With the automotive retail inventory shortage in full swing, more consumers than ever are turning to pre-owned vehicles, or even opting to keep aging vehicles longer to avoid shopping in this atypical market. On the flip side, this has driven a sharp increase in traffic in Service and Parts Departments.
Service Directors across the country are boasting they are fully booked with appointments for the coming weeks, sometimes even months. With a packed schedule, however, service teams tend to lose focus on an essential element of retaining ongoing business — customer experience. Keeping customer experience top of mind helps develop a dealership's reputation, CSI score, and customer loyalty.
Top-notch customer service begins with picking up the phone and proactively reaching out to potential and current customers. Outbound phone calls are part of this proactive approach and should be initiated by your team members to open communication with your customers. These are the 7 types of outbound calls you should be making in your Service Department:
No one likes being left in the dark. Even if everything is on track, not providing information leaves a customer uninformed, leading to frustration and a poor overall experience. Calling your customers for regular status updates while their vehicle is being serviced prepares them for any unexpected maintenance issues, allows them to plan accordingly to pick up their vehicle, and assures them their vehicle is a top priority.
Declined Service Requests
Whether it's price, personal research, or a need to shop around with the competition, a customer may decline a service rep's initial service request. A call following up with these customers to see if they still need assistance, and offering an inspection by a factory-certified technician, can help your service team recover from that initial “no.”
Stranded Call Follow-Up
According to Car Wars data, a whopping 32% of customers do not reach someone who can help them when calling a dealership's Service Department. This adds up to significant lost profit for a dealership, simply because the phone isn't being viewed as a priority. Two major culprits are often to blame for stranded callers — poor phone routing and poor processes. While it's important to address the source of these issues, it's also imperative to quickly call back any stranded caller who isn't helped on his or her first call to the Service Department. Reaching out to these customers and acknowledging the mistake made can provide a chance to repair a bad experience and retain customer loyalty.
No-Shows or Cancellations
Life happens. Just like it's not uncommon for you to miss or cancel previously scheduled appointments, the same can occur for your customers. A call expressing your understanding of this to a customer, and providing specific dates and times to reschedule, will be appreciated and get that appointment back on the calendar.
A customer's busy schedule means your service appointment may get lost in the mix. A friendly appointment confirmation call, paired with an automated text and email, is a welcome reminder and will increase the likelihood of that customer arriving on time for his or her appointment. Additionally, if the customer is unable to make it, this gives you the immediate opportunity to reschedule and fill that open spot on the schedule with another customer.
First & Second Service Appointments Post-Purchase
Your sales team just sold a car on the lot and built great rapport with a customer — excellent! Now is the perfect time to lock in future service appointments. After a buyer purchases a vehicle, proactively set up the first few service appointments according to that vehicle's maintenance schedule before the buyer even walks out the door. For the customer, your proactive approach shows you value their business and sets the tone for an ongoing relationship with the dealership.
Overdue Service Appointments
Regular maintenance is a necessity for every vehicle, especially now that consumers are trying to squeeze more and more miles out of aging vehicles to avoid purchasing a new one. Keeping to a regular maintenance schedule is also important to keep your customer's warranty valid. If a customer is overdue on service appointments, a simple phone call serves as a friendly reminder of any overdue or upcoming maintenance needed. This will help keep your service bays full and ensure regular customers keep coming back to your dealership.
Providing a great experience for your customers increases loyalty and retention. It's not enough to have full service bays — advisors who pick up the phone and start making these fundamental outbound calls will consistently outperform those who don't. As automotive inventory levels return to normal, make sure your Service Department is top of mind for your customers.
To learn more about how Car Wars is helping Sales and Service Departments gain visibility on both inbound and outbound calls and improve caller experience, visit www.carwars.com/home.