Monthly Archives : December 2015

LIFT from CFS > 2015 > December
28Dec

Make Your Service Department the Cinderella Story

In most dealerships, the sales department is typically seen as the favorite child, despite the fact that it’s typically the service department that does all the heavy lifting and keeps the house in order. Because of that, sales is usually where new technologies, website widgets, leads and other digital expenditures are introduced. Just take a look at most dealership websites and you’ll find a sad absence of any real service presence – other than perhaps hours of operation, hidden in small print in some corner,  along with a basic service schedule form.

I get it. Acquiring new sales customers is a highly competitive business these days. As a result, dealers tend to focus the majority of their time crafting strategies to do just that. However, it is the service department that offers the greater opportunity to increased revenue — more than any other department. It just needs a little love and attention.

I’ve worked with hundreds of service departments over the years. Those that do well follow a few simple best practices that work. I thought I’d share a few processes that can transform your service department into a well-oiled and more profitable machine.

1.    Use Technology Well:
Dealerships that embrace technology in their service departments operate more efficiently with increased profitably. Technology can help your service department decrease average repair times and better manage the flow of service traffic. It can also increase technician productivity by reducing the amount of down time waiting for parts, or an approval from the customer on a service recommendation. A simple way to start is to monitor the workflow and processes in your service department and identify areas which slow down or halt work progress. This can help locate any pain points that affect the volume of service work your shop can handle. Once the pain points are discovered, look for technology to help. Or, consider making changes by implementing processes to better service your customers and complete more ROs within the same amount of time.

2.    Communication is Key:
How often do your service advisors play phone tag with customers to get service recommendations approved? Typically, the time between the inspection and actually reaching the customer for approval is far too long.

Offer multiple ways for your customers to contact and/or respond to a service advisor is key. While a customer may not be able to take a phone call at work, they can often easily answer an e-mail or text message. Internal communications are equally important. While most dealerships have a CRM to track activities pertaining to sales, not all have integrated their service department into their CRMs. Check with your CRM vendor to see what they offer, and train your service department well on its use. These type of systems allow relevant personnel to check vehicle status, see inspection results and service recommendations. It then becomes a much simpler process for the service department to more efficiently service the customer, answer any status-based question at a glance. It also creates a valuable record enabling advisors to offer more personalized service in future customer interactions. This tends to build trust — a more informed customer also means more approved recommendations and less declined services.

3.    Offer More Service Financing Options:
I bet a good number of your customers decline service repairs today, not because they don’t want them, or find them unnecessary – but for the simple reason, they cannot afford them.

Consider offering multiple ways for the customer to pay for service repairs. Integrate financing options into each process touchpoint: From the moment the customer pulls into your service drive, train your advisors to inform customers that financing options are available to them. The customer is then primed with the knowledge and may not be quite so hasty to decline the recommendations, opting instead to explore financing as a viable option. Copy the successful practices of department stores. Whenever the customer is ready to pay for repairs, train your employees to ask whether they would like to pay with cash, check, credit card or financing. Department stores use this process for a simple reason, it works.

While some OEMs have lines of credit available, these are typically reserved for tier one credit customers and may not be available to the majority of your existing customers. There are alternative financing options that extend credit to a wider range of customers including those with less than perfect credit. Investigate and adopt those that work best for your dealership. A customer may not be able to pay a $1,800 repair bill all at once. But in the ever growing, payment driven society we find ourselves in today, they could be more comfortable with a $75 per month payment option.

4.    Don’t Hide the Service Department on your Website:
According to a 2013 Google study, “The Road to Winning Drivers: What Drivers Want in Automotive Aftermarket Service,” each month, 70 million searches on Google were for aftermarket services. That’s sure to have grown over the last couple of years. However, most consumers have to turn to sources other than their local dealer’s website for information about their vehicle’s service needs. Look at many independent service facility websites and you will find robust information regarding the services they offer, along with some pricing for more basic maintenance services. Many offer blog articles and/or videos explaining the importance of different services as well. Update your website so that your service department presents online just as well as it does offline. Find a robust online appointment scheduling software that integrates well with your website, as well as internally in the shop. Have financing options highlighted.
Take steps now to give your service department the tools it needs for success in 2016 and beyond!

