I have been studying Amazon and unknown to me, they seem to follow the same principle that I promote to dealers. I call it the Circle of Convenience and Trust.
Amazon obsesses about convenience. I am sure some of you suffer from the “brown box syndrome.” A brown box arrives on your doorstep every day. Amazon makes it so easy that I sometimes order something in between two meetings — in just 30 seconds. Amazon’s ease of use is working for them. Check out these numbers!
But all of this would mean nothing if Amazon didn’t offer such a high level of transparency and did not push that in their marketing. They inform you when the package has shipped, you can track it to your house and, when it is within your vicinity, they even show you the delivery van a-la Uber!
Today’s consumers are so used to this type of convenience they now expect it from every retailer including your dealership. The most forward-thinking dealers are responding with services such as pick-up and delivery for vehicle service. I have seen this done many times and it dramatically increases CSI and service department profitability. Today’s customers prefer to do business with you from the convenience of their homes.
Every retailer is getting in on this game. Panera Bread recently rolled out its delivery program across the United States, and now delivery revenue is 30% of all digital sales. And that’s for sandwiches and coffee! Domino’s Pizza even allows consumers to order their favorite pizza without doing anything! Just open the app and, via a countdown, you can place the same order, have it delivered to the same address and pay for it by the same credit card! Talk about 0-Click ordering!!
While getting a pizza, sandwich or burrito delivered may save you 10-30 minutes over going to the restaurant to pick it up, when it comes to vehicle service, pickup and delivery can save your customers considerably more time.
How long does it typically take your customers to drive to the dealership, wait in the service lane to get checked in, talk to a service advisor, get a loaner vehicle, and then drive back to their office or home? 1 hour? 1.5 hours? Then you have to add in the time it takes to return to the dealership, drop off the loaner, finish the paperwork, get in their vehicle and drive to their home or back to the office — Another hour? Maybe 1.5 hours? And that’s if there are no surprises, bad traffic, advisor at lunch, etc., etc.
If it is important to your customers to save 20 minutes in their day by getting food delivered, how can your dealership expect them to give up 2-3 hours to drop off and pick up their vehicles at your dealership? My best bet is that, in the case of regular maintenance, they will avoid your dealership altogether and take their car into the closest Jiffy Lube!
Think it’s too expensive to provide a pickup and delivery option? In some dealership’s pilot programs, I have seen a 57% lift in RO dollars per vehicle that is picked up, serviced, and then delivered back to the customer.
Pickup and delivery isn’t just for a dealership’s “elite” customer base. This service should be for all your customers. They all shop on Amazon and eat at Panera Bread and Dominos and so EXPECT this type of convenience. Customer convenience is a competitive advantage, whether you are selling burritos or servicing /selling automobiles.
Don’t let the cross-town competition steal your customers because they provide a more convenient service option. The longer your dealership waits to accommodate your customers, the harder it will be to catch up and get those customers back.
Author: Ujj Nath
Ujj Nath is the Founder and CEO of myKaarma (www.mykaarma.com), the cloud-based conversational commerce software that’s revolutionizing the auto service industry. He has 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and automotive industry executive. In 1990, prior to myKaarma, Ujj founded Syncata, a major provider of business consulting and systems integration services. In 2004 he successfully negotiated the sale of the company to ProQuest Business Solutions (NYSE: PQE), which was subsequently acquired by Snap-On Tools (NYSE:SNA). At Snap-On, Ujj was Vice President of Global Accounts and headed the Professional Services Organization for Snap-on Business Solutions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.