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Why Not Sunday for Service?

By Staff Writer on January 15, 2018

For decades there have been laws preventing car sales on Sundays. Some dealerships see it as antiquated; others embrace it. But, forget the car sales part of the equation and considered, …

Why Not Sunday for Service?

By Staff Writer on January 15, 2018

For decades there have been laws preventing car sales on Sundays. Some dealerships see it as antiquated; others embrace it. But, forget the car sales part of the equation and considered, …

OneClick Loyalty Blog

Why Not Sunday for Service?

By Staff Writer on January 15, 2018

For decades there have been laws preventing car sales on Sundays. Some dealerships see it as antiquated; others embrace it.

But, forget the car sales part of the equation and considered, even if limited hours, opening the service bays on a Sunday even if you legally have to keep the showroom closed.

Essentially, it could be your most profitable day of the week.

Chris Miller, President of Recall Masters, recently touted the benefits in a Digital Dealer article. One dealership saw 80 percent of the jobs coming in on Sunday needing maintenance work, such as quick service. “This immediately increases customer-pay revenue…” Miller says.

This service also eases the frustrations of customers trying to bring their vehicles in before work during the week and helps stave off third-party competition from quick lube centers who remain open on Sundays and willing service customers.

Few dealerships open their doors on Sundays (if they are legally allowed to do so), however, those who do find benefits.

Jeff Dobson, Service Manager at Pohanka Chevrolet, states, “It’s easier for clients to come in on Sunday. Put yourself in their shoes, alter your hours to meet their needs.”

Pohanka Chevrolet has offered Sunday service for about a decade.

Recruiting quality talent and retaining employees may be easier as well. Rick Wegley, an instructor with NCM Associates, recommends making “weekend hours a part of your recruitment.” Technicians may enjoy the steady work and knowing they can do activities, generally reserved for weekends, on a Monday when there is less of a crowd.

Consumers expect “convenience, customized service and control of the experience,” Bonnie Knutson, a professor in the School of Hospitality Business in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, says. So, in an age when consumers want what they want, when they want it, it makes sense to cater to their needs and provide a positive customer experience.

The more positive interactions a dealership can have with their customers, the likelier they are to turn them into a customer for life. Opening the service department on Sundays may be your next step to increasing customer retention and revenue.

Establish Trust and Sell More F&I

By Staff Writer on January 8, 2018

The economy is strong. Both new and used vehicle sales for 2017 are poised to be higher than initially estimated.

At the point-of-sale, more often than not, customers neglect to invest in warranties and service contracts because they don’t want to expend that additional cost; after all, the economy is cruising, they’re gainfully employed and they know cars are being produced with greater efficiency. Therefore, a customer wants to keep the sticker price low and doesn’t want to extend the lengthy purchase time.

You can’t give up on these buyers though; it’s important for your revenue to come back to them after the sale.

Gabe Garroni, vice president of sales at Ally Insurance, states “…three years into owning that car, everything changes. Service contracts become more important.”

If you don’t communicate with your customers after the sale, you lose the opportunity to sell them on F&I products that benefit your bottom line and their enjoyment of the vehicle you sold them.

Garroni suggests finding the right partners to help maintain communication lines with your vehicle buyers. That’s the precise intention of OneClick Loyalty; a platform designed to engage customers, build a relationship and foster a digital journey to entice repeat sales and service.

Once wary of dealership protection plans, the consumer is more open to the idea now than previously. “Consumers today are more comfortable than ever with the idea of protection plans,” Garroni says. Protection plans are sold, and used, for items such as smart phones and appliances. Having one for your vehicle too just makes sense.

F&I products succeed best when they are demonstrably in the customer’s best interest and delivered at the most relevant time. That’s why it’s important to communicate at key intervals with a clear demonstration of the value prop of the protection plan or product.

Protection plans are more important and relevant than ever. A record number of used cars were sold in Q2 2017, and with newer-model used vehicles, a protection plan is important to preventing long-term costly repairs. Ensuring your customers have established trust with you will help open them up to the idea of purchasing a protection plan through your F&I department.

Through personalization and proactive engagement, your customers will not only be more willing to open emails from you, but receptive to the information, such as F&I products, as well.

Are Your Employees Invested in Your Technology Upgrade?

By Staff Writer on December 18, 2017

After investing a considerable amount of money in upgrades to technology designed to make workers more productive, most dealerships are not seeing their numbers jump at all.

