Service, parts, and repairs account for nearly half of dealership revenue1, yet only about 30% of service visits happen at a dealership.2 Why? People often believe they’ll be overcharged, or the dealership is farther away than their local mechanic, or they think the dealership will try to aggressively upsell them, including pitching them on a new car they’re not interested in thinking about.
The good news is that this is an area with tremendous growth potential. Customers report that a superior customer experience is likely to persuade them to choose a dealership for service, and even for their next purchase3. And this superior customer experience starts online. Shoppers are looking for a convenient, seamless concierge experience in all of their online shopping. Dealerships that can provide it for service customers online can set themselves apart and earn more business.
Here are some key strategies to reach more service customers with a great online experience:
- Optimize Service for SEO
Pretty much anyone looking for anything today starts online. If someone needs an oil change, their first step is to Google it. That’s why your dealership needs to show up in search results, but unfortunately, dealerships usually do not even make the first page of results. Two important tips to improve your SEO:
Make full use of Google My Business
If your dealership is not using Google My Business, start today. It’s absolutely essential if you want to be found online. Ensure that your name, address, and phone number are correct, use a local phone number, and make sure all this information is consistent with your website and any other directory that lists you. Next, utilize the Google My Business categories feature to list your dealership not only for sales, but also specifically for repairs and service. Build out your listing with quality photos and reviews and you’ll up your chances of being found.
Optimize for Mobile and Voice Search
If you get into your car and see a flashing light on your dashboard, you’re going to Google it on your phone– and chances are, you’re going to use voice search. In fact, 82% of mobile users regularly use voice search to find local listings,4 and 46% of voice searchers look up a local business every day5. That means your site must be responsive for mobile– sizing should be right, load time should be outstanding, interactions should be unobtrusive. It also means your site must be optimized for voice searches- keep in mind the longer phrases people typically use when speaking as opposed to typing, and provide plenty of information to answer the questions service customers typically ask.
- Be Transparent About Pricing
When people look online for solutions, comparing prices is easy– or at least, customers want it to be. This means two things about your service prices:
1.) They should be transparent and easy to find. Shoppers want to know this information, and they don’t want to have to try too hard to find it. 2.) They should be competitive. 58% of customers think dealerships overcharge for service, so show that you don’t. And if your prices are higher than the local garage, be transparent about why, showing the benefits customers will get if they choose you, such as greater brand expertise, more skilled technicians, or superior parts inventory.
- Use Photos and Videos
So much emphasis is placed on image and video-based marketing when it comes to your website’s inventory pages. But service can make excellent use of this strategy as well. Take photos of happy customers with their completed repairs and shoot some short videos of their glowing reviews. Do video interviews with your service technicians showcasing their expertise, shoot some before-and-after videos of car repairs. You can also create help videos featuring your team: how to change a tire, how to prep your car for a summer road trip, common winter car mistakes. Your site can be a resource for car owners. And don’t forget to give all your photos and videos clear titles so searching customers can more easily land on your page.
- Take Advantage of AI to Help Customers Find What They Need
AI tools can help your service pages in a few different ways. First, you can track on-site behavior and present service offers to relevant shoppers. Then, if they convert, let them book the appointment on the spot, and send them directions to your store. This allows customers to complete all those steps at once so they can move on with their day– and the more steps they complete, the richer your incoming customer data. You can also automate your marketing efforts, sending out emails reminding customers when they need service and offering relevant coupons and opportunities to book right from the email. This saves work for you and encourages customers to choose you over the mechanic down the block by making their lives easier.
- Set up a Subscription Model for Service
There’s a lot of buzz in automotive about vehicle subscriptions. This is a great model when it comes to service as well. Offer service subscription packages to customers on your website, and in person when they buy a car! Also, set them up to extend past the warranty expiration. Make sure to set up email or text reminders as well. This is a great way to promote return business while saving customers both money and the trouble of having to remember to schedule service.
Even if they can’t service their cars from a smartphone (yet), today’s shoppers do so much online that optimizing the service pages on your website is essential. Providing a great experience online for service helps you show up in searches, improve your reputation, and retain/draw more customers. In today’s shopping climate, it can make all the difference.