To accelerate sales in the new year, you need a well-defined marketing strategy that aligns with your company’s goals
By Paul MacDonald, ServiceSource
For most successful businesses, marketing typically drives revenue rather than the other way around.
In fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7% to 8% of gross income on marketing and advertising if you are doing less than $5 million a year in sales. And when it comes to service operations, marketing is just as important.
Service Feeds Sales and Sales Feeds Service
Service marketing will increase cash service calls (COD). The optimum ratio for servicing dealers is 70:30, COD to warranty service. Unfortunately, the pandemic destroyed that ratio and many dealers are now doing 100% warranty work to keep their customers happy amid the increased demand for new appliances.
Service Operations Will Never be Profitable at 100% Warranty
To turn this around, dealers must increase COD and maintain their warranty service calls. The start of the new year is an excellent time to resolve to correct this dire situation. These five marketing activities will attract new customers without depleting your marketing budget:
- Make sure it is instantly evident to those visiting your company’s website that you offer service and that it conveys your service value proposition (SVP).
- Claim your Google and Bing business pages and depict your service operations. Pictures can tell a great story about your service offering.
- Social media feeds are essential marketing activities and are effective for communicating your sales and service operations to your followers and their friends. Make sure you are addressing your customers’ service issues in your posts. And don’t forget YouTube (owned by Google). Video content adds significant search engine optimization to your overall marketing and is simple to create.
- Online reviews help consumers choose service providers when the need arises. Make sure your company actively solicits and responds to online reviews.
- Service blogs are an essential part of any marketing plan providing they are current, relevant and authoritative in addressing your customers’ service questions, such as how to load a dishwasher or remove cranberry stains from a white tablecloth. Two to four blogs per month are necessary to be effective, and while it can be challenging to maintain that cadence, AVB Marketing offers a cost-effective solution with its service content creation services. Ask your BrandSource member relations manager for details.
I guarantee you this: if you do nothing, there will be no change in your service business and you’ll continue to lose money in service. Those five marketing steps are simple, cost-effective and deliver results. Delegate this activity and hold that person accountable for designing and executing your service marketing plan for 2023.
But marketing is only one component of a successful service operation. The list of necessary service management skills for profitable service is long, and includes financial planning, setting service rates, employee relations, increasing efficiencies, customer service rep (CSR) training, parts inventory, warranty claims management and technician recruitment and training. A good service manager requires all these skills to succeed, but training for those responsibilities often falls short or is elusive to many service managers today.
The Institute of Service Management (ISM) at the 2023 Summit will address this training shortfall. At its inaugural event this March in Las Vegas, BrandSource will provide laser-focused training to help members’ service managers excel in their roles back home. Designed to meet the unique needs of service management leaders, the ISM program will explore the strategic and tactical elements of service management strategy and help members rise above the competition with a BrandSource-certified service manager at the helm.
Course content will include:
- Service Financials
- Setting Profitable Service Rates
- Service Department Efficiency
- Technician Recruitment
- CSR Training to Book More Calls
- Managing Online Reviews
- Service Marketing
- Parts Inventory Management
- Warranty Claims Best Practices
- Employee Relations
At the conclusion of the 10-hour training, participants will be required to achieve a minimum 80% score on the final exam to receive certification. Space for this program is limited, so register today and plan to bolster your service department in 2023. For any questions or to register, please contact your member relations manager at (888) 254-9586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year!
AVB’s senior ServiceSource lead Paul MacDonald ran his own 38-tech service business and is a past president of the UASA. He currently operates the Expert Service Program, which helps servicers run their operations more efficiently and profitably. You can reach Paul at (647) 500-7785 or at email@example.com.