with your processes or your team, you’d know. Wouldn’t you?

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After all, some problems are easy to spot. If you had hours of unfilled appointment slots or parts were constantly out of stock, you’d know right away and get right to work fixing it.

But other mistakes are harder to spot, simply because they’re smaller.


​Small mistakes in a service department only seem small until they snowball into major inconveniences for customers and damage their ownership experience. Now, your small problems are a big problem — customers dissatisfied with their ownership experience are unlikely to return for future service or sales. In fact, research shows that dealers who don’t take steps to provide a superior ownership experience see 6.6 percent lower retention than dealers who do.

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By finding and solving those small, hidden problems before they snowball, you’ll improve your customers’ ownership experience — and your retention potential will improve, too.

So, what are the hidden problems to look for in your service department, and what can you do to fix them?

Problem 1: Skipping Multipoint Inspections

Multipoint inspections are an essential step in any service procedure. They help your team identify every issue with a customer’s vehicle and scope out what’s needed to address them. However, even if inspections are part of your process, there’s a good chance this step still gets overlooked.

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According to a recent study, 28 percent of dealers perform multipoint inspections for fewer than half of their repair orders. These dealers are likely overlooking vehicle issues — and losing potential service revenue. Plus, missed issues might require follow-up visits, inconveniencing customers and damaging their trust in your dealership.

Solution: Get Your Team on Board. Monitor your team to ensure that they’re performing multipoint inspections every time. If they aren’t, reinforce the value of regular inspections. This might catch their attention: Consistent multipoint inspections can increase monthly service revenue by an average of $191,000.

Problem 2: Inefficient Communication

No matter how skilled or knowledgeable your service technicians are, no one person can handle every aspect of every procedure. They’ll inevitably need to get in touch with other technicians to ask questions, get advice, request help or track down parts.

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If your technicians don’t have an easy way to communicate internally, they’ll waste valuable time searching for the right person, making each appointment take longer. And since customers are usually stuck waiting until you finish, inefficient communication can lead to impatient customers — customers who won’t schedule a repeat visit.

Solution: Incorporate Internal Chat. To speed up service procedures, consider investing in an internal chat feature. Technicians can use it to get answers and advice without leaving their computer or tablet. Your team will appreciate the quick access to their colleagues, and customers will appreciate the faster service.

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Problem 3: Inconsistent Information

Customers should think of your service department as a trusted partner they can rely on to meet their needs. Consistency plays a big role in earning that trust. The original price you quote should be what the customer pays. If the scope changes, that should be clearly communicated. Your service recommendations should be in line with customers’ service histories.

However, unless your team has centralized access to pricing and service histories, there’s no way to guarantee consistency. Mistakes will be made. Customers will lose trust. And your ability to deliver an outstanding ownership experience will suffer.

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Solution: Store Documents in the Cloud. Storing processes, pricing and customer information in the cloud gives your team easy access to the information they need. Technicians and advisors can easily double-check that they’re providing accurate information. They’ll be more knowledgeable and accurate — delivering the higher-quality service customers expect.

Even small problems can have a negative impact on customers’ ownership experience, but fortunately, they aren’t hard to fix. These three recommendations will help smooth the bumps in your service department, so you can see more satisfied customers and improved service retention.

Jim Roche, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Managed Services at Xtime.

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