When it comes to the role of mobile technology and its use among service departments today, it can help boost dealers' retention rates and help them compete for customers interested in a service experience that provides convenience, says Jim Roche of Xtime.
Because of the ease that consumers can expect from their interactions at most retailers today, dealerships that employ technology built to guide their customers’ experiences can help them be most competitive, said Roche, who is Xtime’s senior vice president of marketing and managed services, in a phone interview.
“Dealers must understand that consumers expect a technology-enhanced experience — we're surrounded by them,” he said.
“It is those experiences that we have outside of automotive that are raising expectations of what we expect when we have and automotive experience.”
In addition to getting their vehicle serviced, Roche stressed that consumers now expect convenient scheduling and transparent pricing.
In regards to scheduling appointments, for instance, mobile technology that enables online appointment bookings from anywhere can bring more customers into the service department and help advisers be more productive and serve more clients.
Roche explained that not only can mobile technology help dealers sell more, they can also increase the number of repair orders and dollars per repair order because of the experience it can provide consumers.
He said, “If you just think about how the industry has worked for decades — you pulled your car into the service drive or the service lane, and then you went and found an adviser. Typically they were at a desk, or a podium with a computer, and you had to stand there because they were tethered to the technology, but tablets are mobile.”
Roche explained that tablet devices enable advisers to be mobile, unlike before, and provide customers a way make an appointment at any time.
In fact, Xtime found that customer retention increases 6 to 7 percent when tablets are used.
Roche said that with tablets, advisers can confidently walk over to vehicles they recognize from appointment bookings listed on their tablets and call customers by name to confirm their reason for being there, as well as quickly note the condition of the vehicle upon arrival.
“Mobile technology completely modernizes and improves the experience on the service lane, and its faster,” Roche said.
When consumers can be in and out in minutes it increases satisfaction, which can improve both customer loyalty and experience, he went on to say.
Attract added revenue
Moreover, Roche said that technology has completely changed the service lane and that today’s mobile tools allow them to even process vehicles more effectively.
With the mobile technology, not only can advisers use tablets to record notes on an incoming vehicle’s condition at check-in, but they can also use the technology to help them be a better salesperson, according to Roche.
“Part of a service adviser’s job is to be a salesperson, so that mobile technology enables you to be a better salesperson, which improves your job performance, and you'll probably make more money,” said Roche.
Furthermore, he explained how there are newer technologies back in the shop that also allow technicians to do a better job of inspecting the vehicle or sharing captured photos and video.
Roche said that being able to share information about a vehicle's repair needs allows dealers to have deep discussions with owners concerning the condition of their vehicle, which can provide them more peace-of-mind during the repair process.
Additionally, Roche believes that dealership employees can have a better working environment when utilizing mobile technology like tablets on the job, because customers are happier, and the dealership has the potential to bring in more revenue.
“Mobile technology can improve dealership employee satisfaction because you're making more money; you're doing a better job and you feel better about the job you're doing,” he said.
When it comes to millennials and younger employees, Roche added that dealerships can do a better job of retaining younger employees by having mobile technology readily available, because they are more likely to have grown up dealing with modern mobile technology.