March 15, 2009
One more time: How to do a proper service
yler Robbins, president of Automotive Training International, has spent much
of the last two years training service advisors in the proper way to conduct a
T vehicle walkaround.
As Tyler notes, the vehicle walk-
Turn on all the lights, including Check the belts for cracks, dry-
around is one of the best tools
the emergency blinkers ness or being loose
available to service advisors to
Check for anything of value the Check the hoses around the
help customers learn about their
customer needs to take with clamps for leaks or swelling
vehicle needs and to sell more la-
bor and parts. The walkaround
Check the battery terminals for
should take only about 1-2 minutes
Pop the hood
per vehicle to complete. The re-
Exterior appearance Free stuff implies value
sults should be noted on the repair
Always give a free top off of the
order, or a special inspection
Record VIN, if new customer
window washer fluid. The best
sheet, and reviewed with the cus-
service advisors keep several jugs
Inspect wiper blades
tomer before leaving the service
in the write-up area so the cus-
Look at the tires for low pres-
tomer can see it being done.
Customers respond more posi-
sure, unusual wear patterns
The walkaround should be a com-
tively when they can see legiti-
and low tread
plimentary part of each service
mate vehicle needs before they
Check for any exterior body
visit. A special operation code
leave the service department.
and window damage that the
should be used to generate the in-
customer may not know about
spection on the repair order. A
Starting at the driver’s side door
value should be shown for this in-
Check all lights
and working clockwise, the ser-
spection on the repair order, then
vice advisor should look at:
Check if their vehicle license a no-charge to the customer when
and inspection stickers are up it is extended out. This would en-
to date hance the value of this compli-
mentary inspection to the cus-
Do a quick check of the visible
tomer and something they will ex-
Oil change sticker
coolant and brake fluid tanks
pect and want on each visit.
for fill level. The technician
Inspect the interior for any
We are in business to make
can test the quality of the cool-
money by taking care of the
customer’s vehicle needs. The
Start the engine to check dash
Checking oil is optional. Defi-
walkaround is a tool that service
lights or messages
nitely check it if the customer
advisors can easily use to build
Test the turn signals with the complains of an engine noise at
trust, loyalty and create good
startup or on acceleration
1DealersEdge Sales Advisor March 15, 2009
Celebrate customer birthday by winning more of
ne of the basic customer relations tools used by dealership salespeople is the
birthday card. It’s just one more way to stay in touch with dealership custom
Oers. Why not do the same thing with your service customers. After all, service
advisors already have access to the necessary information. It sounds simple, but re-
membering to send a card on someone’s birthday can mean a lot. And we’re not just
talking about relatives or old friends.
Nichole Scott, director of fixed Nichole is a big fan of customized got high hopes that she’ll woo
operations for three dealerships marketing that lets customers feel some of them back.
that form the Dick Scott Automo- like you know them and under-
“Business is more unpredictable
tive Group (Nissan, Dodge, and stand their automotive needs.
now,” she notes. While their over-
Jeep/Chrysler) in Michigan, says She’s also just started email quar-
all service volume is pretty good,
she’s been amazed at how many terly reports to her customers tell-
it’s a lot more up and down right
people love getting a “card” from ing them how many points they
now, and that makes holding onto
her dealership on their birthday have and what they can get for
existing customers all the more
with 500 bonus “points” they can those points. That’s also bringing
use toward a service of their them back into the shop, she re-
She’s also offering existing cus-
tomers incentives to bring in their
“Customers love the cards,” she Next up, she’s going after inactive
friends: 2,000 points if they refer a
says. While she doesn’t have hard customers with a mailer that in-
service customer, 1,000 points if
cludes a card with points (she’s
numbers, she says she sees them
they buy a car. ❖
being redeemed regularly. not sure how many yet) and she’s
Loyalty cards generate 500 new hike customer
pay ROs 16% at Michigan dealership
raff Chevrolet general manager Lisa Rechsteiner used service department loy-
alty programs for a few years earlier this decade, then stopped for a few
G months to reassess them. Her decision? “Go back with them, they work.”
Since July 2008 when she rein- used loyalty cards only to promote helping her strengthen community
stated a loyalty card program she new or used car sales. When they relations at a time when that
says it has generated about 500 broadened it to include service, it means more to customers than
ROs in new business and, even really took off, she says.
ever before. “When the economy
more important, hiked customer is bad and times are tough, our
“We just had our ‘state of the
pay labor by 16% as of January customers seem to like being in-
dealership’ meeting and we’re up
2009. In that time she’s also re- volved with a business that has
in all categories except new cars
deemed almost $12,000 worth of strong community connections.”
sales” in part because of loyalty
points on customer cards. “It’s She uses the loyalty cards as
programs. And even new car
been a huge hit for us,” Lisa
prizes at local silent auctions for
sales are flat, not down. That’s
says. charities and other fundraisers,
pretty impressive when many are
e.g. she just donated a card worth
Part of the success is a “philo- struggling to slow the bleeding.
$200 to a local charity. ❖
sophical shift” her dealership
Lisa also thinks the cards are
went through. In the past, they
2Automotive digital marketing is more than simply buying and closing leads.
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• Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
• Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
• Social Networking Platforms
The Critical Questions Auto Dealer Pros Must Answer
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2. Should I only buy leads from the automotive lead aggregators?
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• Why Blogging works for auto dealers and tips on how to start your own blog.
• How to use news releases to drive traffic to your website and as an SEO strategy.
• The checklist for creating a viral marketing action plan for your dealership.
“No single web source can capture enough consumer attention to justify a ‘single silo’
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Brian Pasch - Pasch Consulting Group
Priority Code: NLDCC1
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