According to the NADA Data mid-year financial report for 2019, approximately 162 million repair orders were written by service departments, totaling over $62 billion in service and parts sales.
According to the 2018 NADA Data annual report, 310 million repair orders were written, totaling over $116 billion in service and parts sales.
The success of fixed operations at your dealership depends on how many customers you can get to come to the service department for regular maintenance and services like the following:
- Tire rotations
- Oil changes
- New tires
- Servicing of cooling systems
- Replacements of transmissions
- Extended warranty service work
If customers are not coming in for this type of work on their vehicles, you could be losing out on profits that are going to local garages and automotive centers.
Fixed Ops Marketing Strategy
Boost profits by improving your fixed ops marketing strategy with the following tips. You need to identify the best strategy to keep your customers coming back to your service department for vehicle maintenance and servicing.
Define Your Key Performance Indicators
You can quantifiably measure the success of your fixed ops strategy by first defining key performance indicators (KPI). Once you identify these KPIs, you can accurately measure whether you have met your objectives.
KPIs can be defined by numerical metrics like site visits, session time, increased revenue, or service orders written.
KPIs can also be defined by percentage metrics such as site bounce rate, ROI on marketing budget, conversion rate, and improvement in the value of the customer lifecycle.
According to entrepreneurial consultant, Bernard Marr, “to be most effective, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) require targets.” He suggests the following advice that can be effective in helping your dealership strategize fixed ops KPIs.
- Strategically define your objectives
- Be specific when defining targets
- Set realistic and reachable goals
- Identify trends and patterns
- Plan for seasonal variations
Identify Customer Awareness of Fixed Ops
Your service department may have a superior team and offer high-quality service. However, customer awareness of your fixed ops services may be low.
You cannot assume that customers who purchase a vehicle at your dealership will automatically come back for maintenance and servicing without having a deeper awareness and benefiting from special offers.
Focus on the following checklist to identify customer awareness levels:
- Website – Make sure your website prominently features information about your fixed ops like the service department, body shop, and parts department. List contact information, shop hours, and links to offers, specials, and parts.
- Blog – Identify if there is a balance with your blog content on topics pertaining to vehicles like new rollouts and features as compared to showcasing your service department with customer tips and helpful information.
- Showroom – The showroom focuses on featuring new model vehicles, brochures and information, and quick access to your sales team. Make sure the high-quality service department is featured somehow in the showroom.
- Sales Team – It’s important that your sales team is cognizant of reminding customers during the vehicle buying process that your dealership has an excellent service department that offers quality maintenance and servicing.
Ascertain Your Fixed Ops Digital Footprint
The online identity of your dealership is your digital footprint. It is information that sets your dealership apart like your website, blog, social media accounts, or advertising.
Review your digital marketing strategy to ascertain whether you have been adequately creating an online digital footprint for your fixed ops or if this has been neglected.
It’s possible you have focused more attention on your sales department.
The “future of car buying is online” according to Think With Google research that shows 92% of consumers search the Internet before buying a vehicle. They want to take 360-degree digital test drives, research price ranges and features, see comparisons, and find out if certain vehicles will fit their lifestyle.
Use this checklist to ascertain the health of your fixed ops digital footprint:
- Search Health – If your website, blog, or paid search ads are displaying in SERPs (search engine results pages) for the specific services your fixed ops provide, your digital footprint is healthy. If not, it’s not healthy and your digital marketing strategy for fixed ops needs an intervention.
- Relevancy Health – If your digital marketing strategy is healthy, your online footprint will be relevant to current consumer real-time searches and sending people to applicable websites, blogs, or paid search ads. Search needs are met. If not, an intervention is necessary to improve relevancy health.
- Conversion Health – If your online footprint and digital marketing strategy is effectively moving leads through the marketing funnel for fixed ops and converting them to customers, you have good conversion health.
If not, you need to start again at search health and work back through to conversion health. All three need to be in working order to get results.
Improving Your Fixed Ops Digital Footprint
When a consumer purchases a vehicle from your dealership, their customer lifecycle begins. As you cultivate that lifecycle, they will likely be interested in bringing their vehicle in for regular maintenance and servicing as necessary.
