Why You Should Care about the Young Folks

Jul 30, 2012 | | 13981 |

Why You Should Care about the Young Folks

By Justin Sprague

Originally published in DrivingSales' Innovation Guide, July 2012

In a CDK Global survey conducted last year, nearly 30% of our over 2,800 dealer respondents said that increasing Parts and Service revenue was their number one goal and priority.

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone.

What could be surprising is how the latest crop of consumers, the “millenials” as they’re called, behaves. We all know them—they are our daughters, neighbors, babysitters.

And beyond being glued to their smartphones, they have some very different shopping behaviors that you need to address in your store.

The Pew Internet Research group recently found some interesting traits on millenials. They are so very different than their parents.  They’re multi-taskers. They are used to having choices.  They want instant gratification. They are FAR less likely to be loyal to brands and switch more often.

Granted, they don’t make up the majority of car sales, but they’ll take these behaviors with them throughout their lifetime. When dealers ask me what I think they need to do in Service to cater to this group, the answer is really the same for every consumer; the millenials are just more fickle and therefore what you do has a bigger effect on them: give them a better consumer experience. 

We asked 22-year-old college graduates their views on Service.

Their perception is that a dealership’s Service department is more expensive. Their parents may have bought them their car, but they are not loyal to their parents' dealership. One bad experience and they bolt. They’re not interested in getting mail or filing paper work. They want everything available to them online. They grew up on Amazon.com where you can buy everything in three clicks. They don’t feel their Service experience should be any different.

Dealers ask me to take a look at their current Service technology and process and recommend what needs to change to get more customer-pay business, especially since warranty work is down. When I walk through dealership’s Service processes, I see again and again that they’re thinking about it in the wrong way. They think of each step as a standalone transaction. Schedule service. Write up the ticket. Do the inspection.

But the key is that it all has to be in one workflow. I see dealerships every day waste valuable time with their customers because they have separate systems for inspection, write-up, scheduling. Systems don’t talk to each other. The screen—and the data—that the customer saw when she booked her appointment isn’t the same when she drives her car into Service.

The ideal Service workflow is this: after she buys the car, you schedule the next appointment before she leaves the dealership.  Don’t let her walk away before she does this—data has shown time and again that customers are much more likely to come back again and again if you start them off right. Or, if she’s scheduling service on your website, make it like the Amazon.com experience. Show her recommended maintenance, either as a menu or a la carte. Show her past and denied work. And when she is in your drive, remind her of all of this right then and there. She is far more likely to buy more if you do this, coupled with a walkaround using a mobile tablet. Print and sign the repair order right there. This is what those millenials are looking for. Fast. Easy. Done at home on their laptop. All of the information accessible in one place. Do business the way they want to do business. 

And if you had a tight Service workflow, all of the pieces would talk to each other. You wouldn’t spend time rekeying or hunting for data because it would all be there right in front of you. And that saves your Service advisor time—time to sell more. Spend more time with a customer.

It can all be done and leads to a much more satisfying experience that makes you more money and saves hours per repair order. This is what large Dealer groups are starting to see through their use of mobile tablets in Service.

And it doesn’t stop there. CDK Global recently conducted a study of the dealership’s workflow and found that the Service Advisor is the hub of the Service dealership process. Communication tools like texting and IP Telephony are essential. You need seamless communication to the technician too, with an automated inspection process, that again, sees everything from the past customer interactions and gives you the opportunity to upsell. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table and not building trust.

So our millenials told us they want an Amazon or Apple-like experience with their cars. They grew up spoiled—all the information they want at the fingertips, instant gratification, all done seamlessly and transparently on their computers or smart phones. With a seamless workflow process in which all the pieces talk to each other and rely on mobile technology, you can give them just that.


Learn the Latest in Service Technology

Justin Sprague