Dealerships have long known that the service lane, where existing customers roll up in aging vehicles, is a good place to prospect for trade-ins. Throw in a lack of new-vehicle inventory, and the service drive becomes a logical place to acquire highly coveted used cars.
But Darren Militscher, a strategic growth manager for software provider DealerSocket, says the service drive is often ill-equipped to properly handle this. There usually is a lack of a process, with an unenthusiastic salesperson stationed on the drive.
"Service customers aren't looking to be solicited," Militscher says.
Instead, a proper service drive appraisal program requires processes specific to service, a dedicated employee to manage them and buy-in from advisers.
Militscher helped design an appraisal program with these features at Reedman-Toll Auto Group, of Langhorne, Pa., in 2013. The current climate of severe vehicle shortages and high retail prices has spurred more inquiries about how to manage this component of the service drive, he says.