Are You Prepared?


Trace-Starr-newsletterPrepaid maintenance, increased factory recalls, and increased sales volume are allowing many first time customers into your dealership. Are you prepared to meet the needs of these customers or are you allowing them to seek your competitors? Sometimes, you only get one chance at retaining new customers.

It begins by the ease of making an appointment. Be able to get customers into your dealership immediately. It is important for a new customer to have their schedule accommodated instead of having to work into the dealership’s schedule. When scheduling is full, look for alternative ways to accommodate these customers such as extended hours or weekend service. You have to be willing to show customers you are attempting to do everything you can to assist them. There are many alternatives where a customer can get immediate service. If you cannot accommodate their schedule, you may lose these customer’s business before you ever get them in the service department.

Once the customer is at the service department, have a dedicated process for making sure customers are taken care of properly. Present factory recommendations and perform a multi-point inspection for every customer. When a customer brings his/her vehicle into the service department, it is important that we provide a thorough analysis of the current condition of the vehicle. It is our job to give the customers the information needed to protect their investment. If a customer is waiting, show him/her any additional service requests that are identified. If possible, take pictures for “drop off” customers to provide a better understanding of what needs to be done.

An active delivery is the most important step in a customer’s service experience. It can change a customer’s service visit perception from bad to good or from good to bad. The service advisor should be the one that performs this process for every customer. In many instances, service departments mistakenly leave this process up to the cashier. An active delivery should consist of the advisor reviewing the repairs performed and the multipoint inspection, going over the survey, asking for additional business, and making sure the customer had an excellent service experience. If performed properly, the advisor can determine if additional issues need to be addressed for the customer to leave happy. The advisor can build the relationship with the customer and emphasize his/her desire to provide quality service.

Remember that every customer that comes into the dealership is an opportunity for future business. Many dealerships view recalls and other warranty related repairs as a hassle. At a time when many dealers are seeing increased traffic due to manufacture campaigns, we need to view this increased traffic as a great opportunity. Since these customers are already frustrated, we need to have processes in place to ease their anxiety and make the most of a bad situation. Anytime the dealership has the opportunity to service a new customer, it is a chance for amplified growth. We need to be prepared to do everything we can to enhance the customer’s experience. As we know, customer paid business is the requirement for sustained growth. Therefore, if we can turn these customers into regular clients, our overall long-term business will be increased. Customers will share their experience with others. It is important that the only information that they share about your dealership is positive.


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