Did you know that $214 billion in revenue is available to capture by dealership service providers? Service departments that are looking to dial up more efficiency to drive profits out of that $214 billion pie are adding new tools and technologies that promote time savings, smoother processes, dealership customer retention, and help grow market share. Today on Inside Automotive, Cox Automotive solution Xtime’s Skyler Chadwick, Director of Sales Engineers, has outlined five tech trends that will increase productivity and make for a more profitable service department.
According to the latest Cox Automotive Service Industry Study, the average number of customer visits to the service department per year has declined from 2.8 visits in 2018 to 2.3 visits in 2021. This drop in visits underscores the importance of car dealers maximizing every customer’s experience in the service department, says Chadwick. Technology is aiding car dealers in this area, and there are five notable trends to consider:
- Streamlining and automation
- Enhancing digital capabilities
- Pick-up and delivery service
- Multimedia driven communication
- Connected technologies
The overall goal, says Chadwick, is to efficiently get more vehicles through the service lane and create exceptional customer experiences. Marketing services must get involved as well. Digital communications and marketing synchronicity can translate to an average $110 increase per repair order. Having other capabilities like ridesharing solutions or pick-up and delivery can also give you a competitive advantage. In fact, 89% of consumers are willing to choose one dealer over another because of those features.
Speaking more generally about the service department, car dealers have been challenged for years with finding technicians and service advisors. Chadwick says that these career paths are great options for the younger generations joining the workforce. He adds that the industry will see a big transition from ICE vehicles to electric vehicles. However, dealerships will still need skilled service employees to oversee the customer journey.
In his opinion, today’s auto technicians will not lose their jobs due to the rise of EVs. Chadwick explains that the mechanic stereotype will change. The modern technician is equipped with technology and skills for the future, but car dealers need to start actively acknowledging the lack of technicians as a whole.
Over the next three to five years, Chadwick says that fixed ops directors and service department leaders need to get ahead and create teams within the dealership that are dedicated to EVs. COVID-19 has also made consumers reliant on technology more than ever before, and robust communication processes are vital. Without a consistent approach in place, consumers end up frustrated.
Spring and Summer holiday travel is fast approaching as well, and car owners are readying their vehicles for long trips. New tech tools help keep satisfaction and profits high during those peak demand times. Even though overall service department visits are down, the average revenue per repair order has increased over the last eight months. Travel season is a colossal opportunity for the service department, says Chadwick. It’s time for car dealers to invest in technology and create a better experience for their consumer base.
To learn more about how Xtime is helping car dealers maximize service department operations, request a demo today.
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