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Of people who took their vehicle to a particular service spot, 65% first heard about it through a video, Harris says.

Car Dealers Can Boost Business By Becoming Go-To Sources

Forty percent of drivers do online research on how to repair their vehicles before taking them to the shop.

Dealerships can increase their service-department business by establishing themselves as go-to information sources who credibly field customer vehicle questions, particularly online.

So says Colleen Harris, an analyst at information-services provider CDK Global. She has more than 13 years of digital-marketing experience.

Among her suggestions is that dealers build YouTube video playlists centered on service questions.

That’s important because 40% of drivers research how to repair their vehicles before taking them to the shop, she says during a DrivingSales Executive Summit session entitled “Driving Service Customers From Your Website to Your Service Bay.”

She suggests dealers create online community Q&A sections in which consumers ask questions, dealer personnel answer them and questions voted as most relevant get displayed first.  

She also urges dealers to “convert search-engine keywords into questions.” For example, if a consumer types in “Oil change in Grapevine, TX,” the search results would include:

  • “Why get my oil changed at the dealership?”
  • “Should I change my oil every 3,000 miles?”
  • “What is the best oil to use on trucks?”
  • “Who has an oil-change coupon?”

When dealers establish themselves up as answer men and women it enhances customer interaction and increases time spent on a dealership webpage, Harris says.

A CDK case study indicates that by offering a FAQ format on tires (i.e. “How long do truck tires last?”), a dealership enjoyed a 33% increased visibility for “best tires” in organic search results.(Colleen Harris, left)

Harris, known in some CDK circles as “the Google Whisperer,” says more than 70% of search traffic is “long tail” (more than three keywords) and voice search is growing with the increased use of virtual-assistant devices.

Personalized coupons get the best results, she tells dealers. That’s because 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it is personalized to reflect previous consumer interactions.

Nearly 60% of consumers say they are OK with providing personal information on a website if it benefits them and is used responsibly, she says.

Other takeaways from her presentation:

  • “Near-me” searches (i.e. “Chevy dealers near me”) have increased 130% year over year.
  • Of people who took their vehicle to a particular service spot, 65% first heard about it through a video. (That includes advertising.)
  • Customer reviews matter. Harris cites a survey indicating 92% of consumers read online reviews and 89% of Millennials trust reviews more than brand claims.
  • Going from a 3-star to a 5-star rating can increase clicks 25%.
  • Service advisers should know of online coupon offers and use language that reflects the coupons’ content. “Use common, engaging, understandable language,” Harris says.
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