What It Is: A reminder card for pre-scheduled service check-ups.
The Inspiration: The idea to pre-schedule customer vehicle “check-ups” six months in advance was inspired by Larson’s Service owner Diane Larson’s routine trip to the dentist. She had left the dentist without setting up her next six-month appointment, and when she got around to calling her dentist—eight months later—she was told appointments were booked for the next three weeks. Larson wondered to herself whether this is what scheduling appointments felt like for her customers.
What It Does: When a customer comes to collect his or her vehicle after a service, Larson’s staff asks to schedule the next appointment. Larson’s Service keeps a desktop calendar showing six months from that day’s date. Customers have the option to choose what date they wish to bring in their vehicles.
When the shop has scheduled about five appointments for a particular day, it will be marked off with an “X” on the customer calendar.
“We don’t fill the day up completely just in case there are any breakdowns,” Larson says.
In this way, customers know what days they have to choose from, and they can see that there are a lot of other customers on board with this idea, as well.
After customers have picked a day, Larson’s Service hands them an individual appointment card with the scheduled date to serve as a reminder. As the date approaches, the shop will call or email the customer again to confirm that he or she is coming in.
When the customer comes in, the vehicle is given a “head-to-toe” maintenance check, and if the shop finds anything wrong, it will let the customer know right away so it can get fixed before the problem gets worse.
“We can take care of small concerns before they’re a problem,” Larson says.
How It’s Made: Larson’s Service has subscriptions to Mitchell 1’s scheduler and Demandforce to manage the shop and schedule appointments. To start pre-scheduling check-up appointments, the shop simply has to buy a desktop calendar every year and print out new appointment reminder cards as needed.
Cost: Larson spends about $15 per month for the desktop calendar and printing appointment cards.
ROI: The shop charges $90 for each check-up and Larson estimates that about 90 percent of customers elect to pre-schedule their next service check-ups. Larson says having six months of stable work lined up gives the shop peace of mind. In addition, customers are saved from costly and crippling repairs because the shop can find and fix problems before they get worse.
“We see most customers twice a year by appointment, just like you would a doctor or a dentist,” Larson says. “The consumer readily accepts this.”