Looking Into Customer’s History to Identify Missed Sales
If you don’t have an organizational process in place, it can be difficult to identify where issues arise along the way. For Bob Cozatt, director of fixed operations, at Steve Landers CDJR Little Rock in Little Rock, Ark., he focuses his time on creating ways to make processes easier and more efficient at the dealership.
Each day, Cozatt pours over customer reports to look at what his department and its staff produces. Specifically, Cozatt tries to figure out how the department can grow stronger and, essentially, overcome missed sales.
“It’s huge with lost opportunities in sales—it controls and really grows your day to day,” he says. “If you’re going to write 1,000 repair orders per day and you want $200 per RO, how are you going to get there?”
Cozatt says missed sale opportunities can largely impact a business—especially when the business isn’t able to see the problem themselves. For Cozatt, the service department had an online system that wasn’t organized and with which was often difficult to work.
“With the old system, we used to have to always back out [of a web page] and go into different screens,” he says.
Without the ability to have all of a customer’s information in one place, determining missed sale opportunities for the dealership was often overlooked. While Cozatt continued to look after each repair order, it wasn’t until 2014 that the dealership found a simpler solution for the service department.
In order to improve, however, the dealership looked at an investment that would not only bring the business success, but also ultimately improve the inspection process. The dealership brought in the “era-ignite” system by Reynolds and Reynolds, a dealership management system that has changed the format of the service department’s operating process, according to Cozatt.
“It gives you more opportunity to do more things,” he says. “It provides you with a solid walk-around system, and it has the ability to bring up maintenance recommendations based on the [vehicle] manufacturer when you’re talking with the customer, and it can look at history. It’s really user-friendly.”
Since implementing a management system, Cozatt has been able to manage processes around the shop more efficiently than before. Here are the changes the service department has made to its processes to recoup missed sales opportunities:
Redefine the walkaround process.
Using a tablet during the walkaround process allows staff members to accurately check out the vehicle and record notes for staff members.
“So, when you’re writing up a repair order, you go through the customer information, you do the walk around and look for any issues or concerns that a customer has during the walkaround,” Cozatt says. “We look for damage on the vehicle, and then when you get to the factory recommendations, you just tap it and it brings it up.”
Once notes are recorded, it becomes easier to hold notes regarding the customer’s visit. According to Cozatt, notifications will pop up if a customer’s due for their 40,000-mile service and will list what those services includes.
“It has a total price, you look at it and say, ‘Hey, this is what the [service] is, and that way the customer knows walking out the door what the costs are, what they’re going to get,’” Cozatt says. “At the same time, if a customer says, ‘Hey, Bob, I had that cooling system serviced,’ it’s something you can delete out of the history.
“If you’re due for [other services] then it comes up and has a total price.”
Update customer files routinely.
With all information in one place, service advisors are more well-informed on all suggestions and repairs made during their last visit.
“The write up time can run from 4–8 minutes, but what makes it more efficient is you get a lot more [information] down,” Cozatt says.
After an estimate is created for the customer, the estimate stays in the customer’s file, where staff members are able to see what was missed the last visit.
“When we recommend that 40,000-mile service on the service price guide, it says if it’s $400, so the next time they come in, we can actually say, ‘Hey, I see that there’s a recommendation there,’ and you can always pull that up,” Cozatt says.
The saved history provides incentive for customers to tack on the service the next time.
“If they come back in six months from now and say, ‘Hey, last time I was in, you said I needed something,’ we can actually go in and look at it and say, ‘Here’s the estimate we had and it’s saying [this price],’” Cozatt says. “It saves us a lot of time.”
Since the product has been in the works, it has allowed the service department to really hone in on their customer relationship and build customer trust, Cozatt says.
“I think it just gives us more detailed reporting to make good business decisions,” Cozatt says. “[With customers], I think what it has done for us is make us more convenient for our customers; 80 percent of the time you’re spending time with the customer [going over results].”
In addition, having a tablet that not only provides customer reports, but also tracks the employee’s usage has been a teaching tool for the dealership. Cozatt says, for example, he can check in on a service advisor’s report and see how many seconds the service advisor spent on each section of the tab, as well as see if anything was skipped over.
“It holds more accountability to the process,” Cozatt says. “It’s easy to fix a broken process.”