Consumers count on dealerships to provide outstanding service, both during the upfront sale of a vehicle and throughout its life on the road. While it is comforting to know the service department is on hand during the purchase of a new vehicle, it is imperative a dealership have knowledgeable professionals available to help maintain, repair and service vehicles throughout their life cycle. The service department often serves as the face of your dealership.
Few things are more frustrating than the inconvenience of a car breaking down—except possibly realizing that your go-to repair shop is either booked solid, closed when you need them, or unable to help with the problem at hand. Customers in today’s rushed society look for and appreciate dealerships that have outstanding parts and service shops that can keep up with their needs. Your service shop will need to demonstrate the following qualities to attract and bring back customers:
- Make a good first impression. Ensure that a friendly professional greets customers quickly and by name. After getting details regarding the nature of their visit, give accurate details regarding the time required for service or repairs. Customers who know exactly what to expect feel secure about the service choice they have made.
- Ensure over-the-top customer service. Of course your professionals are knowledgeable, but today’s consumers demand even more than that — they want personable service with a smile. They are looking for friendliness and great communication, things that will continue to drive growth for your dealership by making customers happy and bringing them back for more.
- Instill customer confidence. The professionals in your service department should leave no doubt in customers’ minds that they are competent and capable of completing the service requested. Ensure staff members continually update training and certifications and encourage them to clearly communicate technical information to customers to instill a higher level of confidence.
- Guarantee your work. Consumers feel more confident they are receiving quality service when shops guarantee the work being done. Be sure to include all important information with the guarantee, for example, whether or not the guarantee is prorated and whether or not the guarantee is transferable if the vehicle is sold.
- Know that the little things matter. A clean, neat service department that offers a comfortable waiting area with customer amenities is likely to earn loyalty from patrons. Consider offering fresh coffee, updated magazines and plenty of seating to make waiting customers more comfortable.
The importance of a top-notch service department is critical to your dealership in order to thrive in today’s economy. Currently, the average vehicle age is 11.6 years old, and shopping trends don’t show this changing dramatically anytime soon. Couple this with the fact that certain manufacturer warranties are becoming shorter, and we are left with consumers who are shopping for the best service providers in order to keep their vehicles maintained and drivable for the longest possible periods.
Additionally, a recent trend among car buyers is the long-term car loan, averaging a staggering 68 months, or just over five and a half years. Used as a way to get consumers into a more expensive car at lower payments, these longer-length loans produce even more buyers who will hold onto vehicles longer—another reason to offer top-notch service and repairs at the dealership.
Much the same as on the car lot or closing a car deal, shoppers want to get in and out when repairs are needed. Looking for an immediate-gratification experience doesn’t change with the setting, and today’s consumers continuously seek efficiency combined with competency.
By providing legendary customer service combined with transparency, fair prices and high-quality professional knowledge, you can guarantee a growing customer base. The future of dealerships lies with the quality and performance of service departments, as they will drive the repeat business, customer loyalty and revenue that comes with providing service throughout the life of a vehicle.