Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 39

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

 An app for that: Cellphones can arrange service, too

D

RICK POPELY

foj@autonews.com

ealership websites still are the primary portal for making online service appointments. But for this
task, as with many others, more
consumers are ditching desktop and laptop
computers and doing business on their smartphones.
A growing number of dealerships offer their
own phone apps, which, among other functions, enable customers to book service appointments. In some instances, automakers
are helping.
Tom Gill Chevrolet in Florence, Ky., is seeing
an increasing number of service customers
use an app from General Motors called myChevrolet.
Mark Farney, the dealership's parts and ser-

ONLINE
continued from Page 38

tools and other software products, says dealerships should start promoting online scheduling when they sell a car or truck.
"That's an excellent time to introduce the
customer to the online appointment tool,"
Saylor says. "Hopefully, in the future, that customer will feel comfortable and go straight to
the tool."
Two years ago, Tom Gill Chevrolet in Florence, Ky., started using a scheduling system
that is integrated with its DMS. It lets anyone
with internal access to the scheduler see who
is coming in, when and for what reason.
Customers who schedule online choose
from available time slots. The system recognizes previous customers, so they don't have
to fill out a form with vehicle and personal information.
"The customer sees a live appointment
scheduler," says Mark Farney, the dealership's
parts and service director. "It's going to show
you what's available, even down to whether
you can wait for the car."
The system also allows customers to request
a particular service adviser, Farney says.

Staying flexible
Westside Lexus and #1 Cochran group dealerships also use online scheduling systems
that are integrated with the DMS. The Lexus
dealership's vendor is Reynolds and Reynolds.

The myChevrolet mobile app lets
customers set up service work on their
smartphones.
vice director, says that on a typical day, his department gets eight to 10 appointments from
the app, compared with two or three from the
dealership website.
The #1 Cochran group uses a CDK system at
15 of its dealerships. It runs an Xtime scheduling system at two Mazda dealerships and a
Nissan dealership because of automaker requirements.
These systems all rely on electronic scheduling to manage workflow in the service department, but the dealerships maintain enough
flexibility to handle customers who need
emergency service.
"We don't need the schedule to dictate
when a customer can come in," says #1 Cochran's Bernardini. "We just open up the
doors and say, when you get here, we're going
to take care of you. We can handle the volume
internally. We're built for that."
Parnell, of Westside Lexus, said that of the
275 customers the service department typically sees each day, 50 to 75 don't have an appointment. Many of those customers use the
dealership's express service lane, which allows walk-ins.
Parnell says he limits the number of service
appointments on the daily master schedule to
200 to accommodate walk-in customers and
ensure he has enough loaner vehicles on hand.
Whether customers make appointments
online or by phone, integrated scheduling
systems that identify them and their vehicles
and share that information throughout the
service department have other benefits.
Some stand-alone scheduling systems may
not be linked to the DMS or may not allow
customers to make an online appointment.
Such systems may only allow a customer to

Owners of OnStar-equipped GM vehicles
from the 2011 model year and later can download the app, use it to select a Chevrolet dealership for service and link directly to the
store's scheduling portal.
The vehicle identification number and owner's information automatically feed into the
schedule. Other GM brands offer similar apps.
Farney predicts more customers will use
them.
The app "knows if something's wrong, how
many miles the vehicle has, and it's going to
send you reminders that it's time for maintenance," Farney says.
"It benefits the dealership to drive everyone
to that app," he adds. "Chevrolet is really
pushing that app because it's tied into OnStar,
and everyone's walking around with their
cellphones on all day long." 
submit an appointment request that the dealership must process, and it may not be for a
specific time.
Farney says his dealership's integrated system gives service advisers enough time to
check in each customer and answer questions. Managers can schedule technicians'
time more efficiently when they know how
many major and minor service jobs to prepare
for each hour, he adds.
Bernardini says a master schedule also gives
the parts department an early heads-up to assign parts for specific jobs.

All in one
Vendors such as Xtime, CDK and Reynolds
and Reynolds say that integrated scheduling
and management systems eliminate problems that arise from trying to get stand-alone
scheduling software to communicate with the
DMS and other tools.
"You improve profitability by cutting out errors that will occur when you've got two systems that are trying to sync with each other
and just don't do it very well," says Jon
Strawsburg, vice president of product planning for Reynolds and Reynolds.
Strawsburg says he expects the percentage
of service appointments scheduled online to
increase dramatically.
"Dealers need to be prepared to make it
convenient for that segment that wants to
control their own schedule," he says. "That's
the way a growing segment of people want to
do business, period." 

OCTOBER 2017

PAGE 39



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Dealers vs. OEMs
Parts disposal
Chicago way
Certifi ed repairs
Richard Truett
After the deluge
Labor rates
Off lease, on the lot
Paragon model
Feedback
Net benefi ts
Sometimes on Sunday
Get ready
Shop Talk
Five Minutes With
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 9
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Dealers vs. OEMs
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Parts disposal
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 14
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Chicago way
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 22
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Certifi ed repairs
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - After the deluge
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 30
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 31
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Labor rates
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Off lease, on the lot
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 35
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Paragon model
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Net benefi ts
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Sometimes on Sunday
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 41
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Get ready
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - 43
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Shop Talk
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2017 - Cover4
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