Service on Purpose

Effectively working the service drive today is about research and preparation, not just building immediate rapport with someone facing unforeseen service costs or who’s nurturing an urge for the newest and shiniest bells and whistles. Increasingly, equity analysis and real-time market expertise are our most important skills, and we should also take active roles in our dealerships’ used inventory strategy. Whether your dealership employs an in-house equity/trade-in specialist or service BDC rep, uses a CRM with equity mining information, or has dedicated equity mining software, applying your experience to maximize ROI on these tools is your responsibility. No method is foolproof, so asking the right questions, and being perceptive about the answers, remains as important as when customers are sitting at your desk. Even if your only access is a service schedule printout; monitor appointments monthly, weekly, and daily, and make contact accordingly. Ideally, you’ll have the opportunity to look at not only their service history, but their lease/ownership pattern going back several models. Your two crucial questions should be:

Are they outpacing allotted lease miles? Missing out on major safety and tech upgrades on newer models–for instance, did they pay for a navigation system that requires updates when smartphone integration is standard on every 2019 model? Driving with borrowed time from a notorious time-sensitive repair they may still be unaware of? Do they own a niche or highly-sought-after vehicle that was recently discontinued? A vehicle that will fit a popular price point for your area? This is where your experience comes into play. Have a conversation with your pre-owned manager before making these calls. Knowledge is power, and it’ll come across to your potential customer.


Remember seasonal trends. For example, convertibles will be more welcome in March than November, and sub-$10k sedans are popular during graduation season. Again, your knowledge and credibility around these buying patterns will come across to your dealership’s service customers. Hopefully you have some used car customers who have granted you the time and trust to find a car for their specific needs. Local trades are always more marketable, particularly if they’ve been serviced in-house. If they have always come in right on time for service intervals, even better.

Over time, you’ll develop a practiced eye and ear for every potential scenario and be ready to make a customized case for maximizing customers’ time in the dealership with a demo and formal trade appraisal. Using this approach thoroughly and consistently, salespeople have the opportunity to shorten the trade cycle and make leasing/ownership much easier for our customers by taking the guesswork out of when the best time to trade. We also add structure and some predictability to our days and strengthen our dealerships’ inventory.


Consistently amazing customer service doesn’t happen by accident. It happens on purpose!

Shep Hyken

American customer service expert, author, and speaker

Latest posts by Laura Chapdelaine (see all)

Let Us Know What You Think