Be An ‘Early Mover’ in EVs

According to a J.D. Power Customer Service Satisfaction survey released this month, customer service satisfaction among owners of BEVs is 42 points lower than for owners of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The two leading factors are recall rates for BEV parts and poor service advisor knowledge.

“As the electric vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience,” said Chris Sutton, Vice President of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “The industry has been hyper-focused on launches and now these customers are bringing their electric vehicles in for maintenance and repairs. As training programs for service advisors and technicians evolve, EV service quality and customer experience must address both the vehicle and the unique customer needs. The EV segment has the potential to spur massive convenience improvements in how customers service their vehicles—but we’re not seeing the benefits yet.”

While you can’t solve the recall issue, you can address the knowledge issue when it comes to EVs – not just in the service department but throughout your entire dealership. There is no doubt that EVs are coming. Savvy dealer owners who are ‘early movers’ and embrace these new vehicles will reap significant benefits. But there are some factors to consider when adding EVs to the lot.

EFG Companies Featured Fixed Operations

In Fixed Ops, Coordination Counts

When was the last time you did a health check of your fixed operations (fixed ops) department? How is fixed ops affecting your CSI scores? Is the department helping or hurting your customer retention efforts?

According to Cox Automotive, fixed operations as a profit center is more important than ever in 2023. Dealers should see continued strong dynamics in the service lanes, with or without a recession, as owners try to hold onto their vehicles longer. While the average ticket size increased in 2022, revenue is not a guarantee. In order to be successful in fixed operations, all of the cogs must be coordinated – not only within each dealership’s service bays but across rooftops as well.

Savvy dealers take a holistic approach to fixed ops, sales and F&I with the understanding that each area of the dealership directly impacts overall dealership operations and the total customer experience. While each department might occupy a separate line item in the spreadsheet, failure to understand and capitalize on a coordinated customer service approach reduces efficiency, profitability and customer retention. Let’s look at a scenario where lack of coordination within the service department impacted the bottom line.

Industry Trends

2023 – Focus on the Need

Retail automotive dealers are gearing up to face a variety of challenges in 2023. From economic uncertainty, fluctuating profitability targets, changing sales models, and the persistent overhang of compliance regulations, the ‘good times’ for dealers could come to a screeching halt. While some dealers will manage the transition smoothly, others will be caught off-guard. Successful agents will need to be nimble, focusing their client service models on what each dealer needs. A one-size-fits-all model will not work as the industry evolves.

Need for Consumer confidence

Over the past few years, car buyers gravitated towards the vehicle they ‘wanted’, focusing on the features and benefits of the latest models. With a recession looming and inflation rising, car buyers in 2023 are expected to scale back those aspirations and focus on the features they ‘need’ because it’s likely their current vehicle is on its last leg. This transition from ‘want buyers’ to ‘need buyers’ involves a different sales mindset for the dealer. Agents can smooth this transition for dealer clients, by providing the tools and resources they need to tap into those need-based buyers.

For example, F&I managers will need to be prepared to present the value of consumer protection products in terms of saving consumers money throughout the life of the vehicle.  By adding $25 to their monthly loan payment today, the educated consumer could save hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars tomorrow.