Express Service Drop-Off and Pick-Up Considerations – Part 3

David Dietrich NewsletterThis is the third part in a three-part series.

If you missed parts 1 and 2, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2

The customer pick-up or service delivery process is put into motion upon completion of all service work.  The process used should be a derivative of an “active service delivery.”

The service advisor reviews all services or repairs performed with the customer by telephone.  Customers requiring special order parts are provided with a detailed explanation of what was ordered and the notification process.  A complete explanation of all charges, and the total of the charges, are reviewed at this time.

Any outstanding issues regarding charges slow down the pick-up process, detracting from the credibility of the express pick-up concept.  So complete all paperwork in advance using the information provided by the customer at the time the appointment was made or during the day of the service.  Handle payment according to the guidelines established for the express drop-off and pick-up program.

Invoice the bill prior to arrival for customers with outstanding charges.  A credit card number can be provided to the service advisor by telephone following completion of repairs.  Of course, a payment method does not have to be established if the service consists of warranty or internal repairs only.

Next, explain to the customer where to obtain keys and paperwork.  The keys and paperwork should be placed in a secure lock box that is numbered or lettered.  Inform the customer as to which box contains his or her keys and paperwork and the necessary code.

Lock boxes are available from many suppliers and start at approximately $30 per unit.  Each unit handles one set of keys.  The codes are changed after each transaction for security purposes.  The codes can be changed in a matter of seconds.

If security is an issue, the lock boxes can be located inside the service department, e.g., to the side of the service drive.  With this approach,  customers can pick up their vehicles only when the dealership is open, but it is still an alternative to waiting in line to pick up the vehicle. The lock boxes can  be placed in locations where customers can retrieve their vehicles at any time in dealerships with 24-hour security.

After completion of the service work, the vehicle is parked in the designated express parking area for customer pick-up.  If the drop-off area is numbered, every effort should be made to park the vehicle in the same space when completed, as to minimize confusion when the customer picks up the vehicle.

All courtesy items such as mats and covers should be removed, prior to the time of pickup, when the customer is going directly to his or her vehicle.

We, in the industry, have known for years that change is needed in the dealership service department.  Traditional ways of conducting business are simply not going to ensure profitability.  For example, changes in production methods have resulted in the development of advanced production systems to address many of the shortcomings of traditional methods in an effort to become more effective and profitable.

Competition has dictated change, though many stores have chosen to ignore the signs or are unwilling to step outside of their comfort zones.  Express service centers, oil change centers, muffler centers and tire stores are thriving.  Price is not the prime consideration—convenience is.

Demands on a customer’s time have increased for a number of reasons.  These reasons include the rising number of two-income families (frequently resulting in conflicting work schedules), increased scheduling demands related to children’s activities (resulting in time spent participating in or driving to and from these activities), and more people commuting longer distances and in heavier traffic (resulting in more time spent getting to and from work).

These demands have forced our customers to look for services that are quick, yet efficient.  Businesses able to provide these types of services, regardless of whether they are a bank or an automobile dealership, will earn first consideration

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