Loaner vehicles are a great resource for service customers and dealerships, yet most stores, before they sign up with Dealerware, average just 52% utilization across their fleets.
By increasing utilization across all vehicles in a fleet, dealers can improve the overall customer experience, increase CSI scores, and can even increase profits on each repair order.
So why do so few dealerships maintain healthy utilization rates, like 80% or even higher, across their fleets?
The reality is that multiple factors can cause loaner fleets to be drastically underused. Underutilization means an asset that should be making you more profitable is instead eating into your bottom line.
What causes low utilization?
Identifying the cause of underutilization is key to seeing the best return on a dealership’s investments in courtesy loaner fleets.
Fleet management speed bumps such as delayed vehicle returns, lackadaisical advisors and busy wash bays can result in less than stellar vehicle utilization.
Inventory shortages further complicate strategies for balancing utilization. With fewer loaner vehicles, more customers will have to wait at the dealership or find another ride, which can have a negative impact on CSI and repair order values.
Even without a global vehicle shortage, day-to-day complexities around the dealership already make it difficult to keep vehicle utilization high and balanced across a whole fleet of courtesy cars. With limited dealership lot space, advisors may choose to put a customer in a vehicle that’s nearby, and pass on hunting for a lower mileage unit that’s stashed in a back lot. Busy wash bays tend to make loaners a lower priority, which means customers are given whatever vehicle has already been cleaned.
By far the biggest detriment to loaner utilization: customers not returning loaners until days after their service is complete. They love the nicer, newer cars, so they hold onto them over the weekend, taking road trips in your assets. While they enjoy the ride, you watch your waiting room clog up, and other customers have to wait longer for their service because of that one missing loaner.
Dealerware can help
Dealerware is designed to help dealerships maximize the utilization of every vehicle in their fleet, so they get the most out of their vehicle investment. Dealerware’s simple dashboard gives users access to data and analytics that help you determine how and where you and your team can improve.
Take the example of delayed loaner returns, the biggest detriment to utilization. Maybe the customer doesn’t see the urgency to return right away, or maybe a service advisor told them not to worry about how long they’re in the loaner. Or worse, they may not have been contacted after their repair order was closed.
Dealerware has features in place to help overcome those delays. Service team leaders can help speed up loaner returns by looking at service advisor performance metrics on the Dealerware dashboard.
The service advisor performance report shows which advisors have customers that tend to stay in vehicles longer. Leaders can then coach those employees on when and how to follow up. Fleet managers can also sort open loaner contracts based on length of loan to find outliers who may not know their vehicle is ready for pickup, then make sure they’re notified.
Dealerships can also proactively influence customers to get courtesy loaners back sooner by adding daily rates to contracts that stay open beyond a certain number of days, to create urgency in return times. While we know charging fees can be a touchy subject, we’ve found that up-front and fully transparent communications with customers make daily rates a non-issue, and Dealerware’s mobile contracts put agreement terms in plain English, so your customers know what they’re signing.
Supercharge utilization with telematics
Connected Car Services from Dealerware allow users to easily find all of their vehicles on an interactive map. This helps advisors find and use loaners that may be overlooked because they are in a remote section of the lot. The map view also helps dealership teams better organize and prepare loaner vehicles for the next customer by tracking returned vehicles based on their status, pushing them through clean-up and staging them appropriately. Faster turn times mean higher utilization.
Proper scheduling is not only key to maximizing utilization, but also instrumental in providing an experience that will keep your customers coming back. Dealerware provides users the ability to quickly and easily create reservations for future loaner and rental needs on either their desktop computer or mobile device of their choice.
Combined with the Daily Schedule feature, which provides a filterable overview of all loaner reservations scheduled for the day, dealerships can plan wash and prep times to ensure they have the right vehicles ready at the right time, so customers can walk in and walk right back out.
Maximizing your fleet utilization means you’re getting the absolute most out of every vehicle in your courtesy fleet. Dealerware’s easy-to-use platform and industry leading support team are here to help you continuously improve your loaner and rental car utilization. On average, dealerships see a 25% utilization increase when they switch to Dealerware, and some of our power users even exceed 100% utilization (it’s not magic, it’s multi-contract days!)
Effective mobility options mean happier customers, improved repair order throughput, a more efficient team, and most importantly, more revenue for your dealership. Schedule a demo and see how much your utilization can improve with Dealerware.