It's 3 a.m., a Good Time to Set Up a Service Appointment

A St. Louis, MO, dealership group is testing a new online scheduling system that it says could change the way customers book service appointments. The Lou Fusz Automotive Network is teaming with Karpel Computer Systems to launch a new system designed to benefit customers and improve dealership operations. The system currently is being tested at Fusz Saturn dealerships with plans to eventually expand

A St. Louis, MO, dealership group is testing a new online scheduling system that it says could change the way customers book service appointments.

The Lou Fusz Automotive Network is teaming with Karpel Computer Systems to launch a new system designed to benefit customers and improve dealership operations.

The system currently is being tested at Fusz Saturn dealerships with plans to eventually expand to other stores in the group.

Here's how it works:

Customers visit www.fuszsaturn.com and find the day and time that best fits their schedule.

Once a date is selected, a new screen appears asking the customer for contact information and nature of the complaint or service needed. The date and time is then confirmed, depending on the severity of the problem and availability of staff.

Once confirmed, Fusz sends an e-mail reminder to the customer. The system also calls the customer with an automated voice message on a home or work phone as a second reminder.

“The system is extremely efficient and is a great benefit for our customers,” says Chris Hedgpeth, fixed operations manager for Saturn of Metro East. “Now you can schedule an appointment online any time, day or night, without having to call and wait for a service person to come to the phone.

“You can also select your service from a pull-down menu and be matched with the skill level of a technician that best meets your needs. Plus we will provide our customers with some great online money saving offers. There's nothing like this anywhere in the nation.”

Dan Fusz, general manager of the Saturn dealerships, says the scheduler enables service managers to improve their operations.

“Each service manager can pre-plan their activities well in advance,” says Fusz. “We'll know which days will be busy and which will be light. Managers can adjust their staff accordingly, depending on the complexity of the work. In all, we expect the system to save each dealership at least $50,000 per year.”

Jeff Karpel, president of Karpel Computer Systems, says it took more than a year to develop the service scheduler. The firm spent about $100,000 to build the software.

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