Fixed Ops Should be More Like Amazon

Part One: Customer Communication

By: Alex Haab, Product Marketing Manager

Automotive dealers experienced record-breaking sales month after month in 2016, which resulted in high expectations in the beginning of 2017. Unfortunately, sales have slowed and the industry is heading towards its sixth consecutive monthly drop in sales. This isn’t the best news for Front End business at today’s new and used car dealerships. To make up for lost profits, dealers look to Fixed Operations to generate additional revenue. Despite the ongoing need for these departments, most dealerships have previously neglected that part of the revenue stream. Now, when dealerships need it the most, these Fixed Ops processes need updating to maximize revenue generation.

Trust is a major factor in this shift towards free standing service centers.

As car dealers depend more and more on their dealership Service Drives, customers spend more and more money at independent service centers – not at dealerships. Trust is a major factor in this shift towards free- standing service centers. Customers perceive that servicing their cars at dealerships may take longer, and/or cost more.

One may look to the Amazon business model as a prime example of ample communication.

So what can today’s auto dealers do to change this way of thinking? Focus on how a dealership communicates with its service customers. Most consumers today have gotten used to constant communication from the businesses they are purchasing goods or services from.

One may look to the Amazon business model as a prime example of ample communication. After purchasing an item from Amazon, shoppers receive a confirmation email, and then a shipment email with the ability to track packages all the way to their destination. Finally, customers receive a text or email when their packages arrives. This stream of updates creates trust and transparency between Amazon and its customers. Moreover, it has created a new standard for what consumers expect in the market place. Taking a page from the “Amazon book on customer communication” will drive repeat customers to your dealership.

Your dealership’s Service Drive can communicate like Amazon by:

  • Keeping customers updated on when the shuttle will be there to pick them up via text or email
  • Sending automated alerts to customers as vehicle service progresses
  • Sending instant alerts to let customers know that their vehicles are ready for pickup

It’s time to evaluate your automotive Fixed Ops processes to ensure your dealership is poised for profitability. First and foremost, you must evaluate your automotive DMS. At the center of a dealership, the DMS is the starting point for all processes, including communication. Take the time to think, “Does this DMS hinder or help these fixed ops processes?

Make sure your dealership has an auto DMS that makes your car dealership more like Amazon and creates a constant flow of communication. Create trust and use an automotive DMS as the core of your dealership’s fixed ops business process. Check back for our next blog in this series, focusing on making your auto dealership’s payment options more like Amazon.

For more information about Dominion DMS, call 877-421-1040.

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