Don't ask me too many questions when I schedule an appointment for dealer service

July 16, 2020

Test your auto dealer appointment scheduler to see how frustrating  the experience is for the consumer when it is time to schedule an appointment for dealer service.

Today’s environment

Sometimes when I look at a dealer website I sit back, scratch my head, and wonder if they’ve ever scheduled an appointment for dealer service on their own 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 you can see that it is by design, the dealer wants to collect as much information as they can get. However, the customer wants to give as little information as possible and still make an appointment

How do you bridge this gap? 

It is a very important gap because if you make it really 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! 

The demand for auto dealer online appointment scheduling is definitely growing. According to the J.D. Power 2019 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, customers are shifting their preferred method of scheduling service toward internet scheduling and away from scheduling via phone. In 2015, the industry average preference for these two methods was 20% and 64%, respectively. In 2019 preferences were 28% and 59%, respectively. While Gen Y customers have shifted their preference toward internet scheduling at a faster rate than have Boomers, every generation (with the exception of Pre-Boomers) has increased its preference for internet scheduling and decreased its preference for phone scheduling during the past five years of the study.

The key is to make it easy for your customers to schedule online.

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.  

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 find out more to confirm that the time allocated will be sufficient and if there is more repair needed. If you do need to contact them, and you realize that they need a lot more service, 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, saying “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!!”