Monthly Archives : May 2017

30May

Service Acquisition Efforts Should Begin with Reviews

I’ve talked in past blogs about how service departments, while the top revenue producers in most dealerships, are typically the least visible in marketing – whether that’s traditional, digital, or even on the dealership’s website.

Well, while it is important to ensure a healthy online presence for your service department, there is one key component that needs further discussion as I have not yet mentioned it very much — online review sites. It is of vital importance as they are in fact the largest consumer influencer in deciding where to service their vehicle.

Would you hire a contractor to fix your roof without checking their reviews? What about something as small as buying a new toaster? These days, most consumers search the web for information about whatever it is they are looking for to see what other people have to say about it prior to making a final decision. And that holds true in the automotive industry both in sales AND service. Yet most dealerships focus review-building efforts on the sales side, even though their service drive sees anywhere from 4 to 10 times the number of customers every day.

According to marketing agency, Vendasta, 92 percent of consumers now read online reviews – up from 88 percent in 2014. An ongoing review strategy is very important as 44 percent stated that a review must have been written within a month of their looking at it in order to be relevant!

And, perhaps even more important, 23 percent will visit the business after reading positive reviews. Imagine if close to 25 percent of all people looking to get their car serviced in your area chose you… that would make for a pretty strong customer acquisition effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Online reviews in general help your dealership’s overall reputation. By asking both sales and service customers for reviews you exponentially increase the number of reviews consumers can read. If a positive experience was had, your star rating on Google and other sites will increase, which benefits all departments in the dealership.

When it comes to vehicle service, there are three primary concerns a consumer will have: 1) Are they going to spend more than at another shop; 2) Will the experience be good; and 3) Can they trust your dealership not to upsell unnecessary repairs?

So, keep these in mind and work on these points. Cultivate positive experiences and then ask your customers to leave reviews about their service experiences. As a result, that anonymous customer seeking a place to service their vehicle will be more likely to see current reviews, trust them and bring their business to you, over a competitor.

About Confident Financial Solutions:

Confident Financial Solutions is a consumer finance company that offers auto repair financing to service centers and their customers. Its 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, strategic partner service centers increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue at the service center and enhance overall customer retention. Based in Boulder, Colorado, CFS is the consumer’s choice for auto repair loans.

 

Media Contact:

 Sara Callahan

Carter West Public Relations

727-288-2159

scallahan@carterwestpr.com

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3May

CFS Announces Top 5 Auto Repairs Service Customers Finance

Boulder, CO – May 3, 2017 — Confident Financial Solutions, (CFS) a consumer finance company that offers auto repair financing to service centers and their customers, today announced that the top five auto repairs service customers finance are:

  • Tires
  • Timing Belts/Water Pumps
  • Transmission or Engine Work
  • Brakes
  • Struts and Suspension Work

According to Richard Counihan, CEO of CFS, these five repairs are all expensive and not front of mind to your average vehicle owner, so it can be difficult for customers to come up with the needed cash for the repair. In fact, a recent study from the New York Fed states that one-third of Americans can’t come up with $2,000 to deal with an emergency such as a home repair, medical crisis or car accident.

“We have all experienced surprise repair estimates that are $ 2,000 or more. So, what is that customer to do when faced with an unexpected auto repair bill if they happen to be one of that 33 percent who simply cannot handle the financial burden? You could argue that they should simply use a credit card. However, thirty two percent of Americans already have high credit card debt and may not have the available credit to cover the expense,” Counihan stated.

Counihan recommends that dealers consider offering more payment options. Many dealerships simply offer the normal cash, debit or major credit card (including OEM branded ones) to their customers. There are, however, other alternatives that exist for service financing. The more options provided to the customer, the more likely they will accept the repairs based on the terms that best suit their needs. This then relieves them of any anxiety due to unexpected repair costs, and provides the dealership with the service revenue.

Counihan also suggests dealers consider printing payment options broken down into monthly payments on the multi point inspection presented to the customer, similar to car payments in the F&I Office. Dealers can also include information about service financing with service appointment confirmations and reminders. By offering service financing in this way, and aggressively marketing it to the customer at every opportunity, service centers can capture more repair work and enjoy an increase in accepted recommendations as customers now have a workable way to afford it.

