The Takata airbag recall crisis last year led several states to declare June as airbag recall month. But it shouldn’t just be airbags. And it shouldn’t just be June. Let’s declare June, July and August as the season to focus on all recalls. The summer months are a natural time to highlight vehicle safety (despite high gas prices a record number of drivers are planning a road trip this summer), especially when you consider more than one in four vehicles on US roads have at least one open recall.
A targeted approach to drive-in recall repairs is a solid way to keep business high through the summer while keeping your customers safe. Recall work can also boost your bottom-line. Our internal data pegs the average RO anywhere from $370 to $430. The average recall RO is upwards of $560.
Yes, recall work can be a headache because you have to coordinate customer communications, special parts ordering and delivery, and service lane scheduling. A few tips and best practices can alleviate the pain while increasing results. Here are some suggestions.
Communicate across departments. Management may spearhead campaigns, but everyone needs to be on-board for them to run smoothly. This includes service advisors, your parts team, and your BDC. Start by narrowing down what recalls you want to tackle. Pick three or four to start. Research what each requires. Some are easy fixes, others require a vehicle inspection first. Then create a shared Google spreadsheet listing the recalls you are able to fix, parts availability, and specific requirements. Designate a parts employee to update the doc on a daily basis, and hold quick daily parts availability meetings. This real-time communication ensures everyone is on the same page and prevents a BDC agent or service employee from scheduling a service that can’t be fulfilled.
Train your staff. Every manufacturer provides information about safety recalls. Visit your brands websites to download information about recalls and distribute to your staff, especially BDC agents. They are on the front-lines with customers and need to be able to speak knowledgeably about why a repair is needed and how it will be completed.
Be proactive. Capturing open recalls in the lane is not the best option because the customer may not have time to leave the vehicle and you may not have parts in stock. Instead, work proactively by pulling targeted lists of customers from your CRM so you can notify customers before they show up for an appointment.
Proceed with a plan. An omni-channel approach is the best way to reach out to targeted customers. Start with an email notification about the recall followed by a series of texts and/or phone calls over a 45-day period. If your lists are long, consider breaking them down into increments of 100 customers. BDC agent burn-out is a real worry if they’re working from a list of 1,000 names and not gaining any traction. Don’t forget advertising on your website. Designate space on the homepage for recall information.
Measure your metrics. You don’t know what’s making you money if you don’t measure activities. Trace key KPIs including contact, appointment, and service rates. A good contact rate for service is a minimum of 30%; appointment scheduling should hit 20% at the bare minimum. If your contact rate is low, first look at your customer lists. They may be filled with inaccurate contact information or they’re too unwieldy. Start with a smaller subset that has the most opportunity for success. A low appointment rate may indicate agents need more training or there’s miscommunication leading agents to call on recalls your shop can’t fix.
Get help when you need it. If you don’t have a service BDC, or agents are struggling to answer inbound calls and tackle outbound opportunities, outsourcing some activities can alleviate the pressure. There are many external dealership-focused BDC service providers that will ramp up or down depending on your needs. It’s especially important to get help if you have safety recalls that must be communicated to stay in your OEMs good graces.
Another option is to leverage technology platforms like a Digital Voice Assistant (DVA) to handle inbound calls so employees can focus on outbound revenue-producing opportunities. When an existing customer calls for an appointment, the most advanced DVAs can cross-check open recalls against VIN and suggest adding services. The DVA integrates with your scheduling tool and DMS so only recalls that you are prepared to address are offered.
Summer is here – make it a season of recall repairs. Use these tips and best practices to help create effective marketing campaigns and streamline internal processes. The payoff will be safer vehicles for your customers and a healthier bottom-line for your store.
To hear more about this topic check out our episode of PDS On The Rocks: June is Service Recall Repair Month
Tiffany Peeler is the VP of Sales & Operations for Proactive Dealer Solutions. Tiffany joined the Account Management team in 2014 and quickly became recognized for driving growth and retention with her expertise in developing and delivering effective coaching solutions. Today, Tiffany leads the sales and fulfillment teams with a laser focus on delivering industry-leading solutions to improve upon the customer experience and radically improving dealership profitability for over 1,200 North American dealerships.