Offering F&I in the Service Lane Means Everyone Wins… Especially Your Customers

‘Do you have a vehicle service contract?' 

A question asked by Service Advisors everyday when customers are facing a large and often ill-timed repair. 

Your Service Lane is a reliable and consistent source of revenue for your dealership and one of the most ‘high touch’ environments for customers. All day long they are engaged and working to elevate the experience of quality service & repair. But they can do much more…

If your Service Advisors are not currently in a position to offer sales of VSC or certain ancillaries, you may want to consider it now. At a time where dealerships are still reeling from two years of crazy market conditions including low inventory, any new stream of profits should be considered. 

The most successful dealerships lean into a focus on treating every customer like family and working hard to make they come back. Retention is key and though it starts on the showroom floor, it continues through to service. Offering protection products to your customers when they are in a tough spot with a high dollar repair and doing it with true honesty and empathy, can be the thing that makes your dealership stand out. 

F&I and Service can work together with customers that declined coverage or other products at the time of sale. But for this to work well, there are certain strategies dealerships must employ to make sure it’s easy to offer F&I products in service…

Tips to Introduce F&I Products in Service

  • Train ‘em up - Make sure the advisors understand the products/terms offered so when they have the opening to sell it, they know exactly the right coverage to offer. The more comfortable they are presenting it, the more natural it will be.

  • Don’t Call it F&I - Refer to the VSC and other ancillaries as ‘protection’ packages/products as a more fluid and less intimidating way to introduce it. Customers often have a negative reaction to “F&I’ that it’s not necessary to refer to it that way.

  • Preparation is Important - The service advisor should ask upfront if there is any mechanical breakdown policy available when writing up the RO. After the tech has given his diagnosis, now they are in a better position to recommend a policy if there isn’t one and not waste their time if one already exists.

  • Walk-Around Inspection - Before checking the car into the service lane, have the advisor do a quick walk-around to point out any anomalies that could be fixed by a PDR plan or tire & wheel. Customers will appreciate the time and thorough understanding of these issues that they may not be paying full attention to in everyday driving.

  • Build Value & trust - Being transparent and honest with customers who may not have any protection for unexpected repairs helps build the kind of trust and open-mindedness necessary to sell a policy in the lane. They are not ‘selling’ as much as they are making a ‘recommendation to help avoid this kind of expense down the road.’ Semantics makes all the difference here. No hard sell, just a recommendation. 

Solid Process Leads to Solid Profits

Having a set and realistic process for offering F&I products in service is just as important as how it’s offered. If there is not a set SOP in place, it can be a disordered mess for everyone. Here are some suggestions for how to implement a system that makes it easy and profitable for everyone…

  • Settle on Compensation - F&I gets very well compensated for every VSC sold but that doesn’t mean that a service advisor shouldn’t as well. Make a comp plan that incentivizes service staff to walk through all the steps properly to be able to offer a plan and make it worth their effort. It could be a percentage of the overage or it could be a flat spiff per policy. But make sure it’s worth their while.

  • F&I Platform Access - Your F&I staff has their own platform for presenting and printing out the necessary forms, so make sure there is access to that same platform in service. Customers who decide to purchase a VSC or other ancillary like key replacement or PDR don’t want to have to walk to the other side of the building to get their paperwork. 

  • Sharpen the Process - Have a detailed, step-by-step process that is consistent for all service staff to follow. Leave nothing to chance and your customers will thank you for it. 

  • Encourage Teamwork - Where this entire process can break down is with F&I staff feeling like they are having commissionable opportunities taken from them. By introducing this new process as a way to not only increase department profits but also to raise penetration rates, it can be delivered as a win-win. 

Offer a bonus for the total monthly amount of VSC’s sold so that F&I is motivated to help when they can as they will share in any monetary incentive. This encourages the kind of teamwork that makes this new process a success.

The best products to offer in the service lane would include VSC (standard, high mileage, and lifetime powertrain) and ancillaries like PDR, key replacement, and tire & wheel. These are all products that customers naturally feel they ‘don’t need’ when they first buy their car but when they come in for service or an unexpected repair, presents a perfect opportunity to ‘suggest’ they consider it now based on what’s happening with the car now.

truWarranty has a full suite of products that your service advisors can offer, backed up by next-gen claims and marketing support. Built from the ground by dealers, for dealers. GIve us a call today so we can help you open a new channel to higher profits.

date published
April 1, 2022

Related Articles