Amidst the COVID-19 news and instability, you might be wondering how this will affect your shop. We have already seen several of our dealers be proactive and we hope some of the information below will help you do the same, if you haven’t already.
Take advantage of this time while people are driving and avoiding air travel, working from home and have more time to dedicate to their cars, and commutes won’t impact their availability. Make sure your customers know you’re still open for business and committed to providing great service!
Implement a “Touch-less” Service Option
Now, more than ever, it’s time to make sure you have the tools and options in place to service vehicles without having to come into close contact with your customers (6 feet, to be exact). We encourage you to implement a “vehicle only” pickup and drop-off service utilizing:
- Online appointment scheduling
- Key drop boxes
- Vehicle pick up and delivery
- Payment options: text-to-pay, online, or via phone
Ensure technicians wear gloves while servicing the vehicle. Offer a courtesy interior disinfectant wipe down of the steering wheel, shift lever, seat belt and buckle, and any other surfaces the technician may come in contact with during the service.
Keep the Shop Clean
For customers who want to come in for service, consider relocating the waiting areas to outside the shop. Dealers may want to consider setting up a pop-up tent with chairs, hand wipes and disinfectant gel. Other measures you will want to take include:
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing your shops, especially surfaces that are touched regularly: door handles, credit card readers, waiting areas (if applicable) and restrooms.
- Reinforce existing health protocols with the team, including frequent and proper hand washing. While servicing the vehicle, technicians should use gloves, seat covers and steering wheel covers. After service, make sure technicians wipe down door handles, gear shift handles, etc with sanitizer before the vehicle is returned.
- Instruct any employees who are ill, or suspect they may be ill, to stay at home!
Focus on Marketing
Take this time to reach out to customers using all the tools you have available, including: emails, phone calls, social media, your website, etc. Although people are practicing social distancing, they will still need to drive and will still need to bring their vehicles in for service (so long as they know you’re practicing safe service like we discussed above).
There are several promotions you can consider to stay top-of-mind with customers when they decide to leave the house. This is the perfect time for intermediate and major service since it won’t impact commutes while customers are working from home and avoiding air travel. A few ideas we’ve seen other dealers use:
- Cabin air filter replacements (helps reduce dust and debris)
- A/C treatments (removes odors and can disinfect depending on the type of treatment)
- Free stay-in-car tire air and fluid checks (social distancing)
- Battery checks (customers may experience slow starts due to lack of use)
- Store-specific promotions and discounts