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Technology and transparency are the best tools for service departments to repair the vehicle and their relationship with customers.

A customer’s time is one of the most important things to them and is a very personal entity. Today’s customers are more informed, more productive and more technologically advanced than ever before. They carry laptops, tablets, smartphones and smartwatches to keep their communication lines open and their productivity at the highest level possible. So, it should come as no surprise that they expect the same from you. Technology in the automotive industry have become the new normal, with dealerships

utilizing digital solutions to improve communication and transparency in order to reach, engage and retain service customers.

Whether you are their doctor, bank or Service Advisor, customers want timely communication with assurance that their needs are being met, on budget and most importantly, on time. When their expectations aren’t met, their perception of your business and brand is affected. A customer’s perception is reality and that is why it is imperative to deliver on their satisfaction. For service departments to retain today’s customers, they must be transparent and efficient with the customers’ time and mindful of their budget.

Set Customer Expectations, Deliver on Customer Experience

It was once said that expectations are the construction site for resentments. When it comes to servicing and repairing vehicles with a franchised dealer, many customers get anxiety over the thought of it. The thoughts of the big expense, the long wait time, the technical terms and the unforeseen repair can be overwhelming and challenging on their trust. Could it be why many new vehicle owners stop coming back to the dealer within 1 to 3 years of their purchase?

Here’s a tip: Don’t let customers feel overwhelmed, put them at ease and earn their trust. The ways of doing business over the past decade have changed drastically. Phone calls and the notorious paper trail are things of the past. Providing access to online booking gives customers the convenience of engaging the dealership when it works for them. Email and text allow them to continue their day without having to inconveniently wait for repair work.

Letting your customer know that and creating the transparency from the get-go in your communications can help keep them at ease. Let them know when they can expect the results of their inspection and their estimate.

The last thing a service department wants are customer complaints and using additional labor to resolve ongoing issues. It isn’t good for the customer’s experience, and it isn’t good for the dealership’s brand image, CSI or bottom line. That is why it is extremely important to be transparent, professional and upfront with your customers in a timely manner. By setting their expectations from the get-go, you alleviate the unexpected outcomes and set a level of certainty.

“Technology and transparency are the best tools for service departments to repair the vehicle and their relationship with customers.”

Customer Experience: Respect and Value their Time

Customers today are about the experience. They want it fast, personalized to them and they want it executed well. They order their customized coffee from an app and make dinner reservations quicker than they dial the restaurant’s number. That alone says their time is important to them and they trust that they are going to get what they pay for. The same applies when they’re servicing their vehicle. They view the estimate as a ‘contract’ of what’s going to be done, for that set amount of price and time frame – so you best be accurate.

With the right tools and technology, such as the Superservice platform, you can get the vehicle’s service history, factory repair orders, service operations, prices and parts needed within seconds. This helps service departments be more efficient and accurate when estimating and quoting, and it also benefits the customer if you share the information with them in a timely manner. They’ll know when they can expect their vehicle and have control over the repair and their time.

Remember, there isn’t a contract on the experience. However, if you respect their time, you have a good chance at exceeding their expectations and delivering a positive customer experience.

Customer Experience: Accurate Quoting & Pricing

It is no secret that every vehicle that enters the service bay for one repair will likely need another. And yet, according to a J.D. Power study, the two key reasons customers don’t return to dealerships for their service and repairs, are price and trust. Whether they feel that it is too expensive or that an unnecessary repair is pushed on them, it is important to put them in control and be accurate and transparent with the information you share.

Accurately estimating and instilling trust are two things Superservice can be a vital partner in delivering. With VIN-precise quoting that’s integrated into your DMS; parts, labor, shop supplies, quantities and pricing are instantly available, so staff don’t have to waste time researching. This allows you to be efficient with your dealership’s time and the customer’s time. Dealership staff only need a couple of minutes to deliver a fully priced and itemized service quote, displaying all labor, parts and supplies, even for complex repairs.

Customer Experience: Trust & Transparency

To instill customer trust and confidence in your services, be transparent and involve customers in the service and vehicle inspection process. Superservice helps keep customers engaged and up to date, by empowering Service Advisors to communicate with customers via email and text communication. They can send customers a digital vehicle inspection report, provide photo evidence of work that needs be done, and record a video for a virtual walkthrough and explanation of the repair recommendations.

The accuracy and transparency of the information you share with the customer is unmatched. There isn’t a guessing game. Customers understand the repair work that needs to be done, they can see the price and know exactly what they’re paying for, and they’re less likely to balk at the price because they understand the cost breakdown.

The results? Customers who are trusting of your staff and repair recommendations. This leads to increased sales of parts and labor, improved sales closure and higher customer satisfaction.

“To instil customer trust and confidence, be transparent and involve customers in the service and vehicle inspection process.”

Make the Most of Every Moment and Customer Experience

It can be assumed that your dealership and service department value your customers. And likely, you have tried numerous ways to retain customers beyond their vehicle’s warranty. Many times, dealerships get so focused on working efficiently and adding to the bottom line that their processes doesn’t consider the customer’s experience. It’s important to review your processes and find ways to enhance the customer’s experience.

Being quick and accurate when quoting can help alleviate ‘sticker shock’. Being transparent and thorough when explaining repairs won’t confuse them and have them second guessing what is needed. Use everyday language without being overly technical. It gets things off on the right foot and good communication gets them involved. They’re more likely to be engaged when you communicate with them in their lingo. It instills trust and gives them control when decisions need to be made.

When the repairs are completed, use the estimate or invoice to review the work performed and not performed on their vehicle. You will assure them that they got what they asked for, on time and on budget. And it reminds them that they’ll soon need those new rotors they passed on.

Valuing your customers’ time and trust, by being thorough when discussing their vehicle, shows them that you do have their best interests at heart. And with Superservice, you have all the tools at your fingertips to create a customer experience that they never imagined. Whether it is showing them their worn tires or sending them an email explaining the additional work, you will leave an impression that leads to greater customer experience, retention and brand loyalty.

If you are not a part of their solution, you’ll find your service department as a part of their problem. Set their expectations so you don’t miss out on delivering the best customer experience possible.