“In car sales it is important to help that customer buy a car on terms that work for them, within their financial budget and constraints. It’s should be same in service — customers that are offered alternative payment methods – such as low or zero interest short-term financing – tend to perceive that offering as a helpful act by the dealership, which helps create a relationship and a loyal customer,” said Counihan.

CFS is experiencing strong growth and is now in over 1,200 retailers in 38 states, including over 400 franchised new-car dealers. The recent growth is largely due to CFS’ highly-effective service marketing integration with top vendors including Dynatron and AutoLoop, along with new technology initiatives that have taken service financing results to the next level.

While program results vary from store to store, CFS financing produces up to 100 monthly applications submitted per service center. By offering financing for service work, CFS creates an untapped revenue generator for auto service centers and helps capture work that otherwise might go elsewhere. Many CFS strategic partner service centers see an average 20 percent increase in monthly revenues; an increase in ROs and decrease in Service Declines; and bigger ticket ROs as customers can now get ALL the repairs done including transmissions, tires, collision, insurance deductible and more. In addition, the program provides affordable payments based on simple interest rather than compounding interest; about 50 percent customer approval rate; loan approvals as low as mid-500 credit scores; loan terms available for 12-36 months; and increased customer retention.

CFS provides a favorable alternative to credit card financing, resulting in increased credit approvals and immediate access to capital. The average CFS loan amount the dealership sees is about $1,500. Customers can be approved for up to $7,500 and 83% of loans approved are for amounts larger than the repair estimated, leaving room for any additional needed work. Customers apply online via a smart phone, tablet or computer and receive a credit decision in less than five minutes. Service centers get paid in 24-48 hours. With CFS, strategic partner service centers further increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue and enhance overall customer retention.

 

Dealers interested in finding out more about CFS’ auto repair financing program for service center customers can call: 720-836-1129; or visit: www.mycfsapp.com

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About Confident Financial Solutions:

 

Confident Financial Solutions is a consumer finance company that offers auto repair financing to service centers and their customers. Its 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, strategic partner service centers increase activity on the service drive, increase revenue at the service center and enhance overall customer retention. Based in Boulder, Colorado, CFS is the consumer’s choice for auto repair loans.

 

Media Contact:

 Sara Callahan

Carter West Public Relations

727-288-2159

scallahan@carterwestpr.com

 

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1May

The Answer to Future Service Business: Technology & Convenience

According to an article in Tire Business, it is essential for automotive service repair facilities to adopt and embrace technology. Last year was the first year Millennials outnumbered Baby Boomers and GenX in the workplace, representing 35 percent of the workforce vs. GenX at 33 percent and Baby Boomers at 29 percent, and that percentage will only increase.

Shopping on the InternetMillennials have grown up with technology that enables one-click ordering, instant access to information and just about any convenience you can imagine. They simply expect businesses to accommodate those wishes and give their loyalty to companies that do.

With five generations in the marketplace, it can be difficult for dealerships to tailor their advertising to everyone. However, a good commonality for all generations is convenience. It doesn’t matter which generation a consumer belongs to; time and convenience are important to them when choosing where to spend their money – and that’s especially true in the automotive service industry.

For instance, millennials are used to convenient payment methods including Apple and Samsung Pay. They like to be able to pay for items with their phones or watches. It is convenient, simple, and they don’t even need a wallet. Today, many consumers would rather load up their Starbucks account to pay via smartphone than open their wallets to slide a card. In fact, according to the Starbucks COO, 25 percent of all transactions at Starbucks are via mobile payment!

As technology and payment convenience become more important to consumers, those dealerships that fail to adapt and offer service customers all available payment options – cash, traditional credit, mobile payments and financing – will increasingly find consumers leaving with a less than satisfactory experience – and today it’s all about the customer experience.

Of course, payment options are only a small piece of customer convenience. It extends to every aspect of the transaction including ease of scheduling, speed of transaction, delivering the vehicle repair within the promised timeframe and the quality of work performed.

If you can master all of these things and provide a frictionless experience to your customers on THEIR terms, you should find that they appreciate your service and return. And that’s not all – they will also recommend you to others and bring family and friends. The younger generations are more in tune with the power of word-of-mouth and online reviews – they are more than willing to share their experiences with the world.

Technology exists that can decrease friction in every area of the sales and service end of the car-buying experience. Consider whether it’s better to gain the business at the convenience of the customer, or lose the business because you don’t have the technology or options in place that your customers need and demand.

 

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