We live in a world of instant gratification. Our time has been dreamed about for generations. Smart phones put most of the world’s knowledge right at our fingertips. E-Commerce makes shopping for almost anything simple and easy. Social media shrinks the world and gives us access to almost anyone, anytime we want, regardless of location.
The ease of access afforded by the virtual world has also forced brick and mortar businesses to become more accessible. 24/7 business hours are becoming less of an exception and more the rule. This trend is being felt in the dealership world as well.
Many sales departments often work late to close deals with buyers who can’t get to the dealership until later. Some dealer service departments have even gone so far as to start servicing customer vehicles overnight, while they sleep. This reinvention of customer service and accessibility demands consideration.
As you examine ways to meet customer expectations, let us take a closer look at overnight repair and what it could mean for your dealership, both the pros and the cons:
Economical Business Expansion – Real estate is expensive, and so is construction. But for a growing dealership, construction is typically the natural progression of things. However, similar results can be achieved by expanding the hours of operation instead of the dealership’s footprint. More shop space could mean more business during the day, but expanded hours might accomplish the same thing without the large expense.
Set Apart from the Competition – What better way to steal business from the competition, then to offer something they don’t? Offering to fix customer vehicles while they sleep sounds like an easy sales pitch, especially if others are not offering the same service.
More Time for Reconditioning – So what happens on nights when things just aren’t that busy? This is a great time to squeeze in a few used cars for reconditioning and spread out the workload.
Fleet and Commercial – For those commercially minded dealers, overnight service fits perfectly into the business model. Businesses that rely on their vehicles to make a living can lose upwards of $1000 per day for every day that vehicle is out of service. Imagine their delight if they could drop the vehicle off at night and pick it up first thing in the morning, ready to go to work, without missing a day of earnings.
Hire More Staff – As with any business expansion, there are expenses. One of the hardest parts of running an overnight service center is finding enough qualified technicians to handle the work load. You will need to staff two full shifts of technicians to work both day and night, and you will have to pay overtime for a service advisor to stick around until late for customers to drop off their vehicles.
Precise Planning – How often does a repair go off without a hitch? Oftentimes the root of the problem is unknown until the technician starts disassembly. Finding underlying issues, or fixing an incorrect diagnosis isn’t a huge issue when the customer is a phone call away for consultation, but it becomes a big problem when calling your customer will wake them from a blissful sleep in the middle of the night.
Running a successful overnight repair requires excellent diagnosis and precision planning so that the customer can rest assured that they can show up in the morning to the completed repair they expected. This includes making sure parts are available before parts vendors go home for the day.
Added Overhead – Along with the expenses of adding more staff to the payroll, there are other expenses too. Utilities such as HVAC and electricity, as well as peripheral services like security should be a consideration.