Are Customers Leaving You Because of a Bad Website Experience?

Will it take another 10 years for dealers to do something worthwhile with their Service Department? Guest blogger Tiea Roper, Product Manager at BetterCarPeople Education, discusses how far we have come digitally as an industry, and the road we are still on with service.

When this internet thing finally seemed to be passed the point of thinking it was just a “fad,” dealerships jumped on board and got a website (or maybe back then it was a web address.)

Whatever it was, you needed to make sure that every customer who called knew it was there.

Our receptionist at the time spent a lot of time saying “just go to w-w-w dot our new website dot com.”

Looking Back

Looking back, I’m not really sure why we did that. There were no pictures, prices, or any other way to request information. It was just a page that confirmed where we were located, that we sold cars, and displayed the phone number that they just used to call the store.

It goes without saying that I am glad we are so far past that.

At least when it comes to buying cars anyway. But what about service?

We have come a long way in the digital space, but there are still areas that resemble our old ways of utilizing websites. The question remains, when will the Service Department get at least half the attention that the Sales Department has been receiving to stay in the game?

The ideas are there, but at times there is a definite fail in the follow through. However, with every fail it would seem a solution is created.

 Not enough opportunities--Buy some

Too many opportunities for your staff to handle--Start a BDC or hire one

This list goes on and on for ways to attract those customers who may want to come see you. Man, that right there is the kicker! Let me say it again. You will spend thousands of dollars this year on customers who may want to come and buy a car from you! (preach)

Remember that most service opportunities have already purchased a vehicle from you and have a more difficult time remaining with you than the customers you are hoping to attract. Which brings us back to the website.


Moving Forward with Service

Fixed Operations has a very small area of real estate on your W-W-W. It is almost just enough to let people know that you do, in fact, fix cars.

It is hard to compete with places that only provide service when they have a whole website dedicated to such. They have details about brakes, transmission repairs, tires and coupons just waiting for the customers who assume that the local dealership service department charges too much, takes too long and don’t treat their customers right.

Being able to actually schedule service online presents a whole other set of challenges. It is not the customer's concern that your system A does not communicate with system B. They assume that because they were given the option to make an appointment online that it will actually exist when they arrive. I am sure you would agree it makes total sense for that to be the case!

Service of all types is changing at a pace that is hard to keep up with. There was a point in time that we could say “Well, at least  we are better than the cable companies and their ridiculous repair games!” I have not had to request a cable repair service since every commercial on t.v states how they realized that changes needed to be made and they are making them. When are we going to realize the same?

Don’t wait for the manufacturer to demand changes in your process, transparency, and overall customer experience. It should be done because the customer has been begging for it for too long.  Make that a point of discussion within your store or at your next 20 group or service club.

Let me leave you with one hint. My customer experience does not involve getting my nails done in your service lane on Thursday nights.


Let’s Talk About It:

  • What are you doing to step up your customer service?
  • Does Service have a decent amount of real estate on your dealership website?
  • When was the last time you tried to set an appointment for service through your website? Go do it now….