Promised Times for Waiting Customer

jerry clark newsletterMost Service Advisors offer a promised time to every customer when they leave their vehicle at the dealership for service. More often than not, the same Services Advisors when dealing with a customer waiting at the dealership just send them to the Customer Lounge stating that I’ll call you when your vehicle is ready.

How can we meet or exceed the customers’ expectations if we don’t know what they are? Do we really believe that any customer would choose to wait 4 hours for their vehicle? Of course not; they think an hour will be all the time needed to complete their vehicle not realizing they have requested 4 hours of work. Most of our customers rely on us to know how long a repair takes.

If the Advisor given a promised time, it would have started a conversation allowing them to set a realistic time expectation and that customer may have chosen other alternatives to waiting.

Most dealers offer many alternatives like shuttle to the mall, home, work, rental, or loaner cars. Promised times for waiting customers will minimize the number of customers in the waiting lounge, and setting accurate time estimates will help us meet and or exceed the customer expectations, increasing retention and CSI. By asking the question, what time do you want to pick up your completed vehicle as opposed to were you going to wait on your vehicle, allows the customer a choice letting them feel in control. If the customer states they will wait, then the Advisor needs to realistically give the time frame it will take to complete the repairs. This will open a dialog with the customer that might go something like this:

Mr. Customer, that repair will take 4 hours. The Customer’s response might be, “4 hours! I can’t wait 4 hours”. This allows the Advisor to set a real expectation which allows the advisor to meet or exceed the customers’ expectations because they have set up a reasonable time frame to finish the vehicle.

Most Advisors learned long ago to set and reset if needed the customer’s price expectations we would never ask for work without giving a price or selling additional work without updating the prices. In today’s market, while price is still a consideration in a lot of cases, time is just as important if not more important than price to the customer.

Setting the original time expectation is critical and of course if additional services are requested and sold, we need to reset the customer’s time’s expectations as well. By setting realistic pricing and time expectations with our customer, we are able to consistently under promise and over deliver making the customer happy and creating great CSI scores and increasing customer retention.

Keeping customers informed is key to our business success.



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