What accounts for approximately 40% of your dealership’s gross revenue and 32% of net profit (on average), but gets next to no real estate on your website?
I know this sounds like a riddle, but it’s no laughing matter. The answer is…your Service Department.
Your Service Department is a major profit center for your dealership. It may cover all or a large portion of your operating costs. A higher percentage of your service revenue translates into bottom-line net profit than your sales revenue. In addition, if you can successfully transition your sold customers from sales and finance into service—and retain them—you get to the promised land of higher customer lifetime value.
Of course you know these things. These are fundamental truths that all operators know. But did you know that more and more consumers are conducting online research about vehicle service? According to a Google Think Insights study, 70 million searches on aftermarket, service-related keywords take place on Google every month. Consumers are hungry for this kind of information, but most won’t find it on their automobile dealership’s website because there is very little content to be found there about parts and service.
We had long suspected that the under-representation of the Service Department on dealerships’ websites was a wide-spread problem, but we wanted to have a better sense of the nature and scope of the situation. We’re data geeks around here, so we decided to collect data and do a study. We analyzed the websites of more than 900 automobile dealerships located all across the United States that sell highline, import, and domestic brands. Our suspicions about the epidemic nature of the dearth of service content on dealer websites were confirmed. Here are just a couple of our findings about the dealerships surveyed:
- 61% have less than five (5) pages of service-related content on their main websites
- 82% have no “Why Service Here” message on their main websites
- Seven (7) out of ten (10) dealership websites do not mention OEM service programs
The big takeaway from our study is that enterprising dealerships, automotive groups, distributorships, and manufacturers have a real opportunity to fill a very large void for their customers by providing the type of content they are seeking right on the dealership website. Providing rich service content on the dealership website (as well as in ongoing customer communications and during the in-store experience) offers transparency, builds trust, and positions the dealership as an ongoing partner in the care of the vehicle and the safety of the person who drives it.
There is much more to our study, including lots of cool infographics. Click here to request a copy and it will magically arrive in your inbox.
Integrated tools for tapping into unrealized revenue potential in your Service Department
Service and parts represent nearly 40 percent of dealership overall gross revenue and 35 percent of net revenue as industry averages. So even a small increase in number of ROs, dollars per repair order, and service retention can have a large impact on your dealership's bottom line. However, integrating fixed ops marketing into a digital strategy hasn’t exactly been easy in the past, due to a lack of comprehensive options and difficulty integrating systems.
We’re here to change that.
Enterprise-Level Software: Integration, Flexibility, Configurability
The 3 Birds Fixed Operation Stack of products is powered by the Force.com platform of Salesforce.com, the world's largest CRM system. 3 Birds integrated our content management system and multi-channel marketing platform with Force.com to bring open, enterprise, flexible and highly configurable software to the automotive industry. Our tightly integrated program offers tools and data for running your Service Department more efficiently and best-in-class software for dynamically generating individualized follow up messaging and other relevant customer communications.
Here’s how it works.
Digital Walk Around and MPI: Touch-Based Tools for Advisors and Technicians
Imagine your service advisors following a consistent process when greeting customers who pull into the lane, conducting the initial walk around inspection and seamlessly suggesting declined services from the customer's last service visit or manufacturer recommended maintenance based upon that customer's service history. Do your technician perform multi-point inspections on every vehicle? Are they using paper MPI forms? Is the opt code data getting entered back into your systems for follow up? Our digital tools for service advisors and techs not only establish a step through process for walk-arounds and MPIs, they streamline shop flow, allow for a professional presentation of inspection results back to the customer, improve the customer experience and provide analytical dashboards and utilization reports for running your Service Department with greater efficiency and profitability.
Dynamically Generated Lifecycle Messaging: Delivering Communications Specific to Each Customer
Proper lifecycle messaging can significantly improve retention by delivering relevant messages tailored to each customer's driving pattern, service history, demonstrated interest and how you want to market. Our dynamically generated lifecycle messaging starts at the time of purchase and delivers relevant transitional messaging introducing customers to your service department. Subsequent messages serve to celebrate anniversaries, recommend services based on MPI results, recapture defectors and customers at risk for defection, and more. In addition, starting in the fall, all email communications will be fully responsive.
Responsive Service Website: The Content Consumers Are Seeking
Not only are our email communications responsive, our service sites, are also built on our responsive website architecture. More than six out of ten dealers have less than five pages of service-related content on their websites. Our sites include expertly-written content for all major services to provide all of the information you customers need and to help you compete with third-party service providers.
Featuring dedicated Special Offers, Meet the Staff, "Why Service Here", and dealership amenities pages, our sites elevate the value proposition of servicing at your dealership and position you as a trusted information provider online. The built-in OEM service scheduler makes it easy for customers to see the exact maintenance recommendations for their vehicle make, model, and year, and then make their appointment within seconds.
The most important benefit of our unique integrated system, though, is the powerful data intelligence it provides. Now you can easily analyze your customer engagement behavior and follow up with targeted sales campaigns and automated lifecycle messaging—all unified in a single industry-leading platform.
Loyalty Program: Reward Loyalty and Keep Customers Coming Back
Our flexible, customizable loyalty program rewards customers for doing business with you with points, credit, or savings you control. Customers can log in to their personal, password-protected Loyalty Program page and view their Service History and points balance. The platform even makes it easy for your staff and customers to track pre-paid maintenance plans. In addition, our Loyalty Program works with our lifecycle messaging to drive customers back your dealership to take advantage of their rewards. The program can also support service conquest campaigns to drive new customers into to your service bays and keep them coming back.