With continued cultivation, the likelihood increases that another vehicle will be purchased from your dealership in the future.
An important part of cultivating the customer lifecycle involves understanding the mindset of today’s tech savvy consumer and changing trends in digital marketing.
You can improve your fixed ops digital footprint by following these three steps.
1. Optimize Online Content for Relevancy
Remember the three pillars of a healthy fixed ops digital footprint: search health, relevancy health, and conversion health. You can start improving your footprint by optimizing online content for relevancy.
Think With Google research shows that today’s average consumer will only need to stop by your dealership two times since they are getting most of their real-time advice searching online — and mostly through mobile search.
That means your website and blog must be optimized for relevancy pertaining to consumers' vehicle searches.
- Consistent Messaging – Make sure that in your omnichannel approach, all digital media platform messaging is consistent.
When consumers click through to your website or blog, they need to find up-to-date content about your service department, body shop, and parts department.
- Guided Funnel – As these leads view your online fixed ops content, make sure that they are easily directed through a guided funnel. They need to have a clear pathway to follow your call to action (CTA) from the link clicked.
Website pages must be relevant to the digital media that brought them there.
2. Enhance Paid Search Ads for Mobile Search
Further research from Think With Google shows that there are five pivotal digital moments for today’s car buyers that you need to know about:
- Quality – Which vehicle is the highest-quality with the best features
- Lifestyle – Identifying which vehicle is the best fit for their current lifestyle
- Budget – Determining which vehicle price fits their budget
- Dealership – Ascertaining the optimum place to purchase this vehicle from
- Deals – Figuring out whether or not they are getting a great deal
Mobile searches account for 70% of vehicle searches online for information like trade-in value, features, MSRP, and list prices. Focus on enhancing your paid search ads for mobile search rather than desktop searches.
Your dealership likely already has campaigns to drive people to your website and showroom for a vehicle purchase.
However, for the purposes of optimizing your digital footprint for fixed ops, hone your ad content with the long-term customer in mind.
Focus on how you can meet the needs of today’s consumer through mobile search:
- Quality – Showcase the high-quality workmanship of your service team
- Lifestyle – Show how they’ll benefit from service that fits their busy life
- Budget – Let the customer know that you value their trust in your dealership
- Dealership – Give reasons why your service department is the best option
- Deals – Offer specials on maintenance like oil changes or tire rotations
Make sure ad content enables direct contact with your dealership so they can easily call to speak to one of your professional service team members or find directions.
You want the consumer to realize that your fixed ops will give them the highest value for the service rendered.
3. Leverage the Power of Consumer Reviews
Reviews matter. Approximately 90% of consumers check online reviews before making a purchase.
Leverage the power of consumer reviews for your service department.
- Website – You can post customer reviews on your website. However, consumers visiting your site may find too many glowing ones disingenuous.
- Linking – Link to customer reviews of your dealership on your website from sites like your Facebook business page or Dealer Rater.
- Testimonials – Highlight customer testimonials on your YouTube channel in engaging ways showing how they benefited from your service department.
Periodically check major review sites to see how well your service center is doing in the eyes of the customers. Check on your competition to see how they’re doing as well.
When creating testimonials for your website, blog, YouTube channel, or other marketing platform, utilize your customer relationship management (CRM) software to identify the right customers who may be interested in sharing their experiences with your service center.
Implement This Fixed Ops Marketing Strategy Today
When your customers purchase a vehicle from your dealership, they are not thinking about having to bring it in for maintenance or servicing. They’re ready to drive off the lot and enjoy their newly purchased vehicle.
From the moment they start the buying process, your sales team can cultivate the idea that they should bring their vehicle in for regular maintenance and servicing when necessary.
Determine your key performance indicators and identify customer awareness of your fixed ops services. Ascertain your fixed ops digital footprint and implement this strategy for improvement.
You can work with the professional J&L Marketing team to implement this fixed ops marketing strategy to increase profits at your dealership.