Sometimes when I look at an auto dealer website I sit back, scratch my head, and wonder if they have ever scheduled an appointment for dealer service on their website? Not to mention all the bots that pop, and all the flashing offers! It is the farthest from the basic tenets of what makes anything usable today on the internet: convenience and transparency.
For most auto dealer appointment schedulers, by design the dealer wants to collect as much information as they can get, while the customer wants to give as little information as possible but still make an appointment.
How do you bridge this gap?:
It is a very important gap because if you make it difficult, the customer goes elsewhere. Or, maybe they don't go elsewhere, but they pick up the phone and call your call center. Then you scratch your head and wonder why you are only getting between 10 and 15% of your appointments online, even in today's COVID-19 environment.
What should happen:
Ideally what should happen is the customer identifies themselves simply: by either typing their phone number or their email address. You ask them which car they are bringing in (if they have more than one) and present them with a bunch of time slots to make an appointment.
Don't ask them to pick a service advisor!:
You know how many appointments you can make! If you have only five service advisors that day and you can make six appointments per service advisor just put 30 slots up and when those slots are full, move the customer to the next day.
Put up a comment box that lets them just type why they are coming in and if they have any special requests like they want to see a specific service advisor.
Text them back a confirmation stating that you got their request and have their slot reserved. Now read their comments and see if you need to talk to them to confirm that the time allocated will be sufficient and if there is more repair needed. When you do contact them, if you realize that they need a lot more, then offer them a loaner or an Uber voucher.
Just make it easy and make it convenient.
Don't overcomplicate it!:
Their job is to come to your store and your job is to make it easy.
How my ISP does it:
I needed to upgrade my internet from 100Mbps to 500 Mbps. I chatted with my ISP online, and they confirmed the upgrade and said the new charge would hit my credit card once the tech had come in to change and test the new equipment.
The agent asked me to make an appointment for the tech to visit me.
I received a text asking, “do you want to make an appointment?”
I said, “Yes.” They offered me a bunch of slots, I picked one and they sent me a confirmation saying the slot was “reserved” and to send the word “Change” if I needed to change the appointment.
On the day of the appointment, my schedule had changed, and I could not see the technician that day. I sent the word “Change,” they offered me revised slots, I picked another day and the technician came and diagnosed that I needed some further equipment. They asked me to make another appointment via text, and he came that day and fixed my internet. And oh, by the way, on the day of the appointment when he was on the way to my home, I got a text and could track him coming to my house a-la Uber!
Imagine if this is how it worked with online schedulers for auto dealers.
Moral of the story: Take care of the customer!