How to enhance service department efficiency and gain more market share – Jade Terreberry | Mike Boyd

On today’s Power Lunch, we’ll spend some time discussing efficiencies within the dealership service department. Joining us in the studio are Jade Terreberry, Senior Director of Business Development at Cox Automotive, and Mike Boyd, Founder of vAuto’s iRecon.

Disruption is the catalyst for change and the driver of opportunity in the car business, says Terreberry. However, disruption also changes the entire dynamic of the market. As pent-up demand continues to unleash, car dealers have the potential to earn big dollars. So it is crucial to gain market share and find efficiencies that drive improvement. To help their dealer partners gain more market share, Kelley Blue Book is thinking through opportunities for dealers to understand how to use their dollars better, especially in the dealership service department.

In the current market climate, the amount of reconditioning done on pre-owned vehicles has declined, which makes sense when customers are abundant, and inventory is short, adds Boyd. Price is no longer driving activity; access is. Boyd believes this will affect brand loyalty and the dealership’s brand. Consumers who buy cars from your dealership have to get service from somewhere. Are they going to come back and shop from you?

Over 70% of consumers say that they are taking most of their steps to purchase or service online, explains Terreberry. Car buyers don’t intend to return to the way it was before, but trust is the number one factor. Consumers are demanding transparency on all fronts now. They want to ensure they are paying a fair price and that market share is up for grabs for anybody willing to meet consumers where they want to be. Offer the experience via channels where customers search to make that all-important connection.

To acquire new service customers and their lifetime value, Boyd says car dealers must understand what clients want. When you sell a car to a customer, explain what your dealership has to offer overall. Take the extra step and introduce them to the dealership service department. Try to be as clear and transparent as possible, so customers know what to expect when they return.

There’s a war on talent across the board. Retention of your key people is vital. The market requires car dealers to get inventive. Service customers will not wait to go on Summer vacation because your service department is backed up. They will find an available service drive, and if the experience is exceptional, they will be loyal customers. Car dealers have to keep those customers attached to the store, and it doesn’t necessarily mean spending more dollars. You don’t have to pay more than 5-10% of your marketing budget on the service department and fixed operations. However, you have to spend it in the right places, says Terreberry.

Boyd adds that qualified auto technicians are attracted to higher salaries and better benefits. It’s not necessarily about pushing employees harder. It’s about working with them to understand how they can perform at a higher level. It comes down to the total compensation package, quality of life, and leveraging technology to increase efficiency.

Terreberry further recommends that car dealers get back to the basics and put on their running shoes. Be aware and understand market share opportunities. There are too many macroeconomic forces at play to sit back and wait to see what happens.

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