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Get more cars through the service lane and max out shop capacity

Welcome to the latest edition of Dealer Forward, an ongoing video series that focuses on the solutions and strategies car dealers are using to overcome various challenges in the industry. This episode tackles how you can get more cars through the service lane faster and amplify your shop capacity.

Today, Tiffani Stefanescu, Manager of Client Performance with Xtime, is joined by Fixed Ops Director Tully Williams of The Niello Company to discuss some of the processes Tully has implemented at his dealership to fill 136% of his available capacity.

According to the most recent Cox Automotive review of Xtime analysis, service activity and revenue declined at US franchised dealerships in June after 11 months of gains. The Repair Order Revenue Index fell over the month, but is still up year-over-year. The Repair Order Volume Index, meanwhile, decreased both over the course of a year and a month.

According to dealers, repair volume is currently booked at an all-time high. Now is the time to focus on efficiency and utilizing your spaces for this work.

Have you been looking for ways to be more efficient? You may want to take a closer look at your processes. For example, are they easy to use and schedule? Are your services effective?

After the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses took a close look at their processes and services. As a result, they could make changes that improved customer satisfaction and employee morale.

Tully says one of the most important aspects of efficiency is the customer check-in experience. Businesses can keep customers coming back by streamlining this process and making it more efficient.

Another key to efficiency is creating good reports that customers can use to make informed decisions about their vehicle repairs. By taking the time to create detailed and accurate reports, businesses can save time and money in the long run.

99% of top-performing dealers agree that improving customer experience is a key focus. But what tools can create the experience customers want while also improving your team’s performance and efficiency? Address the check-in process first. Get customers checked in and say, “Can I get your phone number to text you while this process is going on? So we can keep in communication?” Customers don’t want to call on the phone, but they will answer a text.

Next, if an issue needs to be addressed, take a video of the underneath of the car and pictures and video of every red and yellow concern. Then, give the customers proof of what they need and why they need it today. Build confidence with your customer base. Send customers these reports, let them communicate what they want to address and fix, and then you can send them the bill for them to pay online. Offer a survey afterward to get feedback. Customers approve 49% of additional recommendations with supporting videos and photos within 30 minutes.

Inventory shortages on the service side may be an opportunity to bring together the service and sales sides. Customers can be asked if they are interested in a free appraisal. If repairs are needed, the customer can be asked if they have considered trading it in. This has the potential to generate revenue on the service side and sales side.

According to Williams, a preowned vehicle with a VSC extended warranty contract with maintenance and a service agreement from your dealership is the best inventory to have right now. You have all the records and the information to provide the customers.

If you want your service and sales team to get along, you must ensure they use the same operating system. Unfortunately, most people don’t fully utilize their systems, so check and ensure you’re using the check-in process, tech inspection, and sending a quote 100% of the time. This will improve profitability and efficiency.

Did you enjoy this episode of Dealer Forward with Tiffani Stefanescu and Tully Williams? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by connecting with us at

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For over 10 years, CBT News has been informing and helping automotive retail professionals grow their businesses and thrive in their careers through an awarding-winning, on-demand streaming platform. With exclusive interviews featuring the biggest names in the industry, daily newscasts, up-to-date market data, and exclusive articles covering the latest trends, CBT News is your #1 source for auto industry news and content.

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