Service Drive Magazine May 2015

Page 28

Turning Your downtime INTO

Dollars

Keeping your bays filled and keeping your customers from defecting to a competitor or independent shop is what Xtime is all about. BY BARRY COURTER

From left, Jim Roche, Stephanie Dang and Angel Trinh

I

n this day of smartphones and tablets, consumers expect to be able to go online to not only order a pizza, but also to track when it’s being staged, when the pie goes into the oven and when it hits the car for delivery to your house “That’s a $10 pizza,” said Xtime President Neal East, “but you buy a $50,000 car and you drop it off, but there is not any visibility in the status of the vehicle. “As consumers, our expectations are being shaped by Amazon, Uber and even Domino’s Pizza. That technology and those companies and their technologies are shaping our experiences and the automotive industry has to catch up.” That is exactly what East says the mission of Xtime, which was started in 2004, is all about: “To bring modern technology and that superior ownership experience to the automotive consumer.” Through its suite of cloud-based software programs – Marketing 7, Scheduling 7 and Check-In 7 – Xtime offers dealers a modern, high-tech, real-time way to better retain customers by improving the service experience. Not getting the customer back to your dealership for

28 Service Drive MAY 2015

regular servicing can lead to the owner going somewhere else for his next car purchase. “Statistics show that dealerships often see a 50-percent defection rate after the second or third service visit,” East said. East also points to a recent quote from General Motors, which said, “Every 1-percent increase in owner loyalty translates to a $700 million annual revenue increase. That works out to be $150,000 per dealer, and that’s real money.” How Xtime drives results is multi-faceted. Because the software is cloud-based, it is real time and accessible from anywhere. A customer can go to his smartphone or tablet at midnight on a Sunday night, access Scheduling 7 via a dealer’s website, and then schedule a service time, check out prices, choose what they want done and get notices of recalls or other issues. The programs can also send reminders, and if the customer happens to be out of town when the notice arrives, he can request a service time at a dealer in the network closer to where he is. One of the powerful tools that Marketing 7 offers is

the ability for the dealer to visualize the unsold shop capacity and to develop marketing strategies to combat that, with an emphasis on recovering “lost souls” – consumers who have abandoned the dealership’s service department. Xtime Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jim Roche says that dealers can use the platform to identify time periods when technicians and service bays are underutilized. “We looked across all other industries and studied best practices,” he said. “For example, we looked at Priceline and Hotels.com, and they are using something called price elasticity to change consumer behavior to consume that unused inventory. “Since we are controlling the dealer’s inventory, we know their capacity and we can see on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis when those bays are underutilized.” For example, if the software indicates that Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. is especially slow, a digital marketing campaign can be deployed to offer special rates for getting a car serviced in that time slot, and more importantly, it can be targeted to recover “lost souls.”

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