Research from Bumper reveals that 63% of car owners have delayed servicing and repairs due to COVID-19. Now that restrictions are easing, are you ready to handle the influx of work while still delivering great service?
The sun is shining at last, we’re able to meet more of our friends and loved ones, and it starts to feel like the world is getting back to normal. This is great news for businesses everywhere – but also a challenge, as they work to ensure they can delight their customers while adhering to new guidelines and consumer preferences.
In the world of car dealerships, that challenge is magnified by findings from research conducted by Bumper, a provider of payment services helping motorists spread the cost of repairs. Their research reveals that nearly two thirds of car owners have put off services or repairs due to the pandemic – meaning that, as the world opens up again and anxieties around COVID-19 start to fade, garages everywhere are likely to see a big increase in customers hoping to have work done on their car.
Putting quality of service under pressure
Of course, it’s great news that dealerships can expect a busy few months after the quiet months we’ve all experienced due to the pandemic. But recent research conducted by Autino revealed that over half (57%) of dealerships find that customer satisfaction decreases as the dealership gets busier. If the increased pressure starts to lead customers to feel unhappy with their dealership, there’s a chance that they won’t come back for their next service or repair – meaning that the spike in business could be followed by another slump.
To get around this, dealers need to look at why customers get less satisfied as the dealership gets busier, and decide how to counteract that. An obvious source of dissatisfaction might be that it takes longer for the garage to service cars as they get busier – and indeed, 94% of service advisors in our research said that customers expect their car will be ready sooner than is realistic. But it’s also worth considering that in our research, customers said that communication was the most important factor for them when deciding where to service their car.
Effective communications ease the burden
Communication can have an enormous impact on how customers feel about you. Let’s take that example of customers having unrealistic expectations of when their car will be ready. What if there was a way to actively set expectations with the customer, and to update them regularly on the status of their car? Not only would the customer have a more realistic expectation of timeframes, they would feel reassured that their car is being worked on, too.
"Nearly two thirds of car owners have put off services or repairs due to the pandemic [...] garages everywhere are likely to see a big increase in customers hoping to have work done on their car."
This in turn, would combat another major source of frustration (and hence dissatisfaction) for your customers: waiting on hold to speak to someone to find out what’s going on. Your service advisors spend a significant amount of their time on the phone simply updating customers who want to know when their car will be ready. If the customer is being proactively updated, then they don’t need to call – eliminating their frustration and giving your service advisors more time to speak to other customers with more complex problems.
We know it works
At CustomerLounge, we’ve been helping dealerships change the way they communicate with customers and seeing how it changes their relationships with those customers. One BMW dealership we work with saw their NPS rise by 40 points as a result of switching to our online, chat-based communications platform to deal with customers. Another saw their call centre handling 33% fewer calls about servicing, because those conversations were being handled proactively and in real time.
Because it's chat-based, a platform like ours enables dealerships not only to provide proactive and timely communications – it means you can do it at scale, as service advisors can manage multiple conversations at once while still giving the customer a great experience. Meaning that, if your dealership sees a spike in customers arriving needing a service or a repair, you can be confident that your team can make hay while the sun shines, without casting a cloud over your customer experience.
To find out what makes customers happy in 2021, download our white paper, 2021 Dealership Customer Engagement Report.