Generating business in dealership fixed operations is like a chess game. Wrong move you lose. Right move, you win. It's about winning. To help you win, here are 11 more ways to increase your service business:
- Multi-Car Special Offer
Most of your customers have more than one car in the family. Why not offer a special service-department deal on a second vehicle? Granted, it may be a brand you don't sell. You will need to address this in the beginning.
- Hold Personal-Care Day
Several of my clients have success with “value-added services” such as manicures and massages. One client offers free nail-care day once a week. He hires a manicurist for 6 hours and gives all customers free manicures. Another has a full massage therapist on staff that offers free massages to all customers. Let's not forget a free shoe-shine day.
- Give Free Movie Tickets
Work out a deal with the local movie theater and offer tickets to close more work, pacify an upset customer or incentivize an employee.
- Use Tablet Computers
Tablet computers are starting to show tremendous results. They let service advisors do the write up at the car which means customers never have to step into the service office. These tools are enablers to build and maintain consistency in the write-up transaction and to sell the convenience of the operation.
- Spiff Showroom Staffer on Accessory Sales Efforts
Accessory sales can increase your profit although keeping the sales staff focused can be a challenge. One idea is to pay sales people during a sales meeting in cash. The parts manager totals the commissions by the sales person and, in front of all the sales people, they count out the money!
- Free Second-Opinion Coupon
In all direct mail, include a coupon offering the customer a free second opinion by your skilled technicians. Why not? Our competitors do it, why can't we?
- Technician Production Objectives
This is one of four techniques I believe all stores should do. All flat-rate technicians hit the door every morning with informal production objectives. I have done thousands of interviews with technicians. One question I always ask is, “How many hours do you want to produce a day?” They have a number. If you take this number and develop a formal objective, it gives you the opportunity to raise the level of expected performance. The store yields an increased level of production. The increased production will result in additional gross profit. Almost all of it is net profit!
- Detail Menu
The detail department is an untapped profit center. A number of my clients have developed a detail menu (samples available upon request) that offers available services.
- Oil Filter Give Away
Getting the customer to return to the dealership for the first service is often a challenge. Try this: give the oil filter to the customer at time of delivery and instruct them that it's very important to return with the filter for the first oil change because the dealership will pay for the service.
- Call Service Customers the Day Before Their Appointments
A simple task, but often forgotten. Call, text, or e-mail all people with appointments. Do it the day before the appointment. Several advantages: First, you know your capacity for the day. Second, you can compensate for no-shows by giving the call-in the opportunity to get in the same day. The same day call-in customers are some of the most profitable.
- Put Magnetic ‘Special-Offer’ Signs on Parts Trucks and Shuttle Vehicles
The parts truck and shuttle vans get around town. Use them as an advertising asset to promo your service department. Do that with either magnetic signs or vehicle wraps. I see parts trucks all the time with nothing on them.
Veteran fixed-operations consultant Lee Harkins can be reached at 205-747-8305.