As consumers, we have choices. We choose what we want, how we are going to get it, and where we are going to get it from. If you ask a room full of people where their favorite places are to shop, you may get answers such as; The Apple Store, Best Buy, Lowes, or Publix. Hardly ever, do they mention discount stores. It goes to show you that it is not always about price; it is about the level of service and how you are valued as a customer. Ask a lady where they get their hair done. They too want value and expect a higher level of service than the discount hairdressers.
Let’s face it, now-a-days, we can purchase almost anything on line, from a tee-shirt, to a computer or even a car. People, in general do not want to buy anything, they want to be sold something. That is why, for example, if I, as a consumer, want to buy a TV, I don’t buy one in my underwear sitting on my couch from my computer. What do I do? I get dressed, go to Best Buy and I am sold a TV. Why? Because I want to be valued. The same holds true when purchasing a vehicle. So, the question still remains, why do people go into a car dealership? The answer is simple. They do not go into a dealership to buy a car, they go into a dealership to be sold a car.
By now you are asking, what does this have to do with service? The answer is simple. Value. Let me explain. When a customer arrives in your service department, they are already pre-sold. They understand that you are the experts, and you know their car. They understand that they can go almost anywhere for service, but they chose you. Remember, if we can get our existing customers to return to your store just one more time a year, you have essentially doubled your business. How do we keep them coming back and earn the right to do business with them again? You guessed it, build value in the visit. How do we do that?
Its starts with the phone call. Smile over the phone. The customer will know you are smiling the way you answer the phone. Speak clearly, demonstrate courtesy and make the customer comfortable so they want to do business with you.
“Hello, you have reached Hometown Motors. This is Mike in the service department. How may I help you today?”
- Answer questions promptly. If you don’t know, find out.
- Get as much information as you can over the phone, especially customer’s name. This will begin building the relationship.
- Invite them to the dealership. “I have an opening today at 1:00 and 1:30, which one is better for you?”
- Get the commitment and make the appointment.
Greeting and Pre Write-Up
- Do your homework:
- Check vehicle history for previous recommended or needed services
- Check manufacturer’s website for open recalls, technical services bulletins, special services messages, and warranty information
- check parts availability where applicable
- Update contact information such as email address, current phone number and address, etc.
- Check for any “specials” that may be available such as manufacturers rebates etc.
- Have a game plan:
- Secure a promise time for work that needs to done – expect unforeseen circumstances
- Secure alternate transportation issues for customers who may need them, such as a shuttle ride to work, loaner car, discounted rental etc.
- If customer is waiting for the service, make sure work to be done will be done within a reasonable amount of “wait” time – otherwise suggest alternate transportation
- Welcome them upon arrival:
- Greet them by name and introduce yourself
- Thank them for coming in
- Offer hand shake (yes people still do shake hands)
- Look them in the eye when speaking to them and listen to what they have to say
- Make them feel special – let them know that their needs will be taken care of
- Establish trust and build the relationship
- Tell the customer exactly what you are going to do and why
- Perform walk-around
- Ask them to join you in the process
- Engage the customer in the process – put them to work by having them step on the brakes while checking brake lights, beep the horn, turn on wipers, “pop” the hood etc. – Allow them to be part of the process
- Allows the customer and the service consultant to build trust and establishing a relationship
- Allows customer and advisor to acknowledge any damage protecting dealership from unnecessary expense and repairs
- Allows advisor to have selling opportunities immediately by pointing out needed service such as tires, batteries, air filters, dent repairs, headlight restoration etc.
- Present menu and offer Multi-Point Vehicle Inspection
- Establish commitments and stick to them:
- Agree upon a time to contact customer with update
- Establish promise time
- Verify best method of contact such as phone call, email, text etc.
- Follow through – if you told them you would call them at 2:00 with an update, call them at 2:00, not about 2:00, or 2:30, call them when you say. Even if you do not have an update or repairs are taking longer than expected, unforeseen circumstances etc., call them anyway and let them know
- Be honest and truthful
- When vehicle is completed, make sure all repairs were performed and addressed
- If parts needed to be ordered, verify status and be ready to communicate findings to customer – “We did not have that particular part needed for your car in stock today, so I took the liberty of trying to find one locally. Unfortunately I could not secure one. However, I did order one from the manufacturer and will have the part overnighted (or next day) for you at no additional charge” sounds much better than: “We had to order it”
- Have all paperwork complete including results of Multi-Point Vehicle Inspection
- Make sure vehicle is clean and ready for delivery – (free from grease marks, fingerprints, and dirty floor mats, etc.)
- Contact customer and let them know vehicle is ready and establish pick up time
- Secure alternate transportation if needed
- Active Delivery:
- Promptly greet them upon arrival
- Go over paper work – line by line with what was done and all charges related to that repair or services, even if it was no charge and under warranty – again builds value
- Go over findings from Multi-Point Vehicle Inspection Report Card
- Set up NEXT appointment
- Thank them for their business
- Follow up 3 or 4 days after visit to make sure everything was ok, answer any questions they may have, and thank them again for their business
As simple as this seems, if we stick to the basics like communicating, telling the truth, smiling, and keeping the customer informed, we have done more than our competitor. We have built trust, built a relationship, and have earned the right for that customer to do business with us again. We gave them value.