For fixed-ops leaders worried about all the talk of declining service volume, know there’s a pool of more than 2.5 million customers waiting to hear from your dealership. And when we say “waiting,” we mean vehicle owners whose lives literally depend on your dealership contacting them.
According to a recent post from Carfax, which reported that six states — California (245,000), Florida (237,000), New York (118,000), Ohio (101,000), Pennsylvania (106,000), and Texas (242,000) — have more than 100,000 vehicles on the road today that NHTSA and automakers have tagged with “Do Not Drive” and “Park Outside” notifications. Then there’s this:
- Twenty-three people have died in the U.S. from exploding Takata airbags, and more than 400 people were injured.
- 3,100 Hyundai and Kia models under recall have caught fire nationwide, with one person killed and more than 100 injured.
- 19 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars have caught fire, but no reports of deaths or injuries.
Automating Vehicle Recall Notices for Revenue Growth
If your service department had the parts to take advantage of one of these recalls, what does the process for reaching customers look like? Better yet, how long would it take?
Now, imagine a service manager or fixed ops director being able to pop into a mobile dashboard app that displays every recall by code and description and the total number of customers in the dealership’s database each recall impacts; the tool performing all filtering and cross-referencing automatically, so the only action required is selecting which recalls and affected customers to target. To do that, you simply click the checkbox next to the listed recall and move the digital slider to the “on” position.
That action would prompt a templated text message to go out the next day with all the necessary information — customer’s name, vehicle year, make, and model, and recall code — added to the message automatically. The text would read:
“Hi [CUS_NAME], this is [DLR_NAME]. There is a safety recall ([RECALL_CODE]) on your [YEAR] [MAKE] [MODEL]. Please reply or visit us at [LINK] to schedule an appointment & to ensure parts availability. Thank you! 555-555-5555.”
Leveraging TEXT2DRIVE for Enhanced Recall Response Rates
Imagine that effort, which takes minutes to complete, resulted in a 20% response rate — meaning, 100 sent texts resulted in 20 callbacks or text responses within hours of those messages going out. Amazing, right? Well, that’s what TEXT2DRIVE users can do today.
In fact, service vets like Kevin Mills, Service Director at Cary, N.C.-based Leith Autopark Honda, liken TEXT2DRIVE’s automated recall alerts to “free money.”
“We typically don’t do them past April or May because we get so busy from August to June,” he says. “We’ll send out those recall texts on Tuesday morning. By the afternoon, we’re getting calls or text responses.”
That’s why TEXT2DRIVE recommends limiting the number of texts sent per day. And when you run out of parts — because you will with TEXT2DRIVE — simply push that slider to the “Off” position. We’ve found that a service BDC can handle 100 to 200 outbound messages, while a three-person team of service advisors might handle 25 to 30. Here are some other things we’ve discovered:
- Best Send Time: We’ve found the response rate is best when these notifications go out around lunchtime, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
- Avoid Weekends: While TEXT2DRIVE can certainly send notifications on weekends, it’s best to avoid these days. From our experience, it irks some customers.
- Slow Drips for Smaller Dealerships: 20 notifications scheduled every other day are ideal for lower-volume service drives.
Now, imagine having this tool during those slow months when you need to kickstart the service drive. There’s also the “freight train” market watchers say is speeding toward service departments — the result of three years of lower-than-normal new-vehicle sales. As one insider told Automotive News, dealerships are losing service customers faster than their gaining them through new-vehicle sales and the warranty work they rely on. At some point, he said, service drives may not have customers — well, at least for service centers not using TEXT2DRIVE.