Digital Marketing - Not Just for Sales

More About | Dealerships | COVID-19

The news surrounding the impact of COVID-19 has been primarily retail-focused as it pertains to the automobile industry, including the steps you can take to protect yourself, develop your digital marketing strategy and make certain you do not sacrifice the customer shopping experience. But what about your service department? Vehicle maintenance is key to the longevity and value of any new or used car, and times of uncertainty may mean longer vehicle retention. While the digital marketing conversation historically leaves service taking a backseat, in these times it should not.

Here are several actions your marketing team and service department can take to align their strategies and improve results during this difficult time.

First, consider the most fundamental marketing tactic in the books – utilizing Customer Resource Management (CRM). Your service customer base serves as not only an opportunity for repeat business in your service lane, but also for sales. Utilize your team (business development company (BDC), advisors, consultants, etc.) to identify vehicles that may fit optimal trade requirements and create a short list of the highest quality opportunities. Review the remainder of the CRM for those customers who may be due for an oil change or other maintenance-related items. Once created, get to work: communicate with these customers through personalized email and a short, but personalized video. This will build trust and deliver transparency when we need it most.

Second, appeal to the needs of the customer. As we practice social distancing and limited exposure to our daily routines, offer to pick-up and drop-off a customer’s vehicle for service. These delivery services will meet the needs of your customer base from the confines of their home or work. Also consider advertising a special offer during this time, such as a free car wash to any healthcare, restaurant or grocery store employee, or simply a special oil change if you utilize the newly minted delivery service. The most important piece of this plan is the communication. Have your marketing team, agency or website provider create a banner to display on your home page. Reach out to local businesses and advertise your offers on Facebook as well as other social media outlets.

Third, make sure that your CRM email and service information are updated in your Google business page and third-party provider dashboards, including chat. More often than not, the service sections are left blank or long forgotten after the account was created. Do you have the correct phone number, hours of operation and CRM email address so that all potential leads are being collected? This may seem mundane, but it could prove to be a quick correction with big returns.

Finally, consider this as a chance to build your team for the long term. With concerns over job security and staff shortages due to childcare, there may be an opportunity to create a training program or apprenticeship that will help develop your service department’s staff. This, among other things, will also differentiate your dealership from the competitors for future hiring opportunities.

The main message is to leverage your service department as a resource during these difficult times. Adjust your plans, align your strategy and plan for growth.

For questions or more information about how your dealership can stay prepared, reach out to us at dealerships@dhg.com.

About Dealerships

DHG Dealerships is one of the largest professional service teams providing assurance, tax and advisory services to dealers across the country. We collaborate with key industry stakeholders to enhance the insights we bring to our clients and provide them access to valuable resources.