Hide and Seek: Why Customers Aren’t Finding Your Dealership Website Online—and How Content Can End the Games
3 Birds Study Reveals Lack of Service and Parts Content on Majority of Dealership Websites
At 3 Birds, we are firm believers in the importance of high-quality, relevant content to engage and retain customers—especially in the fixed ops department. While service and parts sales make up only 11.6% of total dealership sales, those sales make up nearly 40% of dealership’s overall gross profit and 32% of the net. (NADA Data, 2014) It’s clear that there is considerable value in returning, satisfied customers with a vested relationship with the dealership service department.
Recently, we conducted an industry-leading survey of service-related content on dealerships’ main websites and subdomains. The results confirmed our suspicions that this type of content is often neglected by dealers, and suggest that many dealerships are missing out on the tremendous revenue opportunities in their own service departments.
We will be releasing our industry leading study findings in our whitepaper but you can discover how new digital solutions can increase your service customer retention today. With service department sales falling in recent years from 15.7% in 2009 down to 11.6% in 2013 (NADA Data, 2014), it’s more important than ever for dealers to take stock of their current service marketing strategies.
Why is customer retention at the service department falling?
Customer retention in the service department is more important than ever.Yet often, dealerships don’t transition their sold customers into the service department. There are several factors driving consumers to choose national service chains over dealership service centers:
- Lack of information: Lack of service-related content keeps dealers from becoming trusted information providers as well as appearing in online searches
- Negative perceptions of value: Consumers cite high prices as their top reason they will not consider going to the dealership for service(C+R Research, April 2013)
- Inconsistent/nonexistent communication: Dealers are not contacting customers about upcoming service—only 2% of vehicle owners get digital reminders from their service provider when it’s time to come in for service (Road to Winning Drivers – Aftermarket Service, July 2013)
What would happen to the service department and dealership’s bottom line if that untapped revenue potential was realized?The average dealership wrote 14,002 repair orders in 2013 at an average $250 of non-warrantied service and parts sales per order. (NADA Data, 2014) If your dealership is writing approximately 1,100 ROs per month, an increase of just 5% means an additional 55 ROs per month—an average of $165,000 per year.
Plus, more ROs means more opportunities to impress customers and spread the word about your dealership’s unique value. “Brand Advocates” that spend more than other customers and recommend your dealership to others are worth five times as much as the average customer. (Social Recommendations - Brand Advocacy - Social Media Marketing - Word of Mouth Marketing | Zuberance, n.d.)
The solution: a focus on service-related content and communication
By providing the type of content that consumers are searching for online, you can put your dealership in a favorable position to attract and keep more customers. But that’s just the beginning. The formula for success includes each of the following.
- Consistent publication of quality content to the dealership website
- Pieces surrounding the most common service defection points
- Detailed explanations of what’s included in the most popular services
- Clear, valuable, and timely communication with dealership customers
- Communication specific to service defectors
- Appointment confirmations and service reminders for current service customers
- Service specials and offers
- Ongoing improvement of the online service scheduling process online
- Online reputation management
- Adding online reviews
- Monitoring what’s been posted
- Implementing a touch-based MPI program to improve the customer experience shop flow
- Address issues with customers easily and at their convenience
- Alert customers immediately when their vehicle is ready
- Automatically send follow-up communication based on data entered during the MPI process
- Create and implement a loyalty program
The 3 Birds solution
- Track purchases and reward customers at pre-determined intervals
- Supplement with a monthly newsletter and loyalty-focused email communication
Our integrated digital marketing platform is designed to take your current marketing strategies to the next level with in-depth analytics, turn-key functionality, and tier-1 quality creative. You can easily choose the solutions that work for you, and then add or change services later to meet the demands of a changing industry.
Give consumers what they want by hosting service-related content on your dealership’s main website and you’ll become a trusted partner in their ongoing vehicle care, increasing Fixed Ops revenue and customer retention in the process.Click here to get started.