Over the past 40 years, the statistics are virtually unmoved:

  • Sales associates average 10 retail sales per month
  • Technicians average 40 hours per week

The answer isn’t more technology, but the right technology.

So, if you’re investing money into a CRM system, a system designed to manage relationships and turn leads into sales, how much of it are you actually using?

  • 43 percent of dealers use fewer than half the features they pay for!
  • 72 percent would be willing to give up extra features to have a system that is easier to use.

The problem is multifaceted. It’s complicated to use, there are too many features and difficulty in training are just a few examples on why a considerable portion of your investment is going unused.

If technology is complex and the training is time-consuming, then employees are averse to using it. They fall back on old, “tried-and-true” tactics that equate to similar outcomes: 10 retail sales/month.

With so much focus on digital communications and customer experiences, it has never been easier to remain in contact with your customers. But dealers want a cost-effective, comprehensive solution, not just a point solution for staying in touch with car buyers. After all, the cost for conquest is considerably more than retention. After-sales communication is key to retention in both sales and service. A customer bringing their vehicle in for service is far likelier to purchase their next vehicle at that dealership.

“Staying in touch digitally with sales and service customers is an opportunity to interact with thousands of people in an inexpensive way,” states Steve Finlay, WardsAuto.

With OneClick Loyalty, we provide the ease-of-use and ability to stay in contact with customer post-sales. Designed by dealers, for dealers, OneClick Loyalty reduces marketing costs while delivering a personalized experience to customers. You sign up and we do the rest. OneClick Loyalty is a customer relationship platform that you’ll actually use.

Do Your Customers Know Why OEM Parts Matter?

By Staff Writer on December 11, 2017

Who do you work for?

Depending on who you ask at the dealership, you may come across a few different answers, even when asking the owner.

But in order to find consistent success, the answer has to be the customer.

The Best Body Shop in Wichita, Kan., recently posted a video explaining the depth in which they take care of the customer. Insurance companies insist that body shops use after-market parts because they are cheaper but maintain the same quality. This body shop, fed up at being forced to use substandard parts, took to the Internet.

In the video, Clay Hoberecht, owner of Best Body Shop, repairs a vehicle to the exact specification the insurance company asked and demonstrates in a very hands-on way how these specifications do not hold up to OEM parts.

Hoberecht states, “We as a body shop are bound to repair your car according to OEM procedures, not according to how the insurance tells us.” He adds, “We work for you, and you alone.”

This video brings up two questions:

  1. Do your customers know you’re looking out for their best interests?

It would be easy to assume that having the lowest prices and helping to get a car buyer into a new vehicle is all one needs to succeed. But we all know that’s not the case.

Customers today expect service and they’re willing to be loyal to a company that proves they want to deliver on good service consistently.

Studies by thought leaders across the spectrum have indicated, time and again, that personalization is a key indicator to delivering personal care. Personalization in communication increases both open rates and revenue, but also shows the customer that you care about them individually, and thus personalizing the message. As customers bring their vehicles in for service, taking time to explain and discuss the issues with the vehicle builds trust between customer and dealership.

“Overall, to increase trust between car buyers and dealerships, the industry needs to shift from a transactional, product-driven approach to a customer-centric approach,” states Greg Carrasco, President of GTA Hyundai Dealerships.

  1. Do your customers understand why using OEM parts, and factory-certified technicians, actually makes a difference?

Part of providing a high level of customer service is ensuring the customer gets what they paid for. Across the board, repairs using OEM parts often exceed the cost of using after-market options.

Just as how in the video from Best Body Shop clearly illustrates the benefits, a dealership’s service advisor also needs to explain to a customer why they are paying more and how it’s an upside for maintaining the value of the car to performance.

Additionally, cost differences are often due to the amount of training and expertise going into the employee working in your service center. Factory-certified technicians who work solely on the manufacturer’s vehicles means more expertise and familiarity.

Time and again, customers are willing to pay more for high-quality, professional work with OEM parts; as long as they understand why it costs more. It’s the dealership’s responsibility to explain.

 

Implementing a platform like OneClick Loyalty personalizes the customer experience and helps build trust. This means they are more inclined to listen when you explain the benefits of OEM parts and using your technicians, as well as giving you the opportunity to show how you have the customer’s best interests at heart.

How to Win Customers in the Concierge Economy

By Staff Writer on November 20, 2017

Consumers want what they want, when they want it. They want personal service and the want it now. This is the concierge economy. And while the concept of personalization is all the buzz nowadays, it’s nothing more than the 2017 version of Burger King’s 1970’s slogan “Have it your way” — a slogan that lasted over 40 years.

