With today’s transformation from a dealership-centric focus to one that is more customer-centric, technology companies are rapidly developing solutions that create better customer experiences. This is indeed necessary for a society that is hyper-focused on convenience and even more focused on saving time.
Customer experience software solutions are definitely something your dealership should have, and if you don’t, you should be looking into them. But merely investing in a software solution that makes the experience better for the customer isn't enough. It is essential to understand that the "customer experience" part of the solution doesn't happen just because the vendor tells you that the software makes it so.
Dealership employees are a vital link in the chain that powers that software, creating the desired experience. As they say, a chain is only as strong as it's the weakest link. If the software your dealership adopts is designed to improve the customer experience but just ends up making things difficult for your staff, creating internal friction, you won’t see the desired outcome, and the solution will ultimately fail.
Service staff just won’t use a complicated system set up in a completely different way to their service workflow, creating friction. Who wants a software where you have to “do work to do work?”. Some systems are so hard to use that employees end up using a clipboard or a post-it to record their notes and then try and catch up later. An average advisor has as many as 15-20 different responsibilities, and so it is not surprising that these tools just don’t’ get used.
In addition to improving the customer experience, any service department software needs to make it easier for your staff to record their work, create reminders, etc. – removing friction on their end just as it does on the customer’s end. Only then will the links in the chain be strong and the technology solution operates smoothly. The ultimate benefits should not just include improving customer experience and retention, but also decreasing turnover, workload capacities, and throughput.
I have personally seen that the way most successful dealers run a frictionless service department is by ensuring that their service advisors do NOT have to focus on the inane and mundane, but instead on what is important to their customers.
By placing the customer front and center, this automatically brings about the desired results and increases acceptance of recommended work, because the customers get the attention they need and want. They feel that the service advisors are being transparent, and the service advisors can build the trust they need to achieve service recommendation success.
Take an inside out view of your technology and analyze all of your software from both aspects – customer and employee friction. If it doesn’t reduce both in this simple analysis, then it is likely to fail entirely at improving your service operation.