In most cases, we choose the service business as an occupation to be able to interact with customers and build relationships, while also earning money to make a living. Lately, it seems that many of us are concentrating too much on making money and less on building relationships. We are concentrating on how service maintenance intervals are increasing, how the manufacturers are building better vehicles that require less repairs, and how we are going to make up for the money we are losing. The answer is to go back to concentrating on building the relationships with our customers and the money will come.
Begin with the first impression:
As a fixed operations director, I would get frustrated when a customer would call in to check on their vehicle and not remember with whom they had spoken. I felt that the advisor should have done a better job of selling themselves. The customer’s first interaction with the advisor is, in many instances, the most crucial part of the relationship building experience. Always perform the following:
- Look presentable – Be groomed and dressed appropriately
- Greet immediately – Smile
- Introduce yourself by name. Let them know who you are. If there is a way for a customer to remember your name, use it. Try to know their name whenever possible by utilizing your DMS appointment system.
- Impress upon them your willingness to make sure they have an “excellent” service visit. Use the word, or number that corresponds with the result you need on your CSI. For example, “I want to make sure I do everything in my power to make your visit a 10.”
Build value in what you do:
The little things are what set you apart from your competition. It is every person’s “job” in the service department to take care of the customer when they come in for a service visit. Attempt to be better than just performing your job. In many instances, we do not get credit for what we do. For instance, if you have the ability to replace wipers, let the customer see you replacing them. They will be impressed that you are willing to perform the work yourself. If the service department is running a special or the customer receives a discount on work performed, make sure to inform the customer of what they received. In many cases, we discount work for various reasons without the customer’s knowledge, therefore not receiving the benefit. Take credit for recognizing that the customer is eligible for discounted pricing. Keep in contact with the customer throughout their service visit by re-emphasizing to ask for you if there is anything they need.
Perform active delivery with every customer:
The other important time to build the relationship with the customer is when performing active delivery. This is your opportunity to summarize to the customer about their service visit. You should go over the multipoint inspection and explain what was performed and inform them of upcoming service needs that need to be addressed. Commit one more time to making sure that you are there for them to answer any questions related to their automotive needs. If for some reason you are not available when the customer picks up their vehicle, contact the customer as soon as possible to apologize for missing them when they picked it up, and perform the active delivery over the phone.
Building the relationship with your customer will help you to enjoy what you do. If an advisor is having a bad day, it is usually caused by an altercation with a dissatisfied customer. Customers that you develop a business relationship with are usually characterized as “good customers.” Good customers help to overcome the frustrations that occur when having dissatisfied customers. They learn to trust what you are telling them which increases customer retention and profitability. We sometimes believe there is not enough time to get everything done. I am fully aware that customer service is not easy. However, many times we are busy “putting out fires” instead of following the process designed to build the relationship with the customer. Make it your top priority!