A great dealership prioritizes communication with its customers, vendors, manufacturers, and coworkers. Whether it’s asking the right questions or being clear and intentional in responses and direction, straightforward communication is a quality a successful business can hang its hat on.
Service advisors, for example, manage relationships and talk shop with a wide variety of people every day. From vehicle owners and manufacturers to sales teams and technicians — in one moment, an advisor might be listening to understand a complex service recommendation and in another, he could be answering a customer’s questions about those recommendations.
Through the course of a single day, a service manager can handle hundreds of different communications with dozens of people across several different formats. It can become challenging to answer all of the phone calls, texts, and emails coming in and give proper attention to the all-important, face-to-face inquiries.
Many service technicians have turned to technology to create a more seamless working environment, provide customers as much convenience as possible, communicate issues with car owners, and get approval for unplanned repairs. We discuss a few options here and how they can benefit any busy service team.
Communication Keeps Customers Content
A service advisor’s number one job is to keep the customer happy. To do so, many tasks in a service advisor’s day have already gone electronic.
In fact, the number of technologies and software — like electronic multipoint inspection software — popping up that help with productivity, increase revenue, and build customer retention is growing rapidly. Here are a few reasons why:
- Technology can streamline an entire internal team’s workflows and communications
- Image and video sharing can improve transparency and encourage customers to more readily agree to needed repairs
- Electronic communications can provide a level of quality control not possible with other formats
- Digital technology can include other perks like encouraging referrals and loyalty via rewards and other benefits
Below are just some of the technologies that are simplifying dealership communications. We focus on the advantages each brings to the role of a service manager and how they streamline the never-ending job of communicating with all kinds of people.
The technologies of today can help service managers:
1. Oversee business and administrative tasks
Dealerships across the United States and beyond are using dealership management systems (DMSs) such as CDK Drive and CDK Drive Flex from CDK Global to bring together many of their internal teams. These systems have technology that stretches across all departments in a dealership including finance, sales, parts, inventory, and administration, making cross-departmental transparency and communication easier.
With the right integrations, some even include the ability to send marketing and incentive messages and schedule appointments, for example. These are things that are a major responsibility for every service manager.
2. Maximize customer service opportunities
Responding to customer inquiries promptly is important for customer satisfaction index scores, Net Promoter Scores®, and more. But keeping track of all inquiries from customers and their preferred communication channel can be a challenge.
Whether a service manager needs to pull information to prepare for direct communication with a single customer or determine the best next steps for a larger customer group, customer relationship management (CRM) systems — like VinSolutions built specifically for dealerships — can help.
3. Better manage technicians and support staff
Internal messaging and chat systems like Slack, which is a transparent and organized collaboration hub built to replace emails as a primary mode of communication, are used in many businesses. Dealerships can use them to get answers from internal teams quickly, for example.
Having this kind of instant communication in a service department can help front-line people get status updates for customers quickly. It can also help service managers keep an eye on important messages going back and forth to ensure quality and consistency or gather information to better help them act as a liaison between customers and technicians.
4. Communicate with customers
Much of a service advisor’s communication with customers is time-sensitive. Whether they are implementing special promotions and initiatives to spur business and bring customers back for return service or need to communicate service appointment information, time is of the essence.
The newest texting applications are not only a convenience to customers, but they also help service advisors deliver service reminders, offer incentives, communicate issues, and get approval for upsells and cross-sells easily.
In the service industry, the customer’s perception matters. Technology is a great way to help create a great first impression and set realistic expectations with your customers. They also support a great customer experience by promoting consistency and improving the quality of work across your service department.
Although implementing something new will take a bit of an investment and a commitment to training, the outcome will be worth it — everything from more satisfied customers to increased revenues and the opportunity to maximize every possible service opportunity with your customers.