I’m Chris Collins and this is Christian Lafferty and before we get started with our list, let’s talk about the news!
Auto News Update #1: Solar Powered Vehicles
Christian starts off by telling us the news, he announces,
“We’ve got some good news. This was fascinating to me, there’s this article called This Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle Never Needs to Be Charged.
To our surprise, there’s a company called Aptera Motors. They’re out of California and they have developed a three wheel vehicle that runs off of solar power.”
The average driver in the United States drives 29 miles a day. Moreover, the average supply that a solar power car can accept is 40 miles a day, therefore, you never have to charge it. It’s actually a really cool looking car and it looks like a Jetsons type of vehicle.
A self-sufficient vehicle is pretty interesting stuff!
My only questions are:
What happens when you go from gas or diesel to electric and then from electric to solar power? Which is another form of electric.
What are we gonna do to keep technicians busy?
Christian started talking about how maybe the insides, technology, or maybe solar panel replacement/repaired every once in a while.
I’m gonna tell you how we’re gonna keep them busy…
Tires and Alignments.
The funny part is that tires will always be an issue, nobody has figured out a way to fix potholes, potholes are still a thing!
Auto News Update #2: At Home Tire Installation
Our second piece of news is something we’ve actually gotten into with other people within our industry. Therefore, it is important for us to recognize that this type of service is out there.
Basically there’s franchises out there that are selling the vans that are selling the vans that have the equipment on them to do tires anywhere. They’re going to people to do the tires, which just shows us that they can sustain that without an alignment rack.
These companies are just making a living on tires and the true question is, Should we get in the tire business? I know with a lot of our trucking clients that aren’t in the tire business, now is the time and they’re missing a huge opportunity.
This is because the industry’s changing and if we’re not doing tires and alignments we end up letting a good chunk of retention and money go out the door.
That’s kind of what comes out of this.
Christian read this thing that we highlighted was it says,
“A growth of mobile tire installation services poses a dilemma for fixed ops directors. Do they seed the market to a growing number of already established mobile tire installers or make expensive investments in vehicle staff and equipment to compete in a low margin service sector?”
Moving on to our topic of how to perfect our system of our dealership valet services…
Let me set this up, Christian came up with this list and when Christian was a Service Director, he was really good at a couple of things.
First of all, for the brand, he had the highest customer pay sales per ticket. The factory literally came in and tried to figure out what Christian was doing and didn’t ask the right questions.
This is because they always think it’s something different than the systems in play.
They should have focused on the very cutting edge in his thought processes of going to the customer after speaking and not waiting for it. If you think about the brand Infinity there weren’t a ton of Infinities in the marketplace. Therefore, he had this mindset of going after his goal.
If you have high sales per ticket, at some point if you want to do more, you’re gonna have to figure out how to get more vehicles or more ROS. If you hit the point of diminishing return with your closing ratios and all of that. So he’s very progressive in your thinking and one of the things that Christian took on was Valeting customer’s cars.
Christian then builds upon his experience with dealership valet and said,
“I would say that launching the system was probably one of the best things for our business in terms of really the reach. When you think about it, this was in the Chicagoland area and there were seven Infiniti dealers in the area and the one thing was that we didn’t want an excuse for someone not to come to us because there was an Infiniti dealer just down the road.
We fixed that by saying, you don’t have to go down the road and the reality of our industry is that most people would rather go to the dentist than come for their car service. It was really an opportunity to differentiate ourselves and give a different product. The thing that I think was so amazing was that we didn’t expect, the first was that our repair order value was higher on valet services than on traditional customers that came in.”
Think about that for a second. The average sale on a customer that you Valet is higher than on a customer that drove in. So as a reminder, don’t let that get lost in this.
Christian believes that this is probably one of the biggest misconceptions because people think it costs too much money to do A or B. But the act of providing a dealership valet service is always so much better.
Christian has got it down to essentially thinking about how to get Service Advisors to be the best possible advisors they can be when promoting dealership valet services.
Moving onto Christian’s list of how he provided dealership valet services:
1) You’ve gotta appropriately market this thing that it’s a service that you have available.
If you’re not telling your customers that you have dealership valet service available, then you’re gonna think that no one wants to valet their cars.
So there’s a little bit of an outreach that has to happen and then setting the table for the ins and outs.
Chris and I were talking about this previously. Do not limit yourself in how far you would go to pick up a car, do not look at it as the one off, look at it as the long game.
One of the stores that was part of our coaching program would go out of state to pick up cars.
Essentially these dealers would go to all the neighboring states. Think about that, like that they’re so progressive that they would go anywhere to basically pick up a vehicle.
Next on our list for providing dealership valet service is:
2) The 24 hour confirmation call
This is the actual time to set the frame. We believe the big thing is when you think about valet service in itself, what we’ve seen is that it can be done wrong. It can go sideways.
