Research from the Castrol Professional Car Servicing & Repair Trend Tracker report featured some concerning stats for car dealers who focus heavily on the service, maintenance and repair (SMR) side of the business. They anticipate that the SMR market is set to decline 11% by 2019, after peaking in 2015.
This is most likely due to a large number of cars getting old enough to DIY fix at home (passing the 10 year mark), and the increasing length of manufacturer warranties (yesterday’s shock warranty announcement form Vauxhall not withstanding).
Whilst this isn’t exactly cheery news, it does one thing very well – it highlights the need to start planning to buck this trend in advance of it happening – giving forward-thinking dealers the chance to beat the curve. Bad news is, in this instance, a real opportunity.
So, how can you minimise the effect of this downwards curve on your dealership?
The main thing to do, in terms of your website, is ensure that you have the best solutions in place for your customers. This provides a better level of customer service, which in turn should contribute to increased customer retention. Focusing on building a committed and positive customer network should provide a cushion against any downturn, and can also help you to stand out in the decreased market as one of the best options.
Service booking options
Facilitate easy service booking for customers – let them book their service how and when they want. This may mean offering call back and live chat options as well as the standard booking form in order to appeal to as many customer types as possible. And whilst you’re at it, why not think about changing how you sell your servicing options? The age-based servicing packages and confusing jargon have been shown to put a lot of people off – is there a different way you can describe things to come across more practically and accessibly?
Why choose you?
There is often a dearth of information when it comes to telling potential customers why they should choose you to service or repair their car. Rather than just trusting that potential customers will realise that you are a competent company, why not tell them? Including how-to videos, testimonials (in text or video form, ideally both!), 360° interactive tours including the service desk and plenty of copy about your expertise all helps to make you seem more trustworthy and knowledgeable. And why not support this on all your email communications throughout?
Improve your delivery and customer service
If you manage to book a customer in, then the emphasis needs to be on excellent customer service and making sure that they intend to use you next time. This can be as simple as remembering their coffee order when they returned, or more complicated. Products like Vehicle Vision let you video the service or repair, offering not only clarity and transparency, but the chance to get customers to approve additional work, maximising each job’s profitability. Other similar ideas include cleaning the car, using texts to communicate throughout, and going out of your way to make the servicing convenient for the customer - such as out of hours collection. Finally, what about introducing a premium dealership app that includes servicing and MOT reminder within a format branded to your company?
(Image source: here)