How to Maximize Dollars per RO with CFS Financing
As with any dealership vendor, maximizing the success and return-on-investment requires using the technology or service at maximum efficiency. You can have the best service or technology out there, but if it’s not used properly, it won’t perform. Imagine if you kept all your cars hidden behind your dealership. When people drive by, they simply an empty lot. That would certainly reduce your walk-in traffic because people cannot desire or be attracted to a vehicle if they can’t see it. That’s why dealers have hangtags on rearview mirrors, or offers painted on car windows — so that customers get interested.
Well, the same principal of creating interest through visibility applies to offering financing in the service department. If customers don’t know about it, they won’t take advantage of it.
Here are five best practices to increase service revenue through maximizing service financing opportunities in your service drive. Think of it as a health check to help improve the profitability of your service department.
- Marketing – The availability of service financing should be visible at every touchpoint a consumer comes across. On the Internet, be sure at the very minimum that your dealership has some clear mention on your home page and service page that you offer easy service financing. The fact that you offer financing through CFS should also be included in all print and traditional marketing, to attract customers who need repairs, but can’t afford them.
Financing options can be an excellent customer acquisition tool and should also be present in all service-related digital communications such as service appointment reminders. Simple awareness that financing is available will pique the interest of your customers and increase adoption, which can lead to increased average RO.
- In Dealership Point of Sale Awareness – While a customer may be aware that your dealership offers CFS financing, especially if the message is delivered multiple times through marketing, it may have slipped their mind when they come into the dealership for service. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that CFS financing is visible at every touchpoint in your dealership. This starts by including tear-off stands at every service advisor’s desk, as well as in the service waiting area. Posters in the waiting lobby and with stickers on the doors, windows and service advisor’s desks, can also offer excellent visibility. Also consider adding a sentence about it on the top of your multi point inspection results you present to the customer.
- Employee Interactions – One of the most important areas to concentrate is to ensure that all service employees who interact with customers have the proper words tracks and processes in place to offer CFS financing at every opportunity.
Train your staff on the basics of the program, the ease with which the customer can apply, and ensure that advisors inform customers financing is available when presenting recommended maintenance: “Get everything done today, make your first payment 30 days from now, no interest for 60-days…Here’s how to apply!” This could easily push any customer about to decline for whatever reason into accepting the full recommendations. Just as in sales — if you don’t ask for it, you probably won’t get it.
- Keep It Simple – The service department sees more customers per month than any sales department. Service staff are extremely busy, so adding another process into their day can seem overwhelming. That is why it’s important to keep the financing application process simple for both the service advisor and the customer. And it IS simple – just send the customer a URL and they can fill out the form in under 5 minutes. Simple things such as bookmarking CFS on every computer, ensure advisors save the password for myCFSapp.com, be sure advisors know how to upload the RO into the CFS app and, lastly, add CFS on speed dial to the scanner or fax machine, to simplify the process for them.
- Consider Incentives – Simply following the above four steps can increase your CFS application percentage, resulting in increased ROs and revenue – and that’s certainly something every dealer principal, general manager, or service director wants.
However, similar to events such as that big tire sale push when you offer service advisors spiffs for sales, you may want to consider doing something similar for service financing – to tap that competitive spirit within them. Simple spiffs such as $20 for the 1st application of the month for each advisor, or $20 per loan moving forward, can encourage advisors to be more aggressive when informing customers that financing is available.