by Christina Wofford
January 26, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more families to take road trips while more daily commuters are driving their own cars instead of taking public transportation.
The average age of a car in the U.S. has risen to 12 years as more people prolong new vehicle purchases. They’re prolonging their car purchase because they’re driving less and due to inventory shortages, they can’t get the car they want.
All these factors mean more people need service for their vehicles. When you win a service customer, you will likely capture a future buyer since 74% of customers who had a good service experience are likely to return to the dealership for a purchase. Make sure your customers keep coming back.
Here are four proven strategies top dealers are using to get more service customers, increase profits, and generate trade-ins and sales:
- Your data is a gold mine. Your CRM and DMS provide a wealth of insights to generate new service opportunities. You can focus on information such as the date of vehicle purchase, warranty expiration, lease end dates, or change-in-life events. Develop segmented audiences for your lead generation campaigns and consider the right marketing platform to reach each audience effectively. You can choose to advertise on streaming channels, social media, display networks, or search.
- Text your offers. If you want your service offers noticed immediately, send them by text message. Consumers read 98% of text messages within three minutes. Including eye-catching images, videos, and GIFs in your text messages is an effective strategy to generate engagement. Remember, targeted consumers will value your marketing messages more if they are simple and easy to understand.
- Highlight your service department on Google. Showcase your service experience on Google by creating a separate Google My Business profile for your service department. A different profile is an effective way to highlight your service hours, specials, valet service, and your five-star reviews. The profile also complements your messaging about new sales, buybacks, and trade-ins. Just make sure to keep these GMB profiles up to date.
- Make it easy to schedule appointments. Customers should have multiple options to set service appointments when convenient for them, even when your dealership is closed. A simple AI-powered chatbot on your website integrated with your service scheduler makes scheduling appointments easy for customers and your dealership. Include information in the chat messaging that gives customers a clear understanding of the next steps. AI chat messaging is a great way to engage your customers 24/7, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Along with these four strategies, you should also communicate your differentiators and the value of a consumer’s ownership experience. Have your sales, F&I, and service advisors aligned with offers like lifetime powertrain coverage, free oil changes, and complimentary car washes.
BONUS TIP: As hiring and recruiting at your dealership may be a struggle, it’s important to use similar tactics you use to find customers to recruit applicants. Post your open positions on social media and on Google. Highlight not only the jobs you’re trying to fill but the benefits of working at your dealership. Just as consumer reviews are important, so are employee reviews. Monitor your reputation as an employer and respond to reviews on career site Glassdoor.
As the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Christina Wofford brings more than two decades of experience in journalism, marketing, communications, and public relations to Digital Air Strike. Christina is responsible for all marketing and lead generation efforts, including earned media and event planning.