In wake of a global pandemic, the safety of guests and employees is foremost on dealers’ minds. Safety is foremost on the minds of your customers too. While health and safety are important, it is also important not to lose sight of industry best practices.

When it comes to oil changes and express service, there are many things you can do at your dealership to ensure that customers feel comfortable servicing their vehicles with you. Here are some best practices that will put your customers’ minds at ease, increase traffic to your express lane, and increase customer satisfaction during this pandemic, and beyond.

Offer a drive-thru oil change service – If you have the appropriate setup at your dealership, consider allowing your customers to stay in their car while you change their oil. This way you do not have to handle their keys, and they don’t have to go into your waiting room.

express laneOffer contactless pay options and paperless invoicing – With services like Apple Pay and Google Pay, your customers can settle their bill with a contactless “touch” of their card. Invoices and receipts can also be emailed, so that no paperwork (and germs) needs to exchange hands.

Keep your express lane and customer waiting are clean – COVID-19 has helped us all develop better cleaning protocols. Continue to disinfect surfaces regularly, and keep you’re your shop and waiting area looking clean and decluttered.

Maintain good hygiene practices – This includes regular and thorough hand washing, along with providing easy-to-access hand sanitizer stations for employees and guests.

Wear masks – Most of the pandemic experts agree that wearing masks is the quickest way for life to return to normal in the face of COVID-19. Wearing masks brings peace of mind to customers, and is an outward expression of your inward commitment to their safety.

Enforce physical spacing among teammates and customers – 6’ social distancing markers on your floor, and signs posted around your facility will help remind employees and guests of the importance of distancing. Your customers will understand that you are still happy to see them, even if you don’t shake their hand!

Send employees home – Any team member not feeling should be directed to stay home.

Maintain high levels of service – Before the current COVID-19 pandemic, there was a big push for dealerships to refine their express service processes. Although we now have many more protocols to worry about regarding health, it is important to remember that dealership express lanes aren’t like regular service lanes; they have their own needs and quirks.

DO assign teams of quick service technicians to work on a single vehicle, in the manner of a pit crew.

DON’T keep express service parts at the parts desk; stock them near the fast lanes.

DO look to existing dealership employees, such as porters and greeters, as candidates for quick service advisers.

DO look to community college auto training programs for lube tech candidates, and show such techs a dealership career path.

DON’T look first to hire employees of aftermarket quick-lube stores.

DO seek buy-in from service advisers and techs by showing the benefits of quick service, such as higher customer satisfaction.

DO mine quick-service lanes for opportunities for work in your regular service bays.

Remember the “Express” in express service – Time, not price, is where dealerships have the hardest time competing with quick lube shops. The quickest way to win over an express lane customer and keep them coming back for maintenance and bigger repair orders is to get them in and out fast.

Related: Automakers’ Plans for Returning to Work



Did you enjoy this article from Ken Strong? Read other articles from him here.

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