White Paper - Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Fixed Ops

Unfix your Fixed Ops!

When "fixed" means unchanging, it's time to unfix the fixed. Unfix your Fixed Ops business; then, increase your Fixed Ops business!

Fixed Operations can be the backbone of your business. If it's not, it's an issue that must be addressed. Your sales team sells the first car, but it's the service department who creates a continuous, profitable revenue stream. It is also
the service department who sells the second, third and, hopefully, a lifetime of vehicles. Deliver impeccable service, and you're likely to sell to your loyal customers' friends and families, as well.

Below are five tips proven to be highly effective.

1. Give your Customers Reasons to Return

Treat them well. Wow them. Earn their trust. Take it a step further by being advisors to them as vehicle owners. Similar to how a client views a financial advisor, have your customers view your parts and service departments as vehicle advisors. Customers need to feel you have their best interests at heart. You

can also create owner loyalty programs, incentivizing them to return, such as offering every third oil change for free, or whatever it may be. With this in mind, DealerSocket's mobile service tool now features service images, bringing your offers to life.

2. Marketing

People need to consistently see your name to remember you exist and to consider you a viable option to service their needs. Use your data: market to customers based on their histories. Find customers who are no longer coming to you for service and offer them a special promotion. Implement processes to communicate with declined service customers, including a follow–up two weeks after the closed RO. Why two weeks? Maybe the customer declined the service because she didn't have enough money at the time. Most people are paid on a biweekly basis. Try it!

3. Convenience

Make it as easy as possible for customers to have their vehicles serviced at your dealership. Keep convenient hours. Most people work 9 – 5. If you're only available during those hours, it might be convenient for you. But guess who doesn't find it convenient?

How easy is it for customers to schedule a service appointment through your website and via mobile device?

Be sure there is always someone in your service department available to answer phone calls and schedule appointments and answer questions.

4. Train and Incentivize

Train your employees to set first–service appointments every time they sell a car. Then, measure their upsell processes. You can also train employees to always enter OpCodes into the CRM to track declined services.

What are you doing to excite and incentivize your employees? Incentives don't need to always be monetary. Try offering an employee–of–the–month parking spot and a plaque for top performers.

5. Keep Your Mind Online

Your online reputation is vital. Potential customers are likely to see what people are saying about your dealership online. It's no secret that people are more likely to share bad customer experiences than good ones. The online explosion has provided a soapbox so large that complainers need a ladder to get on it.

The good news is savvy, forward–looking dealers can turn the virtual complaint soapbox on its head by encouraging happy customers to post positive reviews on leading consumer review websites. And how the heck do you do that? It's actually quite easy, and your CRM solution should provide this service. First,

a customer is sent an email requesting a short survey be completed. Next, customers responding positively receive an automated email requesting they write a review about your dealership. Make it as easy as possible for your customers by providing links to leading review sites, such as Yelp, Google and DealerRater, embedded in the email. You can also catch unhappy customers with this tactic. Your CRM should alert your dealership immediately of a customer responding negatively to the survey. You then have the opportunity to rectify the situation before they climb the soapbox ladder.

The Takeaway

Relying on vehicle sales as the engine (excuse the pun) of your dealership is, well, unreliable. Sales are affected by many factors outside of your control, including interest rates, price at the pump and factory incentives.

Recession–proof your business with a continuous stream of income from your Fixed Ops business: Unfix it!

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