3 Ways to Leverage the Phone in Your Service Department to Mitigate COVID-19 Impact on Your Business

In the face of Coronavirus impacting businesses on a global level, leveraging tools you have available and adjusting your operational processes are necessary to capture and retain new revenue opportunities.

NADA is advocating to the government automotive sales and service as an essential service. In most states and cities, dealerships are still able to keep their service departments open. Customers still need their vehicles repaired, even during a crisis.

Creating a seamless customer experience for your service callers is more critical than ever for your business. With a few simple proactive adjustments to your phone routing and customer communication, you can capture more revenue from your service department.

Keep reading to learn three ways to leverage service calls to boost revenue and mitigate COVID-19 impact in your dealership.

1. Inspect routing to reflect operational changes and ensure every caller is connected

The most important thing during this time is making sure callers are connecting with someone who can help. Inspect your current call routing set up to ensure customers have the best chance of speaking with someone who can answer their questions and are staying informed on your service department's hours. Be sure your Google My Business hours are updated for callers to know the best time to call.

What is your customer's experience when trying to call your service department for an appointment? Make a few test calls on a couple lines at different times throughout the day.

  • Are you reaching a real person?
  • Are you hitting a voicemail?

Call around lunchtime. If you encounter a long hold time or end up in voicemail, make adjustments and stagger lunch schedules. If your Sales department is temporarily closed and you're short staffed, reach out to see if agents are available to help.

We know stores may be in different situations right now depending on your state/district/government laws. In How to Seamlessly Route Calls Amid the COVID-19 Crisis, learn the best routing solution for your unique scenario.

2. Apply the right techniques for scheduling service appointments

Once you're getting customers routed appropriately, focus on gaining commitment with a firm date and time for service appointments. Rather than encouraging walk-ins, staff members handling new service opportunities need to be intentional with setting firm appointments on the phone. This communicates to the customer your commitment to prioritizing their vehicle at their designated time and reduces any uncertainty amid this current environment.

Implement an appointment confirmation strategy with managers confirming service appointments each day. This builds confidence customers need right now and, consequently, increases the chances they show up.

Another benefit of an appointment-focused structure is better control of traffic volume. You're able to provide customers appropriate safety distances that waiting in line does not, ultimately making them more comfortable and reducing exposure to your staff and customers.

3. Set clear expectations to lessen customers' worries

Communicate. Communicate. Then over-communicate.

Customers are more conscious of safety in public spaces. Does your staff know what to say to instill confidence in the cleanliness of your dealership and communicate to your customers in response to COVID-19?

Provide customers continuous status updates and estimates throughout the process to ensure they feel comfortable and informed during this chaotic time. Frequent updates will not only make your customers feel assured their vehicle is being taken care of, but they'll also feel confident in the service you're providing, ultimately improving the customer experience. If you pick up and drop off vehicles for service, make status updates part of your process (i.e. Leaving the dealership with your vehicle and will deliver in approx. 15-30 min).

Do you utilize a texting platform? Texting is a convenient way to communicate status updates quickly with customers at the speed and convenience they've come to expect. If you don't have texting capabilities for your service department and need assistance there, reach out to us about options.

We suggest reducing friction in the servicing process by setting expectations to customers on the phone, and over-communicate updates to reinforce customer trust during this time.

You'll see the Service drive to the right of the big flag pole, pull right in and ask for Mike. A freshly sanitized loaner will be available for you. Your safety is a priority so be assured all our loaners have been cleaned and sanitized.

When your customers know exactly what to anticipate on arrival, you'll be able to help the customer more quickly, reduce any anxiety the customer may be feeling, and expedite the servicing process.

Update any phone scripts your team uses to include special measures you're doing in response to COVID-19. Whether there's a different process of how customers interact with advisors or extra sanitary precautions implemented, be sure your team is using this messaging in client communication.

Your service department's phone process is a vital piece of your business operation during this crisis. With the COVID-19 impacting sales, focus on leveraging the opportunities coming into your service department to capture revenue. We're working closely with dealers on simple updates to phone routing and customer experience. When you focus on these three areas, you'll ensure your phone is an asset in the coming weeks.

We are committed to doing everything possible to assist you. Reach out to the Car Wars Consulting team at 214-446-7867 to schedule a webinar for a detailed routing and process evaluation or for assistance implementing any adjustments or changes you need.

We will be engaged and learning alongside our dealer partners as the circumstances change. Tell us about market observations, your own best practices, or ways we can help you on the phone. We want to hear from you. Simply email content@carwars.com to get the conversation started.