The Clock is Your Friend

Tom W NewsletterCustomer satisfaction is always one of the biggest topics when discussing what needs to be improved in every dealership. Every manufacturer has a CSI process, and every dealership is held to some standard. How do you stack up against the dealerships in your area?

For years we have preached that the best way to have completely satisfied customers is to exceed their expectations. The question is: how do you exceed the customer’s expectation? The first step is, knowing what their expectation is. The only way to know this is for you to set the expectation. The best tool for setting a customer’s expectation is, or should be, hanging on the wall of your service drive. A clock!

Imagine Mrs. Jones just pulled on the drive for an oil change. Jim, your best service advisor, greets her quickly and listens while she asks for an oil change. Jim checks the mileage on the vehicle and recommends a tire rotation along with the oil change. Mrs. Jones says OK. Jim writes up the repair order (RO) and asks Mrs. Jones if she will be waiting. She replies yes. Jim points to the customer lounge and says her car should be done in about an hour. Thirty five minutes later, Mrs. Jones wanders out and asks Jim if her car is ready yet. Jim tells her no and that it will be about another twenty minutes. Mrs. Jones body language shows she is not really happy and she feels it is taking a long time. Will Mrs. Jones be a completely satisfied customer? NO!

What can be done differently in this situation to make Mrs. Jones a completely satisfied customer? Consider this… As Jim completes the RO, he looks at his watch and tells Mrs. Jones the following: “Mrs. Jones, it is 9:15. I can have these services completed by 10:15. Is this acceptable for you?” Mrs. Jones answers yes and Jim takes her to the customer lounge, shows her where the coffee pot is and where the bottled water is. He also points out the clock. He then tells Mrs. Jones that if anything unforeseen comes up, he will let her know immediately.

What do you think is the possibility that Mrs. Jones will wander out at 9:45 to ask Jim if her car is ready? Pretty slim; right? Jim comes in to the customer lounge. It’s 10:05 and he informs Mrs. Jones her car is finished. Have we exceeded her expectations? You Bet! Will Mrs. Jones be a completely satisfied customer? YES!

The same holds true for customers who are waiting in other locations besides the dealership. Specific clock times must be agreed upon with the customer for a follow-up contact. You cannot exceed the customer’s expectation if you tell them “I will call you later”. Your “later” and the customer’s “later” will not be the same.

Make the clock your friend and use this very inexpensive tool to exceed your customers’ expectations. Remember, you will increase your chance of having a completely satisfied customer if you exceed their expectations.

Satisfied Customers = Customer Retention

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