A big driver in all of this is the prevalence of smart phones to order what they want and have it delivered wherever they are. Smart phones are always an arm’s length away encouraging immediacy and on-demand delivery of information, products and services, pushing companies to create a seamless experience from the phone to real-life. Whether it’s burgers or coffee or airline seats, customers are increasingly becoming used to the seamless experience from mobile to real life.

As a dealership, it’s critical to jump onboard this concierge economy to build a relationship with your buyers and show them that you’re here to help them “have it their way”— digitally.

So, how do you do it?

Digital Convenience is King

According to a Cox Automotive survey of over 4,500 U.S. consumers, 14 percent of service consumers booked their appointment online. Organizations like Westside Lexus in Houston strongly encourage their customers to book online, even enticing them to do so with rewards. By actively pushing customers in this direction. They have seen online appointment booking skyrocket from 10 percent to over 30 percent in just a couple years.

The benefits are two-fold: The customer is able to conveniently schedule their appointment quickly and easily, and the dealership operates more efficiently guaranteeing additional bookings.

The Days of Spray-and-Pray are Over

Customers are inundated with all sorts of marketing messages across multiple channels and devices. They’re aware of being marketed to and take appropriate measures to remove these digital distractions from their life. They only way to cut through that clutter and generate ROI is through personalization. By utilizing and understanding data, a dealership can deliver the right messages at the right time to the right customer.

The fact is, personalization generates revenue. “Studies show that 48% of shoppers will spend more when the digital shopping experience is personalized.”

Make It Available and Make It Easy

Being online is all about convenience. If it’s just as much of a hassle to schedule a service appointment online as it is by calling, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. The concierge economy is all about making daily life easier.

It’s crucial to let your customers know what tools you are making available to them because it’s likely almost half probably don’t even know that online scheduling exists.

Also, people are distracted easily so if you make it difficult to schedule an appointment, get more information or learn more about products or services, the customer is likely to abandon you and your site without any guarantee to return.

Let your customers know what is available and remove as many obstacles as possible.

Buyers have so much information and tools at their fingertips that comes with a level of personalization, convenience and availability like never before. This puts enormous pressure on today’s dealership to perform at the level of the Amazons and Starbuckses of the world. When shoppers know what they want, and they come to you for service, make sure you’re ready to meet their needs by providing a seamless experience from the smart phone to the service bay.

Want to personalize like the pros? OneClick Loyalty is a retention platform designed by dealers for dealers. By utilizing personalized messaging and delivering the right message at the right time, dealerships have the opportunity to truly engage with a customer and drive behavior. Let your customers have it their way and turn every vehicle buyer into a customer for life.

4 Ways to Reach Millennials, and Their Parents

By Staff Writer on November 13, 2017

In 2014, Millennials became the largest generation in the United States surpassing baby boomers.

At 25% of the population, Millennials are poised to be 40% of the vehicle purchasers in 2020.

But marketing to them has proven to be challenging, right? The traditional tactics don’t work anymore, and the new strategies seem to leave the older generation of vehicle purchasers in the dust. How do you compromise?

The good news is that you don’t.

Baby Boomers are active on social media and are just as connected as Millennials.

  • 3% of baby boomers belong to at least one social media site (Facebook is the most popular)
  • Baby boomers spend more hours online per week than those between the ages of 16-34
  • Baby boomers are the more likely generation to look for more information after seeing something of interest on social media

Millennials may have grown up on digital but the generations before them have adopted the technology and are extremely active.

Here are 4 ways to reach Millennials, and their parents:

 

  1. Focus on Referrals via Social Media

Millennials like to share and many strive to get likes and positive feedback for what they put up on social media. In fact, 70% of millennials are more excited about a decision they’ve made when their friends validate it on social media. If you can encourage them to share their experience, this word-of-mouth is sure to garner interest in your dealership.

If a baby boomer sees a social media post from their network, which may include their children and their children’s friends, regarding the purchase of a vehicle, they are likely to search for more information.

 

  1. Focus on Word-of-Mouth Referrals

More than just a Facebook post, leveraging the power of intent to get your customers to refer your business is a great way to increase both retention and conquest. According to David Neuman, CEO of Gaea North America, “If a Millennial hears a recommendation from a friend or colleague, they are more likely to buy and try a product than if they just happen upon it in a print ad.”

