5 Ways to Improve Service Scheduling at your Dealership

by Kristine on April 12, 2022

Service scheduling is the lifeblood of a dealership. Poorly configured service scheduling can introduce workflow inefficiencies that can harm your bottom line. This can lead to dealerships losing customers due to poor customer service and a lack of attention to their vehicles. By implementing these five suggestions, you will improve your service scheduling, creating an environment where technicians can work more efficiently and focus more on client service instead of hunting down parts and tools. Subsequently, you will also increase your customer satisfaction, leading to returning customers and referrals.

1. Online appointment scheduling

With online appointment scheduling, customers can book their appointments at their convenience. Customers no longer need to wait for the dealership to open on Monday morning to schedule their service appointment. Customers can schedule their appointments outside of business hours or during lunch breaks; they can book when it is most convenient for them.

At the same time, your dealership staff isn't burdened with more phone calls during busy times, and employees can focus more on serving customers in the showroom or on the lot instead of answering phones or making appointments. 

Online appointment scheduling also has proven benefits for increasing customer satisfaction and retention by improving communication and providing convenience to customers who want or need it. Bottom line: online appointment scheduling will help increase sales and improve customer satisfaction by allowing you to better serve your customers at the most convenient time for them!

2. Intuitive calendar scheduling 

To keep your dealership's service department running smoothly, you need a scheduling system that allows you to see your day or week at a glance easily. You also want it to be easy for your customers to schedule service online and push their appointment reminders and other updates to their calendars. 

At the same time, you need a tool that allows your team to see what the service department has going on at all times. Whether you're at home, in the office, or out of town, it should be easy to log in to an online calendar from any device with an internet connection so you can quickly add, reschedule, or cancel appointments as needed. 

3. Appointment reminders 

As you begin to look at the ways you can improve service scheduling at your dealership, one of the first things that should come to mind is appointment reminders. These are perhaps the most crucial factor in improving your customer experience before they even come in for their appointment. 

Appointment reminders help decrease no-shows, increase customer satisfaction and retention, as well as save time and money. They're so vital that they've become an industry standard—so much so that if a customer doesn't receive them, they could consider this a bad experience.

Typically, dealerships utilize two types of reminders: email and text message. While it seems simple enough—to send out reminder emails and text messages—it does require some work. You need systems in place for sending out these reminders on time for every service appointment booked across all departments within your dealership because missed appointments cost dealerships thousands of dollars each year due to lost revenue due to stalls or empty bays in both Fixed Operations and sales. 

4. Quickly access service history

Autonomous vehicle technology is on the rise, and it's almost certain that this trend will continue to gain traction in the future. Some dealerships have already jumped on board and are starting to automate their service scheduling operations. 

Automation is proven to increase productivity and efficiency. For example, a dealership can increase its labor sales per RO by using an automated system that guides technicians through work orders and auto-populates service history records—tasks they used to do manually. It's the same at other dealerships: customers can easily access information about previous visits online or through an app like the past-visit history log. This makes life easier for customers and your techs, who can service vehicles more efficiently with a detailed checklist of each car's previous issues.

5. Service technicians work orders and access to vehicle information.

Service technicians should have a simple, easy-to-access work order system to access customer records (including service history and contact information), vehicle information, parts requests, and estimates. Especially if you're experiencing a shortage of service technicians, it's important to make this process as easy as possible for them.

Equally important is giving technicians the ability to create these same documents at their workstations. When your staff can create new parts requests or estimates with just a few keystrokes, it saves time—and when you save time, you earn more money. Automating as much of the process as possible will help your team focus on tasks that require human interaction and decision-making instead of administrative paperwork.

This part's where you can make the most significant difference in how quickly customers get out of the shop: A dealer operating a manual inspection process? Time lost! But a system that allows inspectors and technicians to record inspections via tablet? That's a lot more efficient than paper checklists and sticky notes! 

Creating more efficient service scheduling systems at your dealership can help save you time, money and help improve ROI.

Choosing the right car dealership software is important for running a successful business. Automotive management software can help you save time and money by keeping track of inventory, helping you communicate with customers, and streamlining service scheduling. 

Maintaining an organized schedule at your dealership is crucial to keeping your business flowing smoothly. Using automotive management software to efficiently manage service scheduling will help keep your customers happy, save your employees time and effort, and strengthen their overall experience at your dealership. Streamlining this process can improve the workflow at your shop, taking the stress off employees' shoulders so they can provide better customer service.

Topics: service scheduling, dealership management software, improve appointment management