Delivering a superior service experience is the goal of every business. To achieve this goal, dealers must build a service experience that is both efficient and friendly. Achieving this balance can be difficult, but with the help of some fantastic technology, it’s not impossible. In this blog post, we will explore the steps necessary to create a consumer-friendly service experience that is also efficient. As always, we will highlight some of Dominion DMS’ excellent partners innovating in this space.
The Check-in Process
The check-in process is a crucial part of the overall customer service experience. It sets the tone for the entire service experience. As such, it is essential to get it right to deliver a truly consumer-friendly experience. By looking at other industries with check-in processes, we can learn from their operations and apply them to our own.
My veterinarian reminds me of my appointment more frequently and in a fun and friendly way (think texts with dog emojis) than the appointments I have booked online for my car. The emojis might seem childish, but it makes me smile when I see the text, and I open the text to read the whole reminder. My dealership could do better with the appointment reminder process or the linkage between what I have already filled out online and the questions I am re-asked when I get into the service lane. This level of accessible customer service keeps me coming back.
Similarly, the automotive industry could take a cue from the airlines and ensure they check in customers as quickly as possible.
I know what you are thinking. Really, the airline industry? But take yourself back ten years before the kiosks and bag drop, when everyone waited for a live person to help them. I remember my first kiosk experience with Delta, thinking, “this is never going to stick,” but now it is the rule, not the exception. The airlines invested in consumer apps to smooth processes and satisfy the desire for self-service. They also changed their operations, funneling the travelers to the kiosks the minute they walked in the door with a greeter.
The key is providing an excellent check-in process, where your consumer can self-service the things that make sense, and your advisors use the data supplied by that consumer to check in quickly and efficiently. Waiting and standing in line is rarely an enjoyable experience and not one that consumers want to repeat. However, by providing a simple, efficient, and friendly check-in process, you can start your service experience on a positive note. What processes could you change in the drive with the help of technology?
The Waiting Area
One of the essential parts of creating a consumer-friendly service experience is ensuring your waiting area is as inviting and efficient as possible. There are consulting companies that do this full-time for the medical industry. For example, having a quiet, safe, and clean environment with snacks is essential. Additionally, providing timely information about what is going on with their vehicle and pushing video content to the consumer’s device can keep them in the waiting area and not coming back to the drive to ask additional questions. Consider giving customers the option to upgrade additional repairs while they wait. A big plate glass window for added transparency will also help ensure customers have a friendly automotive service experience.
Clear communication with consumers is critical to providing a friendly service experience. Technology can be used to streamline the process, as well as provide transparency throughout the duration of the service. A communication system that keeps customers informed throughout the process should be a priority.
Plenty of research shows most consumers prefer text as the best way to reach them because it allows for concise yet detailed updates that won’t take too much of the consumer’s time. Through the use of text updates, customers will have the ability to stay on top of their service and make any necessary changes that they may require. I have witnessed certain regionally based demographic tendencies, think south Florida, where text is not always best. You know your client base!
Transparency is also vital to providing a consumer-friendly service experience. It is essential to allow customers to view updates to their service or inform them of any changes that could impact the service’s completion. Good news can be delivered autonomously, as it won’t require any action from the customer. Bad news should always be delivered in person so that the customer can fully understand and respond to the issue.
Completing the service experience in a consumer-friendly way is just as important as the beginning of the process. Ensure that the bill does not surprise the consumer and take payment their way. Offer payment options such as online, in an app, through SMS, or at the cashier station. Use technology to allow the technician to show and tell what repairs were made to the vehicle and ensure the consumer knows what was done and why it was necessary. The client that brought the car in for service may have a partner, not with them, that wants to understand what repairs were made. Lastly, follow up with the consumer one to two days after completing the service, to ensure there are no lingering concerns. Following these steps will ensure consumers have a friendly and satisfactory service experience.
Many excellent tools transitioning consumers from online to efficient in-store processes are available through these well-known software providers: Auto Pro Solutions, BlinkAI, Carmen, CMT Scanner, Conversica, Covideo Dealer Services, Customer Research, DealerPay, Digital Dealership Systems, DriveRightData, Edifice Automotive Marketing, Everyware, Fixed Performance, iService Auto, Maestro Personal Assistant, Momentum CRM, North American Bancard, OptionSoft Technologies, Performance Loyalty Group, Real Time Feedback, Rome Technologies, Total Customer Connect, Workflow Solutions 360.