Exceeding Expectation Through Communication

Jim Welch Newsletter Many times the first thing I notice when I walk into a dealership on a Monday morning is the long line of customers waiting to talk with a service consultant. Then I start thinking, “Are our customers receiving the level of attention they need and deserve?” “Have we truly understood the reason for their visit?” “Have we provided them with the information needed to make an informed decision on their maintenance needs?” As managers, it is our responsibility to ensure that our service consultants exceed the customer’s expectations and deliver a level of service that is second to none.

When was the last time you worked the drive on a Monday morning with the consultants side by side, coaching them along the way and leading by example?

A standard process should be in place that our consultants are performing. The first section of this process may also include the porters. It’s important that they have the proper training and coaching as our consultants if they are the first person coming into contact with the customers arriving at the dealership. The process should be as follows:

1) Friendly Meeting and Greeting

  • Smile
  • Introduce Yourself
  • Welcome them to XYZ Motors

2) Listen to Customer’s Concern

  • Find out what they are bringing their car in for

3) Confirm Understanding of Customer’s Concern

  • Repeat back to the customer your understanding
  • Receive back a verbal “Yes” before moving on

4) Communicate Expectations

  • What are you going to do to their car?
  • How much will it cost?
  • When will it be completed?

5) Introduction to the MPVI

  • Explain the Multi-Point Vehicle Inspection (MPVI)
  • Ask permission to perform the MPVI

6) Maintenance Menu

  • Provide the Customer with a Maintenance Menu
  • Ask for permission to complete the recommended maintenance

7) Administrative

  • Gather the Customer’s information
  • How would they prefer to be contacted?
  • Establish a time to contact the Customer regarding the progress of their car

8) Transportation

  • Offer alternate transportation in line with dealership policy

This is not new nor a revelation that just came about. This is taught by many and practiced by far too few. If we don’t use effective listening skills, how will we be able to determine the needs of our customers? I was told years ago, “That we were born with two ears and one mouth.” Maybe we should be listening twice as much as we talk?

Just one sign of indifference by a service consultant, porter or shuttle driver will leave your customer feeling less than a valued customer.

With all the options your customers have for maintenance and repair facilities, the importance can’t be overstressed on developing a customer relation process, implementing it, and committing to follow it. Customer retention is a priority, not only for their return business, but for the facility’s reputation and potential future business with new clients.

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