service bays, digital marketing, fixed ops

The average dealership typically dedicates less than 5% of their website to the car service department.  Yet only 10% of car buyers say they don’t look for car service department reviews prior to purchasing a vehicle.

Additionally, a major concern for dealerships is not necessarily inventory turn or overhead costs, it is the perception of the car service department – fostering the idea that national service chains are a better option for services than a dealership.

Adding to the disconnect is the fact that as the auto ages, the relationship between the dealership and the vehicle owner fades.

Before you lose all hope, here are seven ways you can make your service department stand out and fill those service bays with a strong online and digital strategy – because your dealership is about more than just sales.

1.    Update & Optimize Online Branding

Make sure your online listings are all up-to-date.  Verify your Google +, Yelp and all Social Sites have accurate information – not just about the dealership, but also the service department.  Verify hours are correct and provide contact information for the service department professionals.

2.    Evaluate/Modify Website

Work with your web designer to develop a stronger service representation on the site.  Make sure the information is useful to potential customers and user-friendly. Provide special offers, coupons, and discounts.  Publish online reviews from service customers.

3.    Encourage Online Reviews

Ask your customers to leave a review when service is completed.  Provide them with links to your website or other online review site and simply ask them to leave a review so that others can verify your service departments reputation and reliability.

4.    Establish a Social Presence

Social Media Marketing is crucial for business success these days.  Having a strong presence on the top Networks is required.  While your Facebook Page may be dedicated to strictly sales, it is important to pepper in some service information.  Use the Social Sites to promote specials, provide coupons and discounts and share reviews.

5.    Blog About It

A blog will help your website rank on the search engines.  In fact, websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages.  Blogging also creates 97% more links to the website.  Finally, blogs are ranked as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.  (Source)

6.    Blast Out an Email

Email is not dying.  In fact, studies show that email marketing is currently the fastest growing channel for getting a return on your investment.  86% of consumers say they would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with monthly. (Source)  Provide monthly emails to communicate department information and to generate interest.  Share your blogs, promote special offers, communicate service information, or recalls, etc.

7.    Provide Mobile Notifications and Alerts

Obviously, you want to increase your interactions with your customers to prompt more services transactions and increase revenue, but you also want to provide a level of value to your customers that they can’t get anywhere else.  Partner with a vendor to create a services renewal program and offer this benefit to your customers.  Your program should include a mobile “pass,” similar to an airline boarding pass, that enables your customer to see their benefits at a glance, click to call the service department, and schedule appointments online.  Promote the program via push notifications and alerts to your customers’ mobile devices when their vehicle is due for a service, as well as branded messages when they’re near your dealership.

83% of consumers go online to research service and repairs, and approximately 8 in 10 users go online via their mobile device.  If your dealership doesn’t have a strong digital presence, your service department will not be found and will not be considered – equating to lost revenue.

It’s time to make an impression with your online and digital footprints.

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The 2020 Service Retention Report Is Here!See what nearly 2,000 service customers said about why they return, why they don't, and what dealerships can do about it.