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Social Media Is Where Dealerships Should Showcase Their Service Employees, Not Just Their Service Departments

Advisors and techs tend to translate online as both competent and human, so leverage those traits. BY LAURA MADISON

shutterstock_193801097All over the country, dealers and salespeople are trying to generate sales business off social media platforms where prospective customers are doing research, catching up with friends and frankly spending an incredible amount of time. These dealers and salespeople understand that building the kind of relationship that leads to a sale can be supported by connecting with prospects on their favored social platforms.

However, how can the service drive – often the most profitable department in the dealership – capitalize on social media to connect with customers? Put simply, dealerships could allow and encourage their service employees to become more personally visible (as opposed to promoting the features of the service department) on social platforms.

The opportunities for dealership service departments to leverage social media lie in the power of relationships. A customer’s ability to make a human connection with the service drive is incredibly impactful. Introducing the people (your service advisors) behind the job of servicing a vehicle begins to build trust with and loyalty from your customers. From a purely pragmatic viewpoint, that makes a lot of sense in a marketplace in which it can cost up to five times more to earn a new customer than to retain one you have.

Work With Existing Facebook Page

So, how should your service department humanize its advisors over social media?

Start by showcasing your service advisors and techs under the umbrella of the dealership’s existing platforms like Facebook. Try posting pictures of service personnel in action in the drive, valuable advice from service advisors about maintaining a particular make and model, or a personal profile of a service employee with a recommendation to call him to arrange the next service appointment.

Establishing a personal presence for your advisors is a productive way to increase the service drive’s visibility and encourage customer retention. By adding the ability to communicate with the advisor on social media, the dealership’s social presence takes on a more personal tone, which leads to relationship- and trust-building.

And, service-related posts added to your dealership’s Facebook page will help keep the dealership top-of-the-mind in the social realm, hopefully leading to a customer thinking of your dealership the next time he or she is due for an oil change.

Advisors, Techs Personalize Well

Service advisors actually are marvelous employees to feature and collaborate with on social media. They typically display the kind of skills and personality traits that translate to a fierce social media presence. By and large, advisors as a group are people-focused with strong customer service skills, patient, helpful and articulate. These traits and skills are key to communicating well on social media with a simple, clear post.

Service writers also tend to be a knowledgeable group, which is important when it comes to creating content to post on social media. To give customers a reason to connect with the dealership and service drive, your presence must be established as authoritative and characterized by sharing helpful and valuable information for vehicle owners.

What Kind Of Content Is Helpful

A social post that helps answer customers’ frequent questions or provides them guidance helps the service department position itself as a worthy online connection. The great news is, the opportunity to provide guidance from the service drive is endless. Some examples: A 30-second video explaining how to pair a phone to the Bluetooth system, or a similarly quick video of how to start a push-button vehicle when the battery in the smart key is low.

Or, post a reminder that the manufacturer recommends service at 60,000-mile service and a warning of the potential consequences to skipping this appointment. Give an explanation of what a particular vehicle’s common dashboard lights mean. Anything a dedicated service advisor posts that provides insight or guidance to a prospective or past customer is extremely powerful.

Think of it as the giver’s gain; the person at the other end of the social connection may feel indebted to your dealership the next time he or she is due for service. The law of reciprocity states that people respond to a positive action with another positive action.

A simple social presence featuring a few of the dealership’s service personnel can be an extremely effective way to win more business. It’s impactful. Again, there is amazing opportunity within the service department to share valuable content. Get creative! Themed posts like #MechanicMonday or #TechnicianTuesday are great opportunities for your followers to receive quick tips on how to keep their vehicle running smoothly between services.

shutterstock_207838102Targeted Promotions Will Resonate

Valuable content also can include any promotions that may benefit a prospective customer. Allow a service advisor to announce a special offering – like a “buy three, get one free” tire deal – by posting a photo of the advisor and an explanation of the promotion, with a phone number to call for details. If there is something unique your service department offers – for example, roadside assistance for 90 days following a service appointment – then here is more valuable information to share with your social followers.

Within this personal social presence also exists an opportunity to increase visibility for the drive and earn referrals. Once clients start interacting with posts, asking questions, liking and commenting, your service presence becomes more visible to their connections and followers. This means people who have never visited your dealership’s service drive are exposed to your posts and witness the nod of confidence their friend has given to you by following and engaging.

A presence on social media is a huge and noticeable differentiator. So few dealerships are doing this that even a small effort by a service department really stands out.

This can all begin, and be managed on, the dealership’s Facebook page. That page can become a resource where the dealership posts answers to FAQs, behind-the-scenes photos of service techs working on vehicles, quick how-to videos, and so much more. Enlist help from the marketing director or other person managing the Facebook page to help facilitate these posts. For a service drive just getting started with social media, posting two to three times a week is enough to begin building attention and awareness.

Finally, remember to personalize this presence. Post photos of your advisors and techs. Share details about what they drive and why they love their jobs. Any helpful post such as a reminder to have tires rotated every 5,000 miles should end with a service advisor posting his name or initials, so that the reader almost unknowingly feels a stronger connection and feeling of trust with your knowledgeable service staff.

Each service department will ultimately develop its own unique social presence that reflects their personality and character. Just get started today. There is magic in action.

Source: Service Drive Magazine, September 2015 Issue

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