Overall, 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision

 

  1. Engage, Don’t Market

Millennials have many tricks to avoid marketing. Pop-up blockers, ad blockers and DVRs are just a few ways customers can avoid your commercials and marketing tactics. Millennials prefer to be engaged meaning businesses need to provide relevant content that meets their needs, when they need it. If digital engagement to you means batch-and-blasting emails, they will delete your message, send it to the spam folder without ever reading past the headline or unsubscribe.

 

  1. Tell a Story

Millennial customers like stories, especially if they are in the form of a short video. They are easy to digest and shareable. Stories also humanize businesses and offer a glimpse into what makes your dealership better than a competitor’s. The more a customer, Millennial or Baby Booker, feels a connection with a business, the more likely they are to remain loyal.

At first, the Baby Boomers may have been slow to adopt new technological modes of communication, however, digital has become standard, more comfortable, and much more widely used.

 

With OneClick Loyalty, a dealership has a path of digital engagement designed to strategically send the right message at the right time. These relevant, personalized interactions encourage referrals and reviews, drive retention and continuously engage with customers helping to increase dealership revenue in all aspects including, sales, F&I and service.

Do Women Trust Your Dealership?

By Staff Writer on November 6, 2017

Let’s start off with some statistics on women and their dealership experience:

  • 50% are dissatisfied with the car they end up purchasing
  • 77% feel they need to bring a male with them to the dealership
  • $500 more money is paid for their vehicle compared to men

What are you doing to gain the trust of women — a combination of 85 percent of those purchasing new vehicles either for themselves or directly affecting the choice for the household?

Both online, and in-person, there are changes big and small a dealership can make to cater to women and to make them feel more comfortable visiting your business.

When over ¾ of women feel they need to bring a man with them to be treated fairly, getting them to trust you is critical for long-term success and to help drive revenue.

How does a dealership gain trust?

Reviews

Did your female customer have a good experience at your dealership? Encourage them to write an online review about their purchasing or service process. According to CBT Automotive News, “Women are 50% more likely than men to rely on dealership reviews and they prefer reading reviews from women.”

Women are loyal to good service, a study by Erasmus University found, whereas men are more brand-loyal. If a female customer had a satisfactory customer journey and writes a positive review, more women are likely to be persuaded to give that business a try.

Build a Relationship

Every customer looking to purchase a vehicle or is in need of service, deserves respect. Regardless of gender, customers simply gravitate toward those they deem trustworthy. When sales or service representatives take the time to listen to a customer and ask the right questions, it increases the likelihood of higher satisfaction and revenue.

  • 73% said they will service their car at that dealership in the future if they received excellent service
  • More than half said they would bring their car back for service at the dealership where they purchased their vehicle

Relationship-building starts before the point-of-sale and continues well-after. This drives retention and increases dealership revenue without the cost of conquest.

Connect

Most vehicle research is completed online, and yet most dealership websites are built to sell cars with marketing strategies that lack emotion or connection. Showcasing vehicle inventory and listing the number of vehicles you have available will hardly build trust or show any real benefit to visiting your dealership for a test drive. What’s the difference between your 100’s of vehicles and your competitor’s 100’s of vehicles?

Sharing why your vehicles are safer and stronger, and built with features that highlight what matters to women, will indicate that your dealership is ready to connect with women and their needs.

This includes the service center. What amenities do you offer to ensure women will want to return to you for service? Do you have a children’s area? Free rental? Shuttle service? What magazines do you have out in the waiting room? It’s important to communicate to your customers, and potential customers, what sets you apart from other service centers.

Referrals

People talk. If your dealership becomes known as a trustworthy place for women to shop for and service their cars, they will share. Referrals not only show that your dealership is catering to their customer, but it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to acquire and retain new customers.

 

OneClick Loyalty has been able to connect dealerships with their customers and provide a journey that builds trust and establishes a relationship with female customers. By encouraging referrals and reviews, sharing information about the dealership amenities and connecting with relevancy, OneClick Loyalty can drive retention and revenue from female customers.

Guided-Selling has found that “Women are more likely to respond to email marketing” making it the best way to reach this demographic. “Educate, empower and provide reassurance,” and you’ll see more women eager to visit your dealership for sales and service.

What’s More Profitable than Selling Cars?

By Staff Writer on October 30, 2017

What’s more profitable than selling cars? F&I

“Without a doubt, dealers are doing a much better job in selling product than what they used to,” says DealerStrong President Greg Goebel. This has led to consistent growth in profit this year and remarkably exceeding vehicle gross profit by more than double in some areas.

