Before a dealership invests in video and photo technology for its service department, it should determine whether it can do the same things more cheaply in house, says David Lewis, who runs a consulting firm that trains fixed ops employees.
A dealership can create a free YouTube channel as a platform for uploading videos and photos that technicians shoot on cell phones, Lewis says. Technicians then can text or email links to customers, he adds.
"I agree a thousand percent with the value of the technology," Lewis says. "But I'd first invest in the processes and procedures. Make sure your technicians not only are capable of doing it, but will do it regularly.
"If you can develop a track record that shows it works, then you can decide if you want to invest in the technology and all the added data and analytics it provides," he says.
Service customers appear to prefer, and typically respond faster to, videos and photos embedded in text messages, fixed ops directors say. That quick response leads to another benefit: Technicians can make more money because they're more productive.
Technicians at McDonald dealerships typically had to work on 41/2 vehicles a day to generate eight hours of work, Coxall says. But with Quik Video, he adds, that number has shrunk to 21/2 vehicles.
"There's not as much wasted time pulling cars in and out of the shop while [technicians] wait for upsell approvals," Coxall notes. "When we launched Quik Video, we had around 25 technicians. Now we have 48 and are continuing to hire. It's a good problem."
Quik Video also has helped McDonald avoid potentially expensive litigation, Coxall adds. In one case, he says, a customer threatened to sue Audi Denver after a car crash, claiming the dealership had not warned her that her tires were worn out.
But an archived video showed a technician pointing out the worn tires. Records also showed that the customer watched the video seven times before she declined to buy new tires.
"It was a pretty short conversation after that," Coxall says. "And I've got 20 or so more stories just like that."
Coxall says the video technology his dealerships use is the next best thing to allowing customers to see recommended-service items firsthand in a service bay.
"Our internal data shows that our service departments could achieve an 80 percent acceptance rate for upsells if we could take customers to their cars and show them what needs to be fixed," he says.
"Obviously that's not feasible. But video helps us close that gap."