Editor’s Note: The following is an article authored by Zac Stringam of ADP Lightspeed offering insight into how dealers can update service departments to generate repeat business.

There is a lot going on in the backdrop. Customers – especially the younger ones – perceive that a dealership’s service department is more expensive. They are less loyal and more likely to go to independents. So you ask, how do we get more customer-pay business? It comes down to improving your customer’s experience. It’s all about the process, the people, and the technology.

The Service Department – Your Gateway To Repeat Business

First, we as an industry need to realize the fact that the service department can be cumbersome, time consuming, and ultimately do not lead to customer retention. Then we need to adopt changes that can make this whole workflow much more streamlined.

Walking through a dealership’s service processes I see that they’re thinking about it in the wrong way. Right now, it’s a series of transactions. What it should be is a continuous flow of experiences that spans the lifecycle of the customer’s major unit.

Great service experiences will linger with your customer. Hook them now and you’ll have them throughout the cycle. Are you setting up that first appointment before your customer leaves your dealership with their new unit? Do you have an easy way to do that? If you don’t you’re missing out on repeat business.

Think of how your dentist does it – you can’t leave that place without setting up a new appointment. They do it before you pay your bill. Those people follow a tight process to get you to come back in. They’re not thinking about it like a transaction. They’re thinking in the long-term customer lifecycle way. And my dentist is vigilant on email and text reminders. Why? To reduce no-shows. Same rule applies at the dealership level.