 

(This blog post was also featured on CBT News)

 

 


 

execs_tony

About The Author: Tony Orlando is CFS’ Vice President of Partner Development.  More than 15 years Automotive retail, OEM and third-party lead provider experience. Two years dealership sales and service experience and 13 years with both import and domestic OEMs. This is Tony’s second automotive startup company. He spent three years with TrueCar cultivating its business in the Southwest states. Maintains relationship with over 600 franchised automotive dealers and industry leaders. Tony has a Business Administration and Marketing degree from Mary Washington College Fredericksburg, VA.

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

Read More
22Dec

New POS for 2016 – Video


 

execs_sean

About The Author: Sean Reyes is Vice President of Marketing for Confident Financial Solutions, the nation’s largest provider of auto repair financing. Sean’s experience spans more than 25 years of business development and strategic marketing experience, having worked in the automotive, healthcare, finance and technology industries to serve customers like American Express, Toshiba, Western Digital, Cox Communications, Gateway, Novartis, Microsoft, IBM, Compaq, HP, MyCustomerData, Toyota of Orange, and Fletcher Jones Mercedes Benz. While he has an accomplished portfolio of design, production and coding skills, his strength is in “go-to-market” business modeling and marketing strategies.


 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

Read More
11Dec

Better than a Credit Card

blogpost_salestalktracks

 

What sets CFS apart from other financing programs, more specifically a credit card?

 

The process of assessing the factors which either grant or deny a loan is called “underwriting.”  CFS subscribes to different set of underwriting guidelines than all other forms of credit, including a credit card.  In fact, these underwriting guideline are our own, developed right here within the walls of CFS.  In many cases,  with respect to a borrower’s credit score, CFS is able to go lower than a credit card.  This allows us to approve loans in situations where the borrower might otherwise be denied.

Another key advantage CFS has when compared to most other forms of financing is that our loans are “simple interest” rather than “compound interest.”  Credit cards are all compounding interest.  Credit card POS does not give interest rate specific to customer’s credit, so all consumers with credit cards get hit with the same high, compounding interest rate.

Credit cards are a line of credit, which is different from an unsecured, short-term loan.  With CFS, the consumer pays off the loan and is done with it.  The credit impact of paying off a short-term, unsecured loan is very positive as opposed to having an open line of credit that isn’t being used.  Open lines of credit can be a drain to your credit rating.

You can also view our complete FAQ section by clicking here.

 


 

execs_tony

About The Author: Tony Orlando is CFS’ Vice President of Partner Development.  More than 15 years Automotive retail, OEM and third-party lead provider experience. Two years dealership sales and service experience and 13 years with both import and domestic OEMs. This is Tony’s second automotive startup company. He spent three years with TrueCar cultivating its business in the Southwest states. Maintains relationship with over 600 franchised automotive dealers and industry leaders. Tony has a Business Administration and Marketing degree from Mary Washington College Fredericksburg, VA.

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

Read More
11Dec

Fed up With Service Declines?

blogpost_customerquote

We all know the term “declined service repair.” Increasingly, I hear service departments are having a hard time keeping customers in the service lane to get those declined services done.

Imagine if financing didn’t exist for vehicle purchases. Chances are that very few would ever be able to own one, despite the desire to do so. The same situation applies to service repairs. I bet that a good number of your customers are declining service repairs not because they don’t want them, or think them unnecessary – but for the simple reason that they cannot afford them. And they are probably too embarrassed to admit it. With the CFS Auto Repair Finance Program, you can offer your customers a way to pay for repairs in a more affordable manner. While a customer may not be able to afford a $2,000 repair bill all at once, they could perhaps afford $75 per month.

Our primary goal is to provide a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. Customers apply online via a smart phone, tablet or computer and receive an instant credit decision. With CFS, partner service centers increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue at the service center and enhance overall customer satisfaction. In fact, the average increase in service revenue is 20%; average loan approval rate 46%; and average increase in monthly revenue is $46,000.

The service department is typically the busiest place in any dealership and the staff have an overwhelming amount of different processes and things to worry about throughout the day. This program doesn’t hamper the service process. If anything, it helps them to get additional revenue and get those customers back on the road – it is a good fit all the way around.

For our CFS dealer partners, the key to decreasing service declines and maximizing customer participation lies in making your customers aware that they have other options available to finance the repair as early as possible in the repair process.

