Set Your Dealership Service Department Up for Success

Tips for profitable dealership service departmentMany things have changed in the automotive business in the last few decades, but one thing remains the same: Your dealership's service department should be one of your best sources of revenue.

Yet, one challenge most dealers face is a declining source of what was once an important part of service revenue. A few decades ago, warranty service work accounted for 70 percent of a dealership’s service business. Today that number is only 20 percent.

So, what is your dealership doing to make up for that business? The obvious answer is to bring in new business into the service department, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The new service customers you’re going after are already servicing their cars somewhere else – many of them at independent service shops. You need to give them a really good reason to switch to your dealership. Inside your four walls, it’s important to continually focus on improving the customer experience. It’s also equally important to look outside your four walls to make sure you're marketing those improvements to customers to draw them in.

Here are some tips for creating a positive customer experience in your service department and get noticed for doing so:

  1. Treat every customer like a VIP. Immediately greeting your guests and listening to and answering their questions can make all the difference in creating satisfied customers who will rave about their experience to others.
  2. Follow up in a timely fashion. Thank customers for their visit and give them the opportunity to provide feedback to you directly and on online review sites.
  3. Convenience is key. Having to drop your car off for service is already a hassle to most consumers – make it less painful by providing convenience options such as a shuttle, loaner or rental cars, snacks and drinks, and free wifi access.
  4. Market to your customers via the channel they prefer. Give your customers the option to specify how they’d prefer to receive communication from you. Respect their requests, and show up where they’re looking.
  5. Make your service department available online. Give your customers the opportunity to check service history, see recommended services, and even schedule appointments with their favorite service advisor online.

The service department should be considered the heart of your business.  Don’t overlook small details that can mean a big difference for your customers and for your bottom line!