Many dealerships today are continuing to market to a business and profitability model that lies in the past. Research from NADA has found that the average fixed operations department at a dealership provides approximately 50 percent of their dealership’s gross profits. At the same time, the average dealership focuses less than 10 percent of their marketing efforts to fixed ops. The answer, according to Jay Harper writing for Dealer Marketing Magazine, it that it’s probably time to bump up your marketing of your service department.
So how do you build a good marketing foundation for your service department? Harper recommends several tactics.
Ensure your data is up to date. If your CRM is less than robust, it’s time for an overhaul. You can’t market properly to customers whose needs you don’t understand. To build a robust marketing plan for your service department, embark on a CRM clean up, ensuring that names, emails, phone numbers, home addresses are up to date and remain that way.
Understand what customers are looking for. Are you offering services for vehicles from decades ago? It might be time to alter the services you provide.
“Just as important as knowing your existing base, however, is knowing the larger market and what new revenue opportunities are out there,” wrote Harper. “Customers won’t drive far for service when they’re looking for speed and cost efficiency, so knowing who to target in your backyard makes a huge difference.
Be proactive in introducing customers to your service. Rather than waiting x amount of time and sending a generic oil change offer to a new vehicle customer, begin selling your service department when you sell the vehicle.
“When a deal is completed in your dealership, introduce the customer to the service drive,” wrote Harper. “Have an advisor greet them and schedule their first regular maintenance appointment to establish that relationship moving forward, greatly boosting your chances of retaining that customer for as long as they’re in that vehicle.”
Leverage social media. Like it or not, it’s the way vehicle owners do a lot of their research on vehicle purchases and service. Ensure your social media accounts are well maintained, properly targeted, personalized and timely with offers and advice.