Over the past few years, managers have been working to turn every stone in the dealership regarding opportunities. One phenomenal idea created is called an “upgrade” or “exchange” program. If you’re not up to speed, a sales associate spends time in the service lane, and their job is to speak to potential service customers and work to convert that customer to a new vehicle sale AND retain a trade from the transaction. There are many benefits to working with a client this way and generating a lead in this manner; the biggest advantage is that the customer and the vehicle are in the building without having to set an appointment for a sales pitch. The second benefit is that they’re NOT in the market, so they’re not shopping you.
When working their leads correctly, a vehicle exchange specialist [VES] should be able to determine which customers are in the correct position to present an opportunity. Depending on whether the customer is coming due on a lease, they have never been in for service before, or their vehicle is on its last leg, there are plenty of scenarios to work with daily. They should be working to create a comfortable relationship with the service customers in the waiting lounge, and they should also create a good relationship with the service advisors. This is crucial because when the departments cohesively work together, the customer wins every time.
Communication between the departments and the efficiency of how details are processed should be quicker. The used car manager should have an even better idea of trade value when the vehicle is in for service since they’re essentially getting a free multipoint before having to put a number on the car. Having one person to assist both departments and the customer is always a great way to ensure all necessary details are handled, and the customer has a reference point throughout the process. Even if the customer doesn’t plan to purchase right away, if their experience in service was good, they are likely to return to that sales department and their VES before going anywhere else.
It really all comes down to excellent customer service and making the dealership look like a cohesive team instead of separate departments. With that being said, can a VES be a detriment? The answer to this is - if they are not up to speed on what vehicles and customers are appropriate to present to and their communication between both departments is poor - then yes. A VES needs to be able to communicate with service advisors, managers, and customers during the entire process. If they cannot communicate with all of those parties from the start of the process, then they are not the right person for the job. A skilled VES can never be a poor asset to either department or its customers.