Why Follow-up on “No-Shows”

Our appointment process or what I like to call our “reservation process” may be a little antiquated in a couple of areas.

Here are a couple of questions you can ask when looking internally at this process to realize if it is up to speed or with “today’s times” …no pun intended:

  1. Once we make a reservation for our customers to drop off their vehicles at our service department, do we email/text the customer a friendly reminder of what the factory recommends for maintenance based on their length of ownership?
  2. In addition to the above email or text, do we send the customer what parts specials we may have on sale for the month?
  3. Do we mentally drive the customer to our service department/drive and instruct the customer what to do when they arrive or how they should prepare the vehicle for drop-off?
  4. Do we remind the customer that a service advisor is going to inspect the customer concerns at the time of drop-off during the check-in process?
  5. Do we have a confirmation process in place via phone call, email and or text to the customer 3-days out, to confirm the customer is still arriving at the specified date and time with their vehicle?
  6. Do we re-email the above-mentioned documents at the time of the “confirmation process”?
  7. Finally, do we call our customer who “do not show up” for their original scheduled reservation date and time the same day, to re-schedule their reservation?

Most of us may be doing a very nice job with 1-6, if you are not, please call me and I will share with you how well this process works in ALL Industries.

The reason I asked about question number 7, is that most of us do not call the customer to re-schedule and we just let it go with no customer follow-up at all.

The issue with not calling the customer to re-schedule can turn into a couple of concerns really quick:

  1. Customer shows up whenever and however they want with no regard to current customer scheduling and drop-offs in our service lanes.  This can lead to a rushed check-in process and the advisor not doing their due-diligence during the customer write-up process with a lackadaisical investigation process to correctly document the repair order for the technician.
  2. Obviously, we are going to lose this scheduled technician job and the billable time associated with the repair order and now need to scramble a bit to load up the tech’s time.
  3. In a lot of cases, customers are coming back to get their “ordered parts” installed. A lot of times these parts are not urgent or “will not prohibit” the customer from using their vehicle, if it did, the customer’s vehicle most likely will still be at the dealership.  The issue with these customers or reservations is that this issue contributes to unwanted special order parts sitting on the shelves and no sense of urgency to get the parts installed. The end result is a year-end parts write-off if we do not follow-up with these customers.

I typically do not leave the confirmation process up to the advisors either.  In a lot of cases the advisors are too busy and do not have time to appropriately follow-up with missed reservations, we would like to think so, but it’s not typically the situation.

Unfortunately, in some cases, advisors will fall subject to taking in as little customer/drop-offs as possible, and do not have the dealership’s best interest at heart to ensure #3 above does not happen.

Hopefully this process has drawn some attention regarding needing shoring up a bit.  If you have a service coordinator or service BDC in place, this topic should not be an issue, if you don’t have employees in these previous positions mentioned, let me know and we can discuss how you can get this process implemented and started.