Making Every Service Opportunity Count
Right Toyota, Arizona’s No. 1 Volume Toyota Dealer, Recovers 66% of Their Lost Service Customers
Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, Right Toyota faces stiff competition in a tightening market. With nine dealerships in the immediate area — three of which are competing Toyota dealers — Right Toyota has learned the importance of maximizing every opportunity to connect with customers.
Jon Jones, Service Director at Right Toyota, started in the business in 1978 as an automotive technician. Jones spent nearly 20 years servicing vehicles, learning the value of quality customer service as he worked his way up to managing service departments. Jones joined Right Toyota when the store opened in 1999. After spending 18 years with the dealership, Jones has seen what has worked and what hasn’t. He strives to make his service department a comfortable place where customers feel they are a top priority.
To maintain a competitive edge and grow, the leadership at Right Toyota realized they needed to be more than just an average dealership to customers; they needed to really differentiate themselves from other dealerships in the area. The philosophy at Right Toyota is centered around building loyalty; giving customers familiar faces and treating them as they would their own friends and family. One way Right Toyota takes care of its customers is by offering a one-year/15,000 mile maintenance program on all CPO inventory. In addition, the dealership recently remodeled its service waiting area, providing customers a comfortable and relaxing environment while they wait for their car to be serviced.
And Right’s efforts have been working. The dealership is the No. 1 volume dealer in the state of Arizona, boasting an astonishing 4.5-star rating from 946 Google reviews.
Pulling Together as a Team
Remember the old saying “There’s no ‘I’ in team”? At Right Toyota, that motto has become an integral component to the dealership’s success. The leadership team at Right Toyota emphasizes the importance of the dealership’s various departments working together rather than competing against each other. “Sales, service and parts all work together to make this a friendly store,” Jones said. “Our staff gets along in a way that the staff at other dealerships does not.”
The harmony stems from keeping everyone on the same page by focusing on a common goal — building the dealership by serving customers with integrity and respect to establish trust and loyalty. “By getting all the departments working together, we’ve worked out a strategy where we can convert a service customer into a new car sale customer,” Jones said. “Our service advisors have their connections to the sales staff and get a spiff when they turn a customer over for a new car sale. That cycle of sales and service is what we’re built on.”
This cooperative spirit didn’t just happen overnight though; it took time to fine tune. “When we first tried to upsell service customers, our sales team was overly aggressive, trying to hard-sell our customers on a new car,” Jones said. “This was upsetting our customers and causing poor CSI scores.”
Jones and other store leaders decided that a new approach was needed, one that supported the dealership staff, but more importantly, left the customers going home happy. “We sat down together with sales and service to come up with a more defined process,” Jones said. “I told the sales team to use a softer approach and when a customer says ‘no,’ it means ‘no’ and they should back off.”
Jones said it took about two years to get everyone working together as a unit but once the process was streamlined, the success was overwhelming. “We now have a clearly defined process for how the sales team can approach a customer who is in for service,” he said. “They’re not allowed on the service drive. However, they are allowed inside the customer lounge. When they approach the customer about trading in their car or looking for a new car and a customer says, ‘I’m not interested at this time,’ they step away.” Jones explained that customers are given the salesperson’s business card and that’s the end of the “sale” for the time being. The idea has been planted, though, and since the customer didn’t leave the dealership with a bad feeling, there just might be a sale in the future.
Building Customer Loyalty
This low-pressure style works well for bringing customers back to the dealership for the long term, and the service department plays a big role in developing longevity. “A lot of our customers are regulars,” Jones said. “Over the last 18 years, they may be on their third or fourth car by now. They also
have a friendly relationship with their service advisors who they can trust. I don’t have a lot of turnover on my service drives. I have 13 advisors out here, and most of them have been with me for 14 or 15 years.”
One of the efforts Right Toyota makes to set itself apart from the competition is by dedicating a section of its website to service, including posting photos of the service staff. Customers are given the option of selecting the service advisor with whom they’d like to schedule their service appointment. “The customer might not remember the name of the service advisor they worked with before,” Jones said. “They get a business card but might
have thrown it away by time they are coming back in for service. People will remember a face over a name so we post photos of the service team on our website.”
Creating familiarity between the customers and the staff has helped Right Toyota build a loyal client base over the years. Between the dealership’s efforts and various Toyota-manufacturer programs designed to build loyalty and retain customers, the ability to sell from the service lane has made a huge difference in the dealership’s bottom line. “Our customer retention is pretty high for our store and area,” Jones said. “As long as you keep them coming back and you give them good packages they can buy, it gives you a better chance for an upsell.”
Because Right Toyota has developed long-term relationships with its customers, the customers have becom
e more receptive to sales propositions, like trading up into a new or newer car when speaking to service staff. With high-mileage cars, customers often seek the service advisor’s opinion. “With an older vehicle, we can tell them when the car needs a lot of repairs; they can weigh their options and determine whether the repair is worth the investment or if it would be more beneficial to put that money towards a trade,” Jones said. “We find that being honest with the customer builds a strong rapport.”
As a result of these efforts, Right Toyota has seen Same-Brand Trades increase by 136 percent, with an average of 157 sales out of the service drive per month. In a competitive environment like the one Right Toyota is in, this growth — along with the focus on service — is ensuring long-term success.
Bringing Customers In
In a competitive market, you can’t just wait around for customers to show up at the service department. Right Toyota stays ahead of the competition by actively engaging with customers through highly personalized communications. For the past few years, Right Toyota has partnered with Team Velocity Marketing to execute a targeted marketing plan that provides customers with completely customized communications based on their current vehicle, where they are in the sales cycle and their equity position. Through the use of the company’s Service Marketing program and Apollo Technology Platform®, Right Toyota keeps the lines of communication open and puts itself at the top of the consumer’s mind when it’s time to service their vehicle or look at buying a new car. It’s also a competitive advantage for Right. “Team Velocity is exclusive to us,” he said. “They don’t work for other dealers in our area.”
Team Velocity Marketing also allows the dealership to track customer behavior through the portals on the Right Toyota website. By seeing if the customer prints service coupons or schedules an appointment, they can quickly cross reference that information with the customer’s equity position in their vehicle. When that customer comes in for service, the salesperson comes prepared to discuss that customer’s specific needs and situation, allowing for a smoother — and potentially more profitable — process.
Jones said his team always makes sure the customer’s contact information is kept up to date at every opportunity and communicates with service customers via email and text. His department also does a follow-up after the customer pays their bill to make sure everything met their expectations. “It bounces right back if they’re unhappy,” he said. “If we do something wrong, which happens from time to time, we can respond quickly to the customer. If there’s a problem, we cut it off at the pass before the customer gets the Toyota survey.”
Another program Right Toyota’s service department has found profitable is to follow up with lost sales from customers who decline a service. “We hit heavy on lost sales,” he said. “We’ll follow up seven days after they’ve declined something and offer them another 10 percent off to get them back in. That has a big impact.”
The numbers show that Right Toyota is getting the job done when it comes to growth and increased revenue in the service department. Through their partnership with Team Velocity Marketing and the Vehicle Exchange Program, Right Toyota has seen a 136 percent increase in Same Brand Trades year-over-year. Similarly, since implementing Team Velocity’s Lost Service Marketing Program, Right Toyota has grown their active customer list by 66 percent year-over-year. Customer Pay is up 4.6 percent, and Right Toyota is averaging a whopping 5,543 Repair Orders per month, totaling over $800,000 in monthly service revenue.
For more information from Jon Jones, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.