Now, rather than tell you more war stories, I'd like to provide you with a list of ideas that can make your service department more successful in using your dealership's website. Read, react and reap the rewards, my friends!
- Have service staff visit your website monthly and report anything that doesn't look right. Advertising should appeal to and motivate the masses. If more than two staff members aren't satisfied with the content, you should make some changes.
- While they're doing the above, have them check for spelling errors. Service staff are expected to be the detail guys. If there are more than a couple of misspellings, it looks like you don't pay attention to the details — and that's not good for your reputation.
- Make sure the dealership's phone number and the service department's extension are on every page in the service section. Don't make it difficult for customers to contact you.
- Make sure the service section tab is easy to find. Letters should be large and visible on the home page, not small and hidden under another section (see Beartooth for a good example).
- If you're going to advertise service specials, use a big, bold font for the headline, bullet-point the benefits and limit the special offer to 30 or 60 days. Any longer than that loses the sense of urgency to act.
- Limit descriptions of specials, services or self-serving accolades to 100 words or less. Online customers want it concise.
- Make sure the content is updated. Of the last 10 service sections I looked at, three still had winter specials posted (It's May as I write this).
- If you offer a customer scheduling form, have it sent to the service writer's e-mail address, not a general address where it gets lost. Set up the service writer's e-mail system to alert him or her when a new e-mail arrives. This will ensure that customers are receiving prompt attention. Maybe the reason so few customers are using your site is because the forms don't get a quick response. One hour or less would be appropriate.