According to a 2020 study by CDK Global, 55% of consumers identified distrust as one of the main reasons for choosing aftermarket service providers over the dealership. What should come as no surprise to anyone, two overarching beliefs dominate their reasons for not trusting franchised service departments: they’re going to be upsold services they don’t need, and they won’t be kept properly informed during their visit.

Yet, dealerships are clearly the better-equipped choice for servicing including the ability to perform warranty work, OEM parts, and customer service options like a shuttle, loaners, and often pickup and drop-off services. Bridging the divide between customer expectations and the dealership’s demonstrated capabilities is the challenge.

Nearly three-quarters of car owners would consider returning to the dealership for service in the future according to CDK’s 2020 study if they can be assured they aren’t being taken advantage of. Video communication could be a solution, at least in part.

How video communication with service customers knocks down walls

Video communication seems to be one method where dealers are finding success in building back trust with consumers. Dealership DMS systems like CDK Global are making massive investments in this type of technology to “help build back trust with the 74% of customers who said they would consider returning to dealerships for service in the future”.

CDK has just launched ServiceView an integration with their DMS. Powered by TruVideo, it allows dealership staff to send videos by smartphone to the car owner through text messaging and allowing for two-way texting to review the video and either approve or decline the service. The integration also has a chat feature for internal communication between departments.

In the launch press release, CDK Global senior vice president Scott Thompson said, “CDK ServiceView is a great example of our continued investments in research and technology focused on helping dealers stay ahead of important retail trends. Our research shows that building trust is key to retaining customers and growing service businesses. Through our collaboration with a pioneer and industry leader in service video technology like TruVideo, we will improve the quality and frequency of communications between service departments and their customers and empower dealers to provide frictionless experiences that build trust through transparency.”

CDK isn’t the only provider with video messaging with DMS integration. Auto/Mate integrated text messaging tools into their DMS in September 2019 with Text2Drive and has since also integrated video messaging for service customers. The Text2Drive website states benefits including transparency increased repair order totals, and most importantly, it builds trust with customers.

It’s proven effective, and dealers are on board. North Park Lexus of San Antonio is using CDK’s TruVideo technology already. Service Director Dewayne Sanders says, “In today’s digital age, we see how impactful video is as a way to improve connections between people. Through this tool, we are taking the mystery out of vehicle service for our customers and better engage them in the process. This increase in transparency has already shown improvements with our customer relationships and increased our service business by 26%.”

Text2Video also claims fantastic ROI. On their website, they claim their integrations can help increase dollars per RO as much as $300, boost CSI scores by 35% in a year, and “increase return customers by up to 25%.

When customers’ top demand to consider returning to the dealership is more transparency and better communication, video communication appears to be a wrecking ball to break through the barrier. However, it needs to be used appropriately by everyone on the service team to be effective. When it is, it seems the service department stands to reap the rewards.

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