Service Center Opportunities: Navigating COVID-19

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Skip Soucie

With COVID-19 relegating everyone indoors and slowing down the economy, dealers everywhere are feeling the impact. It’s important to remember though that the downturn will pass.

There’s no doubt, you’ll likely need to make some changes within your dealership, but it’s how you navigate the downturn that can have you leaving the competition in the dust when the economy returns. 

Look For Opportunities Within Your Service Center 

Typically, the service department takes a backseat to sales. OEM's push quotas and requirements on stocking and selling new vehicles, but since slowed sales are affecting this, you’ll need to look for opportunities wherever you can. 

With the decrease in overall new car sales and increase in used and pre-owned vehicles, it’s probably fair to assume service centers will see higher demand. Here’s where your opportunities are. 

If you can give your customers cost-efficient alternatives, you’ll be ahead of the game. Now is the time to get creative and try something new. Consider a pre-sale (via gift cards) with special service savings now that can be redeemed within the year. It’s a good way to help your customers and at the same time generate cash flow now. 

Lead With Services That Keep Your Customers Safe   

During these difficult times, you’ll want to lead with messages that show you care about your customers and community. Let your buyers know they are family - that their safety and wellbeing is most important to your dealership family. 

If there are any complimentary services that can be offered, such as free air filter changes (with an oil change) or complementary tire services, by promoting these types of services especially on social media, you’ll be letting your customers know that you care and set the stage for the next time they need automotive services. 

Prepare For Business As Usual 

If you have the time, it’s not too soon to start preparing for an economic turn-around. In fact, a downturn is an opportune time to focus on the fundamentals and sharpen your overall marketing strategy. 

When your dealership is running smoothly, you can get away with missing or inaccurate customer data and still reasonably manage marketing and sales functions. That’s not the case when things get tight. Your DMS and CRM data needs to be usable and actionable now more than ever. You’ll want clean and accurate customer data as marketing efforts ramp up for summer events. 

Final Thoughts

COVID-19 will pass, and in the meantime, continue prioritizing marketing messaging that resonates with your customers and community. Sell from your service lanes by being sincere in your efforts to provide services that people need. 

Need advice on how to stay connected and relevant with the right messaging? Or maybe you want to start planning for when things turn around? Let us help build a powerful social media marketing plan for your dealership. 

Contact us

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