When you’re doing this 24 hour confirmation appointment, the window that you’re going to pick up the vehicle is the most important thing.
It is very important that the Service Advisor has to own this process of providing dealership valet services. the valet. The reason why we’re calling this ‘training your service advisors to valet’ is not that the service advisors are driving out to pick up the vehicle, it’s that the Service Advisors are owning the process.
With that being said, you will find on your Service Drive that you’ll have champions that are great at the dealership valet service.
Part of this whole deal is if you have a system and a process and you do the same thing every time, all the way through every time you do a valet, your advisors get really good at it.
Ensuring that they have total ownership of the valet service from start to finish and that your service advisor’s communication skills are perfected is crucial to the success of doing this.
Next on our list of how to provide dealership valet service:
3) “We are on our way” call
This is done strictly by the advisor and this is the part where the Service Advisor picks up the ball and runs with it. The main thing is that the Service Advisor is the main point of communication.
The valet driver is there to do two things:
-One is just to pick up the vehicle and drop off a loaner car the way that we usually did it.
-Then the second thing is you would want a valet to do some sort of a walk around in front of the customer.
It makes it look really professional and to the customer, it says that we’ve got a system.
The first is you want to connect with the customer on a deeper level because you don’t have them sitting in front of you. It’s harder to connect when you’re just doing it verbally versus having a customer sit in front of you.
That’s a whole reason why the right Service Advisor is so important when offering dealership valet service. It’s that person that can pick up the phone and they can call anybody to make a conversation happen.
The really important thing on this call is that we establish contact times.
The next step of the dealership valet service is:
4) “Your car is here” text
The thing we gotta understand is you’re telling the customer that,
“Hey, when I get your car, it’s gonna go in the shop.”
You’re gonna hear from me at 11:00 and when they get contacted at 9:30, they’re getting a text that they didn’t expect. So just understand the psychology here, it really puts them at ease because these updates alleviate their stress.
This text is just a form of communication that is unexpected and surprises the customers.
It worked out really well for us because the valet car always took priority in the shop. If you had too many valet cars go carryovers and you got loaners out longer, it could mess up the whole system.
Next on the list of issuing dealership valet service:
5) MPI Call – Status Update
What Christian would do is if he’s at his 11:00 contact time, that was discussed during the ‘our way call’ he’s gonna call, email, or text saying,
“Hey, I’ve got your inspection completed and your diagnosis completed on the vehicle. I want to go over that information with you.”
Back in the old days all you would do and if you’re still doing paper inspections, it’s the same way is that you review everything on the phone.
If you’ve got a video or you’ve got an MPI, here’s the thing that I found works the best with this kind of stuff is that you send that stuff while you’re on the phone with the customer.
You let ’em know that the information’s coming to you. Because the one thing that I see as a mistake for people doing valet services is they like to put it in the hands of the customer to look at their MPI and understand exactly what is on there.
The majority of customers don’t even know what’s going on, but they just don’t want to tell you that they don’t know.
So that’s a guided tour to go through the MPI or the video call or whatever it is.
Next on our list for valet service:
6) Your baby’s on its way back text or call
“Hey, your car’s completed. It’s cleaned up. It’s ready for you”
After you want to confirm the best way to get their vehicle back.
Sometimes what happens is that you’ll get the customer from the time that they dropped the vehicle off and they might have moved locations.
If you don’t reconfirm the drop place, you could end up having a valet driver sitting in a place where a customer’s not.
I also would do payment collection at that point in time so that there’s nothing that the valet driver would do.
The last thing you want is to have miscommunication with the valet driver and service advisor, which results in the valet driver having to collect the payment.
Last on our list of how to properly perform your dealership valet service is:
7) Send them the follow up and the thank you message
Follow the customers up with,
“I can’t wait to take you take care of you next time”
So that you’re leading and opening up for the next relationship.
I don’t look at it any different than the in person transaction. Like when you’re calling the customer,
“Hey, are you at home or at work?”
“Oh, where do you work?”
“Oh, you taking the day off?”
“Are you working from home?”
“Oh, where do you work?”
Building rapport and setting the frame is crucial towards the success of retaining our customers. But I wouldn’t look at it any different.
It’s just that the order of things is different. So like when you’re gonna check history and make recommendations you gotta own it.
Do not put the valet in the position of being the excuse for anything. You have to own that process from beginning to end.
Just like when I was a Service Advisor, I wouldn’t want anybody else writing my customers. I wouldn’t want the valets talking about pricing any specific whatsoever.
That would be me because the customer’s gonna get confused and then I run the risk of them being unhappy because they did not understand things the way they actually do.
So own that process as a Service Advisor and you’ll see your customer retention rate increase as the years goes by.
Solve that problem for your customers and they will keep coming back.
Got a question? Call us at 1-833-3-ASK-SDR