What Language Do You Speak?

Elizabeth Newsletter Are your advisors speaking the same language as your customers? I’m not talking about Spanish, English or French. I’m talking about the dialect common among dealership employees. Let’s call it “Dealer-eez”.

“Dealer-eez” is derived from shortening commonly used phrases with the hope of shaving off a few precious seconds from a transaction, as well as acronyms assigned by manufacturers. Think about it carefully for a moment.

Here are some examples: “So your check engine light has been on for a few days. I’ll have the tech pull codes with the hand-held and then complete your MPVI. Once we get a clear diag, I’ll check SPG to get an estimate and give you a call.” or “Sorry it’s taking so long to write your RO. Global is really slow today and I have to run a VIS on your vehicle and start your MPVI before I send it to dispatch.” Although we perfectly understand what the advisor is conveying, most customers would be thoroughly confused by those explanations. And their confusion would be justified in both of those cases.

The most commonly used “Dealer-eez” words, acronyms and phrases: RO, SOP, MPVI, SPG, ADP, ECM, EGR, VIS, BDC, comeback, diag, promise time, book an order, walk around, Roadforce, Midtronics, dispatcher, bag & tag, shop supplies, LOF, FEA, DEF, Dexos, Rotella, Delvac, beam blades, SRS, SES, ECS, PRNDL (pronounced prindel) plate, PDI.

Communication is the key to a successful relationship. Effective communication allows us to manage customer expectations and relay information in the most accurate and respectful manner. When “Dealer-eez” is used in conversation with a customer, it can be misconstrued as condescending, or worse, a dishonest attempt at redirection to oversell what the vehicle actually needs. Ultimately, every interaction we have with our customers must be an active exercise in cultivating that relationship. Throughout the course of any given day in a dealership, we use a vocabulary that the general public typically does not understand. Industry slang creeps into our conversations so often that it goes unnoticed and unchecked, that is – unnoticed until there is a problem.

The next time you hear an advisor or parts attendant speaking with a customer, tune in for “Dealer-eez”. More than likely, the offender doesn’t even realize that they’re using industry slang. It’s important that everyone who has contact with customers understand that clear and concise communication is of paramount importance and that begins with speaking the same “language”.


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