If your dealership is like most franchise and independent auto dealers in the US, the majority of your gross profit doesn’t come from the cars that are sold, but from the service and parts department. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) 2018 , new vehicle sales represented about 58% of total sales, and only 26% of gross profit. In comparison, the service and parts department made up over 46% of gross profit for the majority of auto dealerships. So, while car sales keep people coming in the door, the service department is actually keeping the businesses afloat. This is why automotive service customer retention is so important and why using a solution like InTouch can help dealers generate more revenue.

The easiest way to maintain strong profits in the service department is to keep customers who bought cars coming back for oil changes, tire rotations and to replace belts, hoses and other parts when they wear out. But with so many choices out there, providing enough incentive for customers to continue coming back to the dealership for service can be challenging.

One way to incentivize people who bought cars from a dealership to come back for service is to provide relevant offers and discounts around the time that the service is needed. Getting the offer into customers’ hands at the right time is the key factor here. A deep discount on an oil change means little to a consumer who is still months away from needing one.  Most dealerships have systems in place to reach out or mail customers service coupons after a specific period of time. However, most vehicle service needs are mileage based, so these discount offers are delivered according to how much time has passed and are based on guesses.


Getting A Coupon Into A Customers Hands Exactly When They Need Service is the Key to Improving Service Retention


Most modern GPS tracking systems offer the ability to accurately track vehicle mileage and report this back to the auto dealership. This feature allows dealers to reach out via phone, email or send service discount coupons to customers exactly when they need them. This timely communication increases the chances that customers will respond or schedule service.

PassTime’s InTouch is a GPS-powered connected car and theft recovery solution that gives dealers 3X ROI on their investment through lot management, F&I resale. InTouch is also a highly effective service retention tool.

InTouch can be pre-loaded on lot inventory or installed at point-of-sale and resold to consumers as a connected car and theft recovery system. One of InTouch’s features is that it can track mileage driven on the vehicle and be programmed to send alerts back to a dealership when a mileage threshold is met. Once a vehicle reaches the mileage threshold, an alert can be sent to the dealer and integrated into the dealer’s CRM system. The dealership CRM system can then trigger a coupon to be sent, an email or call to the consumer with a relevant service offer based upon the mileage driven.

In addition to GPS-powered lot management and an opportunity for resale through F&I, InTouch can also increase automotive service retention. With InTouch’s service tracking feature, dealers can contact customers for service reminders based upon actual calculated mileage, instead of simply guessing miles driven based upon a time period. Providing service offers at relevant times can increase a dealership’s customer retention rate and generate more revenue for the service department.

Fleet safety is a top concern for anyone who’s involved with automotive fleets. From the small business owner who has delivery vans to large transportation companies with comprehensive fleet safety management programs, telematics can help reduce risk by improving driver behavior, which leads to fewer accidents.

According to this FMCSA study, the use of telematics systems have been documented to improve both driving safety and efficiency. Improved driving efficiency can have a positive impact to a company’s bottom line by reducing fuel consumption. Using telematics can have an even bigger impact on safety because these systems encourage drivers to perform better and more responsibly behind the wheel. This FHA study found that safety improvements often lead to additional economic benefits in the form of reduced insurance premiums. So there is a big economic incentive for fleet managers to encourage better driving behavior.

The following details how telematics systems can be used to improve driver behavior, overall safety and reduce costs.


3 Ways Telematics Can Improve Driver Behavior:


1. Use Telematics to Identify Problematic Driving Behavior

The biggest safety improvement that can be gained through telematics is helping fleet managers identify whether employees exhibit problematic driving behavior. You really need to understand what negative behaviors company drivers are exhibiting before you can make recommendations for fixing.

Solutions like PassTime Fleet GPS can monitor a wide range of driving behaviors including:

Speeding continues to contribute to a high percentage of crashes and vehicle accident fatalities. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities. Choosing a telematics device that can report on vehicle speed compared to posted speed limits can determine if your drivers are engaging in this unsafe driving behavior.

Other safety concerns such as seatbelt usage, frequent harsh braking and/or acceleration of the vehicle, taking corners too sharply or too fast can all be monitored with high quality telematics systems.

Additionally, after-hour vehicle usage can be monitored. Use of a company vehicle outside the authorized work day can pose a safety and liability risk for your driver as well as your vehicle.


2. Use Telematics to Create or Update Your Fleet Safety Management Program

Once you have identified safety issues caused by problematic driver behavior, you can create a fleet safety program that addresses those issues. If you have an existing plan, use this as an opportunity to review the program elements and make any updates or modifications necessary to address  the issues with driver behavior that your telematics system has identified. You should have a written plan that is easy to understand and is accessible to all employees and drivers. It’s beneficial to clearly define company expectations regarding driver behavior and the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Use the data you’ve gathered and analyzed with your telematics solution to help guide you in your fleet safety program. For example, if you’ve found excessive speeding to be an issue among your drivers, you can emphasize your company’s expectations on driving within the posted speed limits when presenting your plan to your drivers and employees.


3. Use Telematics for On-Going Fleet Safety Monitoring and Management

Once you have identified safety concerns in driver behavior, created or updated your fleet safety program, the third step is to use your telematics solution to monitor and enforce your safety policy. Without constant and on-going reinforcement of your policy, old habits are guaranteed to return. Enforcement of the fleet safety policy by management is essential to success. 

Most good telematics solutions have built-in reporting features that allow management to monitor driver performance and quickly identify any issues. PassTime’s Fleet GPS Driver Scoring feature grades vehicle operators on the elements that the fleet manager determines to be important for their business and provides quick insight into driver behavior across an entire fleet. Email and text alerts can be setup to provide management with real-time notifications if dangerous driving behavior occurs or in the event of an accident. 

Fleet telematics technology is one of the most effective tools for improving safety. Implementing a quality solution allows fleets to improve safety by identifying issues with driver behavior. Once negative behavior is identified, companies can use the data insights to update their fleet safety policy, and manage and enforce better driving practices moving forward.

PassTime offers GPS technology and telematics solutions that help companies manage their fleets.

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