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How to save your customers time at the dealership without compromising relationships

A customer's time is worth so much that many car dealerships have expanded their "time-saving" options to increase sales and service.

In 2019, McKinsey said, “The automotive customer experience can often feel outdated and inferior, especially for younger customers, who seem to be losing interest in car ownership and prefer more convenient and flexible mobility options such as ridesharing which might lead to totally new mobility concepts.”

Most dealership leadership would agree that a customer’s time is a valuable asset and should be treated as such. A customer’s time is worth so much that many businesses have started offering “time-saving” options to increase sales. Over the past two years, dealerships have been forced, for example, to rediscover the benefit of pick-up and drop-off services.

In the automotive industry, time is valuable to customers for many different reasons. It could be because they have someplace else to be, or they don’t enjoy being at the dealership any longer than they must. The more time you save the customer, the more likely they will come back to your dealership for future sales or service.

digital retailingDigital tools benefit consumers and dealerships

In a 2021 Service Industry Study, Cox Automotive once again stated that consumers spend about 15 hours buying a new car but as much as 50 hours having it serviced during the time of ownership.

With more time spent dealing with service, dealerships are working to assist the customer in reclaiming that time. And the dealerships employing digital features like the ability to approve repair estimates online and giving customers access to their vehicle service history are seeing up to a 91% satisfaction rate with customers.

It’s clear that customers like service pick-up and delivery, ridesharing, progress tracking, online cost estimates, mobile check-in, and other digital services. These are expected in every retail experience the customer has. So, it’s evident that dealerships benefit from meeting consumer demand for a more digital service experience.

Related: Why this Vermont car dealership decided to drop remote service delivery

Suppose you’re unsure where to begin digital implementation. In that case, companies like Dealerware and Xtime have turnkey systems for loaner car programs and service scheduling, so you don’t have to do the set-up work independently.

Successful dealerships are customer-first

Car buying and service should have never been a dealership’s first experience, but it was. However, top dealerships that have a customer-focused operation are making a move to have the digital experience that consumers have had in their lives for decades. Cox said that “Nearly all top-performing dealers surveyed (99%) agree that improving consumer experience is an important focus moving forward.” It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it?

If you’re wondering how to save the customer time in an automotive dealership without sacrificing any of their valuable time, here are a few options that will help accomplish this goal:

  • Allow the customer to text you.
  • Offer a pick-up and drop-off option for the customer’s car, or at least a loaner car while their vehicle is being serviced.
  • Set up an appointment system for routine service rather than the walk-in system typically used.
  • Provide online viewing and approval of estimates.
  • Have a 24/7 system for customer communication.

All these options will help save the customer time and increase your dealership revenue simultaneously. Your dealership can get everything you want if you help enough customers get what they want.

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Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He earned bachelor's degrees in Marketing and Television from the University of Texas in Austin and a Masters of Theology study from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas. His passion for automobiles lead him to become a creative director for automotive marketing ad agency. Most recently, he was the manager of interactive marketing for Mitsubishi Motors, NA.

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