Almost half a year into the coronavirus pandemic, dealerships are beginning to get some insight into what’s working and what’s not when it comes to their day-to-day business operations.
Any action that has brought customers a little relief and support has gone a long way, like requiring employees and customers to wear face masks and offering pickup and drop-off services.
One leading-edge service that has produced excellent results is the Recall Management Solution that AutoAlert released just before government-mandated shutdowns began in many states. The new customer-centric process shows dealers every day which of their sold and service customers have open safety recalls. The team can then connect with these customers with a relevant, meaningful conversation via text, call, or email and offer to get the issue fixed.
It’s a gesture of goodwill in a time of uncertainty, letting customers know that somebody is looking out for them. That’s powerful, especially in today’s uncertain environment.
“The companies that are struggling to pivot right now have put themselves at the center of the equation,” says best-selling author and TED Talk favorite Simon Sinek. “They say, ‘How can we make more money?‘ Or, ‘How can we save ourselves?’ The companies that are really doing a good job at everything right now have put their customer at the center of the equation. They are saying, ‘We have really important, valuable things’.”
In this case, for dealerships, that “important, valuable thing” is their service departments and the ability to fix potentially dangerous vehicle defects.
But the really good news is, being customer-centric and increasing revenue aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, many dealers are seeing that by putting their customer at the center, they are able to drive significant revenue back to the dealership – Recall Management is the perfect example of that.
Expressing concern for customers’ safety due to the recall and helping them schedule a time to get it fixed is a prime example of customer centricity in action. For Terry Miller, Vice President and GM of Gary Crossley Ford in Kansas City, Recall Management is just one part of a bigger overall focus on customer centricity.
“It allows us to make a different kind of phone call to the customer. And we’re so dedicated to making sure that our customers are getting a different experience at the dealership,” Miller says. “This is different from the sales message that people are used to getting. Then when they come in, they’re feeling a little pressure. With Recall Management, it’s great because we can call and invite them into the dealership so we can help them get their car repaired through the recall.”
John Guido, Jr., General Manager/Partner at Arlington Heights Ford, says that he wishes he had the capability to offer recall resolution as a service sooner, but was glad to have it at this time.
“You’re making a phone call that should have been made a long time ago,” Guido says. “It’s giving us a good reason to call that customer and let them know that we’re concerned most about their safety. Ultimately, we’re keeping that relationship tight, when otherwise we might not even be getting ahold of them.”
Customer-centric conversations can continue with customers once they arrive, such as describing other services available and even offering an opportunity to trade keys with a newer model and lowering their payment, when applicable. AutoAlert indicates which customers are in-market and looking to buy and even provides talk-track pointers and offers the customer can take home to think about.
Which means Recall Management has created a true touchpoint for dealerships – during or even post-Covid. Precisely how dealerships are using this new process for success will be outlined in the second part of this series, “3 New Ways to Sell on the Service Drive.”
Watch this video to see how Bob Tasca and other leading dealers are using Recall Management to get customers into their service lane and how they are able to drive more sales month after month during the pandemic.