Level Up Your Fixed Ops by David Sharma

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David Sharma, founder, Dealer InLine Photo: David Sharma

Go to the next tier for service ideas. 

Are your customers comfortable coming in to service? Or in any of your departments? The best way to let them know you’re taking all the right steps and observing public health and safety protocols starts with your website.

That could be a video about how you’re sanitizing and disinfecting throughout the store, like service, parts and accessories, tires, and so on. Make a statement and provide an outline of how you’re doing business in the “new normal.” Is it parts pick-up on the street? Is it pre-order and delivery to their house? What are the changes, the key conveniences for the customer?

Right now, everyone needs to try a little harder. Everyone needs to be at a luxury brand mindset. Some dealers provide kiosks, where customers can leave their keys, or pick up their keys, and access their invoice. A company called Storm is on point and has all the pieces to it, so it alleviates meeting face to face.

Next tier        

Or you can have a service and parts notification system created especially for you. A customer can go into the system, text a certain number and everything is fed to them. When the customer arrives in the service drive through, or a parts designated area, someone will bring them the parts. Or, someone will know the customer is checking in their car.

If you don’t know what to do, go to the next tier. If you’re a Honda dealer, go to a couple of Lexus stores. If you’re a Lexus store, go to a Maserati or Bentley store. If you’re a Maserati or Bentley store, go to a high-end clothing store or Sotheby’s. Just keep climbing the ladder until you can find the epitomy of customer service. And then secret shop them thoroughly, see what they’re doing.

Technology has accelerated much more in fixed than it did in sales. Canadians may not be ready for sales technology programs. Many of the digital retailing tools like Roadster, Tagrail, Motoinsight, may work, but don’t necessarily generate an ROI.

But you can still use technology to help you. Offer your customers options. Let the customers check themselves in. Let them fill out what’s wrong with their vehicle. Let the customer pay for it in their way and means. Don’t waste two minutes of a service advisor’s time to process a payment that could be facilitated online and also exists in the sales process.

Real entrepreneurs 

It could well be that not everyone wants to do it online. But if you capture 50 of them who do, you just saved one minute by – how many ROs do you have in a day? If a normal dealer operates at about 100-150 ROs, that’s upwards of 2 hours daily for one department. What could we improve with 2 hours daily/per department?

So dealers should definitely be investigating a texting or payment services like Kimoby. All the CRMs and DMS tools have similar functions, but Kimoby is one of the more progressive ones.

The last seven to eight months have shown who the real entrepreneurs are. They’re doing mat washes, they’re picking up their customer’s cars, they’re the ones bending the rules. Every dealer has a 1.5 opportunity to lose a customer. It applies to sales, but probably applies to service as well. It’s a proven J. D. Power statistic, and it’s truer today more than ever.

David Sharma is the founder of Dealer InLine, a company that provides full service online development and management for automotive dealerships by creating and implementing innovative online approaches that align with dealerships brand, goals and targeted sales strategies. The company delivers the most current and effective methods to enhance all avenues in which a dealer engages consumers online and in-store.  


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