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9 Ways the Right Dealer CRM Can Revolutionize Your Service Department

Posted on September 17, 2015 by Car Research

Dealer CRM

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The service department often has the highest margins of any other area in a car dealership, if it is allowed to reach its full potential. In order to make the most out of your service department, you have to be proactive and use every opportunity possible to recommend premium accessories, parts and services to your customers, while also keeping the service department as busy as possible.

With the right dealer CRM software, you can take full control over every aspect of the service department, streamlining your business and marketing efforts. This will increase the department’s profit margins, which contribute up to 14 percent of the earnings to the average dealership, according to the NADA.

Here are just a few of the things a dealer CRM can do for your dealership:


#1  Employ Multiple Methods to Communicate with Customers

Using the combined data of the sales and the service department, your dealer CRM software can keep a more complete profile of each customer, allowing you to maintain contact after every sales or service visit, and to keep that customer coming back for sales and service.

For the best results in today’s high-tech environment, you must use a combination of the following marketing channels:

  • Phone
  • Direct Mail
  • Email
  • Website
  • Social Media

With the proper CRM software, you can easily keep track of all your customer’s information, making marketing and customer retention much less complex.


#2  Send Automatic Service Notices

Customers rarely memorize the maintenance schedules of their vehicles, and with ever-busier schedules, they can often forget when important maintenance is due. By contacting each customer ahead of time and sending gentle reminders, you can increase the chance that they will have the work done at your shop, and perhaps invest in a few premium services as well.

Your dealer CRM software can use your customer’s sales and service history to automate the notification process, and help your service personnel market appropriate premium services.


#3  Advertise Service Promotions and Discounts

Some customers are harder to get through the door than others when it comes to regular maintenance. For those, service specials may help, such as discounted oil changes or free tire rotation.

A good CRM package can help you determine which customers are most likely to respond to such offers, and help you organize the promotion and follow through with the marketing. Once the customers are through the door, you have an opportunity to offer them upgraded products or additional services.


#4 Maintain a Thorough Customer Profile

In order to maximize your profits, you have to be able to know what your customers want and when they want it. This starts by developing a complete profile of each customer, which should ideally contain the following information:

  • Make and model of cars purchased at your dealership and elsewhere
  • Service history of each vehicle
  • Employer
  • Income level
  • Credit score
  • Phone numbers
  • Physical address
  • Email address
  • Social media account information
  • Hobbies and interests

This information can be used to more carefully target email, social networking and direct marketing efforts, with the help the CRM software to collect, organize and act upon the information. Additionally, this helps to increase your marketing opportunities at every service visit.


#5  Track Required, Recommended and Declined Services

Using the customer profile provided by the CRM software, your personnel can track which services a customer has previously accepted, which are currently required or recommended, and which have been previously declined. Using this information, your employees can determine what optional services the customer may be interested in and which ones have been previously declined, without seeming pushy or overly eager to complete a sale.


#6  Automatically Suggest Sales Opportunities

When using the CRM software in your service department, it will help you to maximize profits by suggesting possible sales opportunities to your employees at each transaction. These could be simple things like wiper blades, or high-profit items like security systems or manufacturer-supplied vehicle upgrades. It helps your employees offer things they might not have thought to offer a customer on their own, which could result in a few extra sales every week, or even every day.


#7  Schedule Service Intelligently

An empty department does not make much money, and an unnecessarily crowded service department can irritate customers when their repairs are delayed. Using dealer CRM software, you can spread your regular maintenance appointments out evenly over time, and carefully schedule promotions in a staggered fashion, ensuring that your shop is neither empty nor overly-busy on any given day. This can help you to better project what your required staffing levels will be, keep your employees happier with consistent scheduling and reduce your overtime costs because service volume will be far more predictable.


#8  Schedule Appointments Online

Some CRM packages offer online scheduling of service appointments for their customers. This can make it much easier for customers to find an appointment that fits their schedule, reduces the amount of time your employees spend on the phone and helps to coordinate appointments from multiple sources, making your service department run smoother.


#9  Advanced Reporting on All Aspects of the Service Department

With advanced dealer CRM, you can easily examine every aspect of your service department’s performance with a collection of real-time analytical tools, alerts and reports. Some of the most useful information presented includes:

  • Real-time tracking of open repair orders
  • Parts labor estimates of open repair orders
  • Loaner or rental car requests and status
  • Inspection status
  • Special parts order status
  • Repair time estimates and status
  • Shop loading reports
  • Completed repair order status
  • Sales opportunity alerts
  • Declined and recommended service alerts
  • Sales figures
  • Trend reporting and forecasting

With all of this information easily accessible, you can quickly determine the areas in which your service center excels, and where it may need improvement. When combined with your customer profiles, you can also fine-tune your marketing efforts to attract more sales.

In today’s competitive market, a good dealer CRM gives you the advanced technology and the analytical tools you need to effectively manage all aspects of your business, acquire and retain valuable customers and improve your marketing program to increase your bottom line. One deployed, it will help your business operate smoother and more effectively than it ever has, and the basic training requirements are minimal for modern CRM software.

MetaDescription: Dealer CRM software, such as the CAR-Research XRM system, can help streamline your service department’s operation and increase its profit margins.

G+: Dealer CRM offers a number of distinct advantages to any dealership’s service department. It can make service operations more efficient, improve marketing efforts, increase customer retention, improve customer satisfaction and, most importantly, increase profits. Packages like CAR-Research XRM are easy integrate into your current operations and require very little training, compared to other systems.

Bio: David S. is a freelance writer from Far West Texas, where the Milky Way shines bright in the night sky and the only noises are from coyotes, birds and insects.