Let me start this post by stating unequivocally that I am big fan of online service scheduling applications for car dealers. When set up correctly, these little tools can save you and your customers the headaches and hassles of numerous service phone calls.
When set up correctly.
Without getting into the weeds, suffice it to say that online service scheduling is a great way to balance the load and maximize the labor in your shop without having to employ a service receptionist or BDC. Additionally, these applications can make scheduling service for your customers easier than ordering a pizza or buying a plane ticket online. (Something today’s consumer demands.)
When set up correctly.
I’m writing this post on the Monday before Thanksgiving 2015. I’m writing this post because I want to get the transmission fluid changed in a used F-150 I bought recently. I’m writing this post because I want to accomplish this task before Sunday when the F-150 will be traveling south with my oldest son back to college.
I’m writing this post because I tried to use the online service scheduling application on my local Ford dealer’s website only to see that the next appointment opening (for anything, including an oil change) is next Monday.
Too late for my needs, so I’m taking the truck to an independent shop later this afternoon.
My local Ford dealer lost the chance for a $150 customer-pay service. My local Ford dealer lost the chance for a multi-point inspection (MPI) and the additional services that can be sold from this. My local Ford dealer lost the chance to meet me and impress me with his/her world-class service and great inventory. My local Ford dealer lost the chance to entice me into overspending for cool accessories for this truck just in time for Christmas.
My local Ford dealer lost me because their online service scheduling application is far too rigid.
What if – along with the calendar above – the scheduling application had a little call-out that delivered a message like this:
“Need service sooner? Call our service hotline now at 555-1212 to take advantage of unexpected service openings!”
Do you think if I called them they could squeeze me in for a quick transmission fluid change and MPI? I’ll bet they could. But I, like nearly every other potential new customer, didn’t call. I went somewhere else; because their online service scheduling application chased me away.