2015 was the first year in which F&I exceeded vehicle sales, however, the trend reversed last year. But, in 2017, F&I has retained its ability to outperform vehicle sales profit throughout the year due in part to shrinking margins.

Why the trend?

Goebel continues, “The dealers are becoming much more proficient, and finance companies are allowing much more significant F&I profit.”

Aggressive sales tactics are a thing of the past and many in the Millennial generation, as well as Generation X, will no longer accept it as part of the car buying experience. So, how does a dealership add to their bottom line via the F&I office without turning away customers?

According to Lloyd Trushel, F&I trainer, “The 1970s strategy of simply overcoming objections doesn’t work anymore.”

These old-school tactics are met with well-informed and skeptical customers. Trushel suggests personal engagement. Building trust is key to providing great service and retaining customers (and customer retention is far more cost-effective than conquest).

What happens if the customer purchases their car and leaves without an extended warranty, protection plan or other F&I product or service from your dealership?

Don’t consider it a lost sale yet.

By continuing to interact with your car buyers after the sale you can entice them to return to your dealership for service. As they do so, your dealership brand builds trust, opening the door to suggest the products they neglected at the time of sale.

It’s never too late to increase profits through F&I even after the sale because continuous, positive engagement increases the likelihood your buyer will return to your dealership for their next car and, therefore, meet with the F&I rep once again.

With OneClick Loyalty, you’ll have a platform designed to engage the customer and forge a relationship throughout the entire ownership lifecycle. Based on industry-leading customer experience algorithms, your dealership can strategically target the right message, at the right time to the right customer. This means you can market your extended warranty or service contract products, add-ons and additional F&I services even after the customer has left the lot and at times in the lifecycle in which they are likely to purchase.

Best of all, this level of engagement gives you the opportunity to turn a car buyer into a customer for life.

With almost 8 in 10 Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, the idea of a $1,000 repair bill is crushing. Your F&I department can help ease the burdens of unexpected car repairs as the power of OneClick Loyalty continues to build trust between you and the customer.

How to Find Alternative Revenue Sources Amid Slowing Sales

By Staff Writer on October 23, 2017

Manufacturers are already pulling back inventory, how will your dealership maintain revenue with less vehicle sales?

Recently, General Motors announced its plan to lay off employees from its Detroit-Hamtramck plant starting Oct. 20 with a full shutdown commencing Nov. 20 until the end of the year. Shuttering a factory for five weeks is GM’s way to control inventory.

While September was a great month for vehicle sales boasting a 6.1 percent increase from September 2016 figures, estimates are mixed on vehicle sales projections for 2017 with a consensus showing 17.6 million; or just about as many sold in 2016.

If your dealership relies on new vehicle sales for revenue generation, there may be headaches in the forecast. Areas in the south, especially in the Houston area where Hurricane Harvey totaled over 1 million vehicles, there will be a major uptick in new vehicle sales but in other parts of the country, the jury is still out.

The good news is all the new vehicle sold will need routine maintenance and repairs in the coming years. Even if there is a decline in new vehicle sales, your dealership can entice customers to return for after-sales service; a crucial step in increasing retention.

But expecting the customer to show up is not a given. Less than half will maintain their vehicle at a dealership more than two times, and considerably less will stick around after the warranty expires. Research shows that the average dealership could generate over $100,000 more in gross profit simply by improving the customer experience.

Now is the time to build a true relationship with your buyers and create a positive experience to ensure they choose your dealership for their vehicle servicing as opposed to an independent shop.

But spraying-and-praying emails or blasting commercials in hopes it will drive customers into your dealership is an expensive game and far from an “experience.” A broad approach does not offer the customized or personal solution customers now expect from every company they interact with.

How do you make a personal connection with a list of thousands of people? With OneClick Loyalty™ we use industry-leading customer experience algorithms designed to hit the customer with relevant content at just the right frequency.

The result?

Dealerships avoid over communication and communication fatigue while delivering the right message, to the right customer at the right time turning dealership data into a comprehensive customer experience.

When customers are engaged with relevant content, they feel they have a better connection with the company in which they do business. In fact, customers are twice as likely to return for service and six times likely to purchase a new vehicle if a dealership interacts with them just five times.

Vehicle service is a $99 billion business with just 30% going to dealerships. It’s time to maximize the power of service retention.

Learn more about OneClick Loyalty at www.OneClickLoyalty.com.