With 3 Birds Fixed Ops solutions, your dealership will increase efficiency, improve customer experience and retention, and create more immediate and future revenue opportunities. Let us show you more. Schedule a demo today. Everyone completing a demo of our Fixed Ops Stack will receive one of the new 3 Birds t-shirts.
Community art gallery launches with Matthew Szymanski exhibition
On Friday, July 11, 3 Birds brought a new voice to the Chapel Hill art scene with the opening of its new community art gallery. Our premiere event took place during The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership’s 2nd Friday ArtWalk in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, a monthly event spotlighting the area’s numerous arts venues and community-focused businesses. For our first exhibition, 3 Birds partnered with the exception Chapel Hill artist Matthew Szymanski.
3 Birds celebrated the gallery opening with a special reception, including light refreshments, wine and beer, and a chance to talk with the artist himself. The gallery is located in the lobby of 3 Birds’ Chapel Hill headquarters at 505-B West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. The gallery provides a chance for local artists to find new fans, with many pieces available for sale (to take home at the end of the hanging period).
What prompted 3 Birds Marketing founders Layton and Kristen Judd to turn the office lobby into a gallery? The same community support that has been a driving focus since the company’s inception. “The one-of-a-kind community in Chapel Hill was a natural fit for 3 Birds,” says Kristen. “We’re proud to take every opportunity to help that community grow, from transforming our former location into Launch Chapel Hill to providing this platform for local artists. The wide range of voices on display during the 2nd Friday ArtWalk made it the perfect choice for unveiling this new venture.”
3 Birds carefully considered a number of options before partnering with Szymanski for the opening exhibition. Matthew contributed a vibrant selection of pieces showing his interest in color theory and playing with viewer preconceptions. “I often incorporate bits of popular culture including iconic objects, brand names, logos and characters,” Szymanski said about his art. “These cultural references allow the paintings to reach out beyond their 4 edges and pull in meaning and messages from the world at large.”
The current Szymanski show will remain in the gallery until August’s 2nd Friday Art Walk. In the future, the Artwalk will serve as the opening for all new exhibitions, including both solo artist shows as well as themed collections in a variety of media. Artists interested in being featured in future exhibitions are encourage to contact Evan Chaisson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Former AutoNation Senior VP of Marketing will advise 3 Birds with over 25 years of industry experience
3 Birds is proud to announce that Gary Marcotte has joined our board of advisors, effective immediately. Gary is most noted for his 13-year-tenure with AutoNation, Inc., America’s largest automotive retailer. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for the company, leading the eCommerce department and AutoUSA lead distribution network from unprofitability to several consecutive years of profitability and growth. His previous roles with AutoNation included Senior Vice President of eCommerce, Vice President of New and Used Vehicle Operations, e-Commerce and other Retail Operations.
With over 25 years of automotive experience, Gary is a highly-sought speaker for his thought leadership and experience in revolutionary product and service development. As Director of Operations at Driver's Mart Worldwide, Inc., he oversaw areas including product sourcing, information technology, and operating standards. Before Driver’s Mart, he helped launch Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus Division and pioneered the automaker’s Certified Pre-Owned Car program—the first of its kind in the industry.
In his advisory role at 3 Birds, Gary brings a passion for ongoing digital development and exploring new avenues for strengthening customer retention and loyalty. 3 Birds Marketing founders Layton and Kristen Judd are especially honored to welcome Gary as a board member. “We have known Gary as a colleague and friend for years, and we’ve been looking for a way to utilize his vast experience at 3 Birds,” says Layton Judd, President & CSO. “With our recently-launched Fixed Operations Retention Suite and the upcoming updates to our all-in-one digital marketing platform, it’s the perfect time to welcome Gary to the nest.”
You can follow Gary on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaryJMarcotte. Stay tuned for more information on Gary’s work with 3 Birds!
Conquest email campaign prompts 23 sales
One of our Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram dealership clients was looking to expand its customer reach in preparation for its Memorial Day sales event. First, the client’s dedicated 3 Birds strategist utilized existing business intelligence to create a send list of 50,000 people who were in-market in the dealership area, but were not current or previous customers of the dealership. Our creative team then worked closely with the dealership to create an OEM-branded creative campaign featuring an offer specific to each brand and leveraging brand messaging.
The campaign was sent at the end of April before the Memorial Day weekend. Strong calls-to-action to drive conversions were included in the campaign.
The combination of tier 1-quality creative and strategic use of data resulted in an immediate and significant impact on the client’s vehicle sales around the Memorial Day weekend. Using the dealership’s sales data from the end of April into May, 3 Birds conducted a sales match analysis. A total of 23 email recipients went on to purchase or lease vehicles 30-45 days after the send with gross sales of $746,321.17.
Strategic digital messaging adds new customers and sales prospects
With just two campaigns sent to in-market leads, the client successfully expanded its marketing reach and enjoyed strong ROI. Of course, conquesting a new customer to purchase a vehicles is great, but transitioning these buyers into loyal service customers will increase their lifetime value to the dealership.
This is just one example of how effective digital marketing solutions can be.