Here are a few best practices that can help improve results with your customers:

1. Start awareness early: Don’t wait until a large repair bill is presented, start making your customers aware of this option early in your process. Feature it as a drop down menu on your website under “Service.” Some of our dealers even have it pop up as an option as part of the online scheduling process. When you send service appointment reminders, include a message that financing options are available, with a link for the customer to get pre-approved. CFS also offers its partner stores a full array of point-of-sale (POS) solutions like desktop brochures, posters and stickers. Whether they need a large repair, or a simple oil change, at the very least you have made the customer aware that financing exists.

Also promote that you offer 0% APR for qualified customers when they pay the loan off within 60 days. This could capture the attention of any customers that are perhaps momentarily cash-squeezed and find it more convenient to finance the repair for a couple of months, with no finance charges.

2. Integrate financing options into each process touchpoint: From the moment the customer pulls into your service drive, train your advisors to inform customers that financing options are available to them. The customer is then primed with the knowledge and may not be quite so hasty to decline the recommendations, opting instead to explore financing as a viable option. Copy the successful practices of department stores. Whenever the customer is ready to pay for repairs, train your employees to ask whether they would like to pay with cash, check, credit card or financing. Department stores use this process for a simple reason, it works.

3. Presentation: Whenever a service advisor prepares to present a customer with a significant service recommendation or unexpected repair, make sure that they always inform the customer during that presentation that financing options are available. By making this a consistent process, customers that would normally decline service simply because they cannot afford it, can explore an alternate method of payment that they perhaps can afford. We have found that the customer is then less likely to turn down the service.

4. Don’t get stuck on a number: Don’t assume that just because a $350 repair bill doesn’t seem high to you, that it isn’t a financial burden for the customer. Always offer the customer the option for financing. You may well find that customers take you up on the financing offer for lower repair bills than you’d expect.

 

The bottom line is that the CFS Repair Finance Program allows you to offer customers an additional way to pay for their repairs. By keeping the message in front of your customers throughout the entire service experience, you’ll find that rather than leaving your dealership without completing the repairs, an increasing amount of customers will be happy to get the work done.

 


 

execs_dan

About The Author: Dan Beres is CFS’ Vice President of Corporate Development.  Dan has 20 years experience selling and managing technology/marketing solutions in the auto industry. Managing Partner and EVP of MyCustomerData, 8th employee and key team member building Who’sCalling; Corporate track record at BMW, Mini, MB, Volvo, FCA, Autonation, Sonic, Penske, Asbury and Van Tuyl dealer groups. BA, Eastern Illinois.  Dan also sits on the Board of Directors for Providence Speech and Hearing Center, a nonprofit organization providing services to the speech and hearing impaired of Orange County, California

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

Read More
3Dec

Freedom Dodge Reaches CFS Milestone – Video


 

execs_sean

About The Author: Sean Reyes oversees CFS’ Marketing Division.  Sean’s experience spans more than 25 years of business development and strategic marketing experience, having worked in the automotive, healthcare, finance and technology industries to serve customers like American Express, Toshiba, Western Digital, Cox Communications, Gateway, Novartis, Microsoft, IBM, Compaq, HP, MyCustomerData, Toyota of Orange, and Fletcher Jones Mercedes Benz.  After departing leadership roles healthcare marketing, he went on to run a technology company.  His passion for growth and drive to be on the cutting edge of technology, compelled him to start his own software/internet company, which developed the first “digital” stereo for electronic-giant Sony.  Sean took his knowledge and relationships to Learn.com, where he led the consultative sales effort for a national product line, providing SAAS solutions to enterprise-sized companies.  While he has an accomplished portfolio of design, production and coding skills, his strength is in “go-to-market” business modeling and marketing strategies.  Sean grew up in Southern California and spends his free time with his family.  He relaxes by playing guitar and playing soccer in the local men’s league.

 

Legal Disclaimer: The application generally takes 2-3 minutes. CFS will promptly fund the repair amount once repairs are completed and documents are executed. All loans are subject to approval pursuant to standard underwriting criteria. The CFS 60-Day Interest Free Program applies to approved customers who pay their entire loan off on time with no missed payments. Available amounts, terms and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will be based on an evaluation of your credit history and your state of residence. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and could range from 9.99% to 36.00% APR.

Read More