Five Marketing Strategies to Increase Service Department Sales

service department

According to the National Automobiles Dealers Association, almost 50 percent of a dealer’s gross profits are generated by the service department. For many dealerships, service departments can be a significant revenue stream for dealerships—especially during a time where car purchases can be unstable. However, much like everything else, it’s all about messaging.

A Cox Automotive 2016 Maintenance and Repair Study revealed that 72 percent of car buyers opt to visit third-party mechanics after purchasing a car. Fortunately, there is a way to redirect these customers back to your dealership, and the right marketing tactics can make this happen.

Here are strategies your dealership team can use to improve your service-department marketing in the short and long-term: 

Make The Introduction During the Purchasing Process 

The first time customers hear about the dealership service department shouldn’t be in an email a few months after the purchase. Introducing customers to this team should be a part of the car buying process. Additional findings from the Cox Automotive 2016 Maintenance and Repair study showed that customers who are introduced to the service department during the purchasing process are 1.5 times more likely to visit them for repairs. So, don’t forget to include a visit to the service department in the purchasing process. 

Use the Data

From surveys to IHS Markit’s data, there is much information out there that can help you conduct analysis-based marketing to determine what customers want. You want to identify customers who are the readiest to buy. Therefore, you need external information about their buying habits and demographics, and internal information like when they last received a repair or routine servicing. The more you know, the more you can tailor messaging to resonate with your targeted audience. 

Use SEO and Voice Search to Your Advantage

service department

When it comes to local search, voice search is becoming a crucial method for customers to find services near them. Many consumers use their phones, and home-based voice-activated speaker devices to search for products and services using their voice. This development means that you have to organize your service page in a way that allows search engine algorithms to search your website based on voice. This strategy may mean including common service department-related questions as headings or selecting highly-searched and relevant focus keywords throughout your service page. The goal is to provide relevant content that answers your prospective customer’s inquiries. 

Don’t Forget About Video

Video has become a popular marketing tactic, and for a good reason. With YouTube being the second largest search engine, it makes sense that more marketers are putting their focus on video. Today, customers want to see videos from brands that they interact with, and service departments have an excellent opportunity to use video to build trust with potential customers. You can encourage service department professionals to show customers how they work, livestream their repairs to explain parts of the service appointment or allow customers to ask questions. 

Differentiate Yourself on Customer Experience

One of the primary reasons customers are going to third-party mechanics is price and customer service. These are the two main differentiators. While you may not be able to budge as much on the former, you can play up the latter. Whether it’s the fact that you explain each part of the repair, show transparency in pricing, or pick up and deliver vehicles right from the customer’s home. Talk about the differences between yourself and the competition and drive home that while customers may be paying more, they are paying for exceptional customer experiences. 

The Goal is to Answer Their Most Pertinent Questions

More than any other time, even a car repair brings with it an uncertainty to most customers. How will the process happen? What can customers expect? What kind of experience will they have? These are questions that you want your marketing strategy to address.

For every social media post or email newsletter, all content should answer these questions and strengthen the trust with customers. The COVID-19 pandemic offers dealerships and service departments the opportunity to redefine the car buying and repair experience. If transparency and building trust are the guiding principles, then it’s a matter of time before your dealership service department resonates with local customers.

Did you enjoy this article from Chanell Turner? Read other articles from her here.

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