Jim Leman Talks Up Xtime Automated Services
Editorial comment: Jim Leman, who writes about finance and insurance issues for the auto industry, takes it a step further in this article written for Ward’s Auto by touting the benefits of online scheduling tools in dealership Service Departments.
Says Leman: At first, most dealership customers were reluctant to use online scheduling for service appointments. Now, they appear to expect it.
Online appointments and other scheduling technologies have been at dealership service departments’ disposal for some time. But they are gaining more widespread use for a variety of reasons. Those include technology advancements that have made them easier and more convenient for customers to use.
Leman calls on Xtime CEO Neal East, NADA U’s Bob Atwood and others to support the benefits of using online scheduling tools.
Dealers are reaping their own benefits from such systems.
“Our shops’ efficiencies have really increased because these technologies eliminate over- and under-bookings that cause bottlenecks and under-utilized hours,” says Roy McAlister, fixed operations director for Thomas Nissan and Thomas Toyota in Joliet, IL.
“As a result, our repair-order count is up 45%, which doesn’t happen if you don’t have a good scheduling system that gives you 360-degree views into your workflow and schedule calendar,” he says.
Part of the increased use of online scheduling stems from changing customer habits says Bob Atwood, management instructor at the National Automobile Dealers Assn.’s Dealer Academy.
A life-long dealership customer is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in business, Atwood says
“Even when customers book their own appointments through this technology, we always stress to the service managers in our classes that they telephone or text the customer to verify their appointment has been received and confirmed,” he says.
By helping to maximizing shop utilization, keeps technicians productive, says Xtime CEO Neal East.
Dealers are offering automated service scheduling and traffic control tools to respond to service customer concerns of convenience, trust and value.
Buddy Toups, service manager for Infiniti of Lafayette in Lafayette, LA, agrees. “For Infiniti customers who live their lives by appointment, our ability to let them book appointments online and commit to their self-scheduled time and day is a critical requirement that we must simply meet,”.
To deliver on such customer expectations while improving workflow throughout the shop, dealerships like Toups’ use software-driven appointment scheduling, traffic management and service write-up tools to replace manual, paper-based processes.
Toups’ shop uses Xtime’s automated scheduling tool to avoid overbooking and keep things moving along.