Appointment scheduling may not be top of mind when dealership service departments are working to improve profitability, but it’s actually directly related to customer satisfaction and workflow. Appointments drive repair orders, which in turn drive profitability. So, it makes sense to consider the appointment-setting process carefully. After all, the more difficult it is to make an appointment, the more likely customers will put it off or choose another option for repairs or maintenance.
While you can add more staff to really affect change in RO volume and customer satisfaction, it might be time to reconsider your service department’s online scheduler. Here’s what the right solution can do for your service department:
1. Increase customer satisfaction and retention by making it easy to schedule an appointment. The appointment scheduling process is like a “first date” with a customer. If it’s difficult or unpleasant, there likely won’t be a second date. The easier it is, the more likely customers will come back.
The best way to ensure simplicity is to offer an online scheduler with all the information built in. For instance, if no appointments are available after 4 p.m., your system shouldn’t show those times to the customer. Likewise, if the customer’s favorite advisor doesn’t work on Saturdays, there should be no appointments available for that advisor on that day.
2. Boost profitability by getting more customers into your service lane. It follows that if you keep customers coming back to your service lane, you’ll have more ROs and higher profits. The more efficient your service department is in handling the work, the more work you can take on. An online scheduler fills up an advisor’s day with profitable work.
3. Create a simple way to offer vehicle pickups, drop-offs, and loaners or shuttles. Customers make many excuses for not coming to the dealership for maintenance — not wanting to wait, not having a ride there or back, needing a loaner for the day, etc. Eliminate those excuses with an online appointment scheduler that lets customers schedule pickups, drop-offs, loaners, and shuttles. This experience should be seamless to the customer, which means having the right data driving the experience.
4. Increase employee satisfaction by effectively managing appointments and making the best use of time. A busy service department is a happy one — just as long as you can still complete the work effectively. An appointment scheduler enables you to manage workflow so that your fixed-ops team gets the amount of work they’re able to complete with some leeway for walk-ins.
5. Reduce labor associated with telephone appointment setting. Remember the receptionist who couldn’t handle the call volume? You thought you had to hire another staff member, but now that appointments are primarily scheduled online. That means your receptionist is now free to complete other responsibilities, such as greeting and directing car buyers to your sales team. What’s more, she’s probably a lot happier since she’s not overwhelmed with calls every day.
6. Put your fixed-ops department in control of your workflow. A good online appointment scheduler will allow you to add caps on the number of customers your service department can see per hour or per day, block off peak walk-in times to avoid work overload, and more. If you don’t want customers to make same-day appointments or offer pickups and drop-offs on the same day, you simply add that parameter.
Dealerlogix Service Workflow Suite offers an integrated appointment scheduler that accesses all the information necessary to make it a simple and effective process for customers and for service departments. The system accesses shop hours, advisor availability and capacity, and even availability of shuttles, pick-ups and drop-offs, and loaner vehicles, and it’s all integrated within the Service Workflow Suite and the Dealership Management System. All the customer has to do is choose from a menu of options and click “next” to schedule a convenient appointment.