When you buy something online, checkout can take mere seconds. And chances are good that your credit card was saved from previous transactions, meaning you just have to click the checkout button and your order is submitted. At the grocery store, checkout takes maybe a few minutes—if you have to insert your card and wait for a receipt. So it comes as no surprise that customers expect this level of expediency in all transactions.
Not meeting these expectations can cause a lot of customer frustration, though. In fact, in our recent study, customers identified ‘speed of service’ as one of the primary reasons for not returning to a dealer for service. The paperwork and payment for vehicle service can take several minutes, if not longer. And that’s not accounting for backups or bottlenecks in the checkout process. What if a vehicle repair needs customer approval, but the Advisor hasn’t been able to contact the customer? Then the repair doesn’t start until the customer comes back, expecting their vehicle service to be completed. Obviously, this puts the dealership in an awkward position. So how can it be avoided?
The first step a dealership can take to speed up transaction times is to implement better, more efficient communication. Most dealerships use phones and email already, but few have taken the next logical step and started using SMS text messaging for customer communications. By adding text, dealerships can contact customers how they want to be contacted. Plus, texts have an incredibly high open rate—98% by some estimates—and are usually responded to within minutes. That means dealerships can get approvals for service while the vehicle is still up on the lift. Not only does this minimize downtime during that vehicle’s service, it cuts down customer wait time overall.
But text messaging doesn’t just streamline dealer-customer communication, it also makes for better internal communication. For example, sometimes a repair can get held up because of a missed call from the Service to the Parts Department. With more reliable internal communication, delays like this are far less likely to happen.
Faster, Smoother Bill Pay
The next step to speeding up transaction times is to go digital. The less paperwork the customer has to fill out, the faster they can get their vehicle. And dealers should get the bill in front of the customer faster—ideally, before their vehicle service is even complete. This can be accomplished with an email or text message containing a link to a secure payment portal. It’s even faster than paying in person. And if the customer can pay the bill before their vehicle is ready to go, then, once it’s finished, all they have to do is pick up the keys.
Get the Right Tools
The right tools can make service transactions so much faster. Have you ever tried cutting down a tree with a butter knife? The same is true in business, too. But by equipping your staff with digital tools to speed up your processes, it’s easier than ever to drive retention and loyalty to your store.
Director of Marketing Communications