As I sit in my home hunkered down against the virus, I can’t help thinking about different ways we can work together to help all of the members of the Dealership for Life family. Many of us have taken this time to ramp up their communication with their customer base through our graphics department. Trust me when I tell you they have been up to the challenge. Most of you have been sending out campaigns about new store hours, what departments are open or closed, and special ways you are operating during this time. We sent out almost 300 unique campaigns last month alone. This is a great way to stay in contact with all of the customers in your database on what is happening at the dealership and what will be happening in the future.
Probably the biggest change I have seen in the last two weeks has been the need to sanitize everything against the virus. I have had customers say they will not pick up their car from service until it has been sanitized. Customers looking at used cars want to know how this car was cleaned. Many dealers are not only cleaning all their cars on the lot but are delivering all service cars back to their customers completely sanitized. It only makes sense to go the extra mile to create that peace of mind for your customers. There is an excellent website, TransformSanitize.com, that not only lays out the reason to sanitize but features some great videos on how to do it. Some dealers do it on every car at no charge; while others charge a slight fee with a one, three, or five-year program that lets the customer come back every six months to have the sanitizer reapplied.
Many dealer showrooms are closed. We have been uploading dealer videos with featured walkarounds on certain vehicles to help with the selling process and social distancing. Online selling is very important for the safety of both our customers and our co-workers.
Another feature that seems to be working well has been pickup and delivery for the service department. We have designed a system using the database and the BDC department that tracks the entire process and the customer never has to leave their house: from pickup to payment. This type of valet service is very popular once you get it set up and very effective with customer scheduling.
These are just some of the things that have seen happening in our business in the last three weeks. In this time of forced confinement, the creativeness of our industry will prevail as it always has.