Offering your service department customers interactive technology is an excellent way to increase your success as a business, but you have to make sure that you are meeting their expectations. This means that you have to keep up with the level of technology that is being offered by all other businesses and services, and not just competing dealerships.

Keeping Up with Technology

If you are thinking of creating an app for your service department customers, make sure that you know what you are getting into.

Car Dealership Technology

Other industries use apps too, and some of these apps from other types of businesses are pretty advanced. For example, there are pizza chains that have developed mobile apps that will allow their customers to monitor the progress of their pizzas as they are being made, boxed and delivered. So, if customers can expect this level of interaction when they order a $15 pizza, what will they expect when they are dealing with pricey car repairs?

To emphasize this point, Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive has stated:

"Other industries are shaping consumer expectations. You expect to be treated at a dealership the same way you're treated everyplace else. When your pizza is high-tech, we've got to get more high-tech when it comes to getting your car fixed."

The main point here is that you have to pick and choose carefully when it comes to technology. Yes, mobile apps are very cool and have been incredibly successful for some businesses. However, unless it would make sense to invest the kind of time and resources that it would take to stay on the edge of mobile app technology, your store may benefit more from offering technology in a different form.

Choosing the Right Technology

To successfully connect a mobile app with your service department, you should make it possible for the customer to view the work that is being performed on their vehicle in real time. Will customers actually use this? Some might, but it's safe to say that not all of them will. However, if the option is available, the app will have to work 24/7 for the customers who will take the time to check. And, when all is said and done, your money might be better spent on an alternate option.

  • Online Scheduling: It has been established that many customers appreciate having the ability to schedule service appointments and monitor repair progress online, but you have to make sure that your customers are aware that you offer this option. A recent J.D. Power Customer Service Index report has shown that out of 73% of respondents who reported phoning in for a service appointment, 41% said that they weren't aware that online appointments were available (when they were). So, if you offer online scheduling, make sure that this service is well-advertised.
  • Text Messages: Most Millennials (and many customers who belong to other generations) respond very favorably to text messages. With this technology, you can alert a customer about a scheduled service, remind them of appointments, keep them up-to-date with progress and let them know when their car is ready to be retrieved.
  • Phone Calls: Do phone calls count as technology? It depends on who your customers are. While many Baby Boomers are perfectly comfortable with communicating via text, some are not. In order to be a "chameleon" of customer service who is able to meet the needs of every type of client, all levels of technology must be available, even those that don't seem particularly advanced.

It is always advantageous to be on the lookout to improve upon your existing technology and to look for new ways to serve your customers. But you should never offer a version of technology that is below the standards of what customers expect. Whatever you are doing, you should do it incredibly well, better than everyone else if possible, and customers will show their appreciation with their loyalty.

Exceeding Your Own Expectations

What do your ideal customers look like? No matter what you have in mind, Auto Credit Express can help you get more of these customers into your showroom. We are the industry leader in sales leads because our leads are filtered, prepped and ready to buy. To find out how our customers can become your customers, and for information about all of our innovative dealer products, give us a call at (888)535-2277. Or, if you're short on time, you can just fill out our convenient contact form on our website.