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Client Tips

Service Scheduling – Meet Shop Watch

Posted by Manuel Soto Thursday, March 12, 2015

We’d like to introduce you to the service-scheduling feature within our Shop Watch system, which was recently acquired along with Service Dynamics. Shop Watch is a Service Management System designed to take communication, organization, efficiency and accountability to a whole new level, resulting in improved CSI, customer retention and profitability.

Most auto dealer websites include a feature that allows customers to schedule service appointments. However, these forms usually are very basic. They just create a submission that goes into a CRM and/or generate an e-mail to the service department notifying them that a customer would like to schedule an appointment. It’s not that common for dealerships to actually have a live, dynamic service-scheduling tool tied directly into their DMS. That’s where Shop Watch comes in. It starts with loading your shop properly with appointments and your customers making real-time on-line appointments. Most problems in the service drive occur due to a breakdown in communication with the customer or internally between departments.

The service-scheduling feature of Shop Watch is configurable to each individual dealership and is very intuitive to use. We take the time to meet in person with our clients and customize this feature to meet the specific needs of each dealership, be it a single point dealer, or a large group.

While online scheduling is growing, we’ve found that currently, over 75% of service customers actually prefer to call into the dealership to schedule service appointments. This results in substantial phone traffic into the service department, which places a heavy burden on the receptionist and service advisors. And that’s not the only problem. Unfortunately, in most dealerships, receptionists and/or BDCs simply aren’t equipped or knowledgeable enough to schedule service appointments effectively, which can cause the customer to be bounced around and placed on hold. This certainly doesn’t create a positive customer experience.

Shop Watch has been designed so that employees can quickly learn to use it with little or no dealership/service department experience. Questions can be answered and service appointments set by advisors, BDC representatives and even receptionists, with very limited training. It enables any user to make VIN-specific appointments. Shop Watch can even generate pre-written ROs on the three DMS systems we are currently certified to integrate with – CDK Global, Reynolds & Reynolds and DealerTrack. In addition, it allows users to schedule these appointments while correctly load balancing the shop. One common problem to dealerships is that some advisors like to steer customers towards, or away from, dates based on the advisor’s schedule and any commissions they might gain (or lose) through that scheduling. Shop Watch’s service-scheduling feature ensures that a dealership does not miss out on service opportunities because of inefficient scheduling.

The current rise in the number of recalls has resulted in an increase of calls into dealerships service department. With Shop Watch, the BDC has the ability to search and sort recalls by number and quickly deliver the correct information to the customer and schedule their appointment, without having to refer the customer to an advisor. If parts are needed for the repair, the BDC can order those in preparation for the appointment. This helps improve the customer experience and CSI -- and prevents the common situation whereby the customer arrives for their recall appointment, only to find the parts are not in stock -- resulting in one very unhappy customer.

Should the customer chose to schedule their appointment online, everything is fully integrated -- these are also VIN-specific appointments which generate pre-written ROs dynamically within the dealer’s DMS -- just as if the customer had called in the appointment. The web interface is designed to be highly intuitive for the customer. Customers are able to make appointments without the need to create a username and password and can view their service history live, on demand. This is accomplished via a real-time lookup of the customer within the DMS. Shop Watch only requires a last name, phone and e-mail address to look up a customer. If the DMS search matches 2 out of 3 of the answers, the system is able to create the VIN-specific appointments easily. This prevents the customer from bouncing off of your website without making an appointment.

Shop Watch effectively brings the dealership’s communication together. It improves the appointment process, the ability to communicate with customers and raises CSI.

Our next blog will focus on how Shop Watch prevents backlogs in the service department and maximizes shop capacity.

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