By Juliet Guerra, NADA Director of Media Relations
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, dealership service departments have been deemed essential businesses and have remained open nationwide. While the pandemic may be plateauing in certain parts of the country, dealership fixed operations will need to adapt to the new realities of auto servicing in the age of COVID-19.
NADA hosted a webinar, Proven Fixed Ops Strategies During COVID-19, offering members insights and best practices to keep their dealership service bays busy by sharing the right messaging with customers through the best channels. Presented by NADA Academy Instructor Larry Hourcle and Digital Air Strike COO Erica Sietsma and moderated by Digital Air Strike Director of Industry Relations Eliana Raggio, the webinar discussed a variety of tools including Google My Business listings and paid advertising to service schedulers, as well as video and texting strategies that can boost engagement for dealership service departments.
“Dealers should be marketing the service departments through digital communication sources,” Hourcle said. “The information that is provided on all media venues needs to be consistent, relevant and current.”
One key piece of advice: “Keep your dealership’s Google My Business page updated with new hours and specials and use the Google tiles/posts feature to highlight your COVID-19 response, including safety measures, white glove service, pick up and drop off, etc.,” Raggio said. “It’s FREE and more than 50% of online searchers will stop on a dealership Google My Business page [if they think you aren’t open] and never make it to your dealership website.”
Webinar speakers also highlighted the importance of special promotions in the fixed operation department. “The number one reason shoppers and service customers do not choose a dealership is because they have no specials,” added Raggio. “Make some specials and post about them – on social media, on your website, and on your Google My Business page.”
The webinar also encouraged dealers with slower service departments to take the opportunity to audit their businesses from the consumer perspective and focus on the repairs and processes needed to make their departments more attractive and accommodating.
“The retail automotive industry is very resilient,” added Hourcle. “Even though customers are not driving as much right now, vehicles will still need to be serviced, possibly at an even higher rate.”
A recording of the webinar is now available to NADA members here.
Note: NADA’s webinar is offered to assist its dealer members in the operation of their dealerships and for general informational purposes only. Each dealer must seek their own legal counsel and make their own independent business decisions and work with their attorneys to ensure social media posts and advertising comply with state and federal consumer protection laws. Before attempting to sell vehicles online, dealers must consult with their attorney or state/metro dealer association or licensing authority to better understand the requirement in their state. The presentation of this information is not intended to constitute legal advice nor encourage concerted action among competitors or any other action on the part of dealers that would in any manner fix or stabilize the price or any element of the price of any good or service.