A new calendar year has arrived, and with it come expectations for growth in your automotive service business. Whether your service department has reached capacity for vehicles per day or you have room for additional customers, you’ll need to achieve better results by the time the end of the year comes around.
As you strategize, battery services can help make up part of your growth plan. Between the revenue from an extra .2 or .5 hours on the work order and the profit from more battery sales, these are five ways you can use battery services to improve your service department’s bottom line this year.
Ensure Sufficient Battery Testing Equipment
We all know that our most precious resource is time, and customers feel the pressure to make the most of it. Waiting isn’t often well-received, especially for services they deem should be fast and immediate. If your team happens to be scrambling to find a battery tester in the drive-thru, impatience may take over for the vehicle owner, and they’ll begin to get anxious, even before you show them the battery test results.
Since it’s one of the first impressions they get from your facility, aside from a friendly greeting, it’s imperative that it goes according to plan. Having enough battery testers on hand to make sure there’s no queue is more important than you might initially think, and for this reason. And because they’re so heavily used in the service drive, there should be at least one tester per lane, and there’s a good case for each advisor having their own.
Train Staff on the Benefits of a Healthy Battery
Today’s vehicles have a much higher demand on the charging system and battery with more energy-consuming computers and devices inside. And when the battery isn’t in its best shape any longer, some symptoms that are seemingly unrelated can, in fact, be due to the battery’s condition. Along with symptoms, though, a weak battery can cause issues like lower fuel consumption with the auto start-stop system isn’t operating.
If you have novice staff that require some education on battery health, a training session on how to perform tests and deal with the results is key. Even an experienced team simply needs a refresher from time to time. In the end, not only do you have happier customers because they’re avoiding problems on the road, but you’re able to identify bad batteries and offer replacements in a timely manner.
Keep Battery Tests a Topic of Discussion
Being a rather mundane topic for service advisors after seeing or hearing about them dozens of times per day, it’s expected that customers are equally bored by the results of a battery test. But because a customer only hears about their own results that day, it’s important to make it a topic of conversation for everyone you meet.
At service check-in, mention that you’ll be testing the battery at no charge so their battery health can be monitored not just today, but in the future too. When the test is completed, review the results of the passed or failed test in detail, either recommending a corrective action or congratulating the owner that their battery is healthy. Then again when they pick up their vehicle, review their visit and touch on the battery health once again. When you don’t allow it to be mundane for the customer, you’ll convert this basic test into more battery sales and services.
Serve Your Fleet Customers Specially
Fleets are often thought of as a tough sell, looking for the best pricing and trimming the fat on anything more than basic maintenance and repairs. However, what’s typically missed in the equation is that time is one of the most valuable assets for fleets, and downtime costs them significantly. It’s commonly why anything more than basic oil and filter changes and tire services are declined unless symptoms are present. But if you can make a case for reducing downtime, there’s a great chance you can turn those units into high-value.
An idea is to offer immediate battery tests and replacements for certain fleet customers. Speak with the fleet manager about free tests for all units, and, at their convenience, have them drop in one at a time or even send someone to their main location to perform tests. Special pricing on replacements can help increase battery sales too, and the testing program may identify other issues with charging and starting that can result in scheduling future visits.
Test Every Battery, Every Visit
Likely, your check-in process for service is meant to include a complimentary battery test by your service advisor or support staff when the vehicle arrives in the drive-through. After a time, these processes tend to slacken somewhat, whether it’s due to the busyness of the job, infrequent sales as a result of the test, or for some other reason. But the reason for testing every battery every time it’s checked in for service has a solid foundation, and it’s proven whenever an upset customer calls in with a dead battery.
Test every battery, no matter how recently they’ve been in for service. You don’t know how the customer uses their vehicle on a daily basis, and the battery’s health can change very quickly. Have they gone off-roading in the past week and jostled the battery so much it damaged it? Did the SUV owner install accessory lights that strained and cooked the battery? Getting the whole team back on track with consistent battery tests will help to proactively identify bad batteries so you can replace them before you competitors get a chance.
Make the most of your year, and use battery sales and services to make it happen. With unique ways to keep batteries front of mind and dedication to battery testing, you’ll be well on your way to another successful year.