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As I monitor all inbound and outbound communication of Dealerships watching for signs of impending C.S.I. issues, new or missed sales and retention opportunities and, I am simply amazed at the amount of time, effort, energy and money that is expended by the Sales dept. to remedy issues. By contrast, Service rarely has these problems, but when they do, it’s from the same root cause. That’s right, the “C” word… Communication… or shall I say the lack thereof.
Recently I listened to a customer whose car had been in the shop for 2 days longer than anticipated, the wrong parts had shown up and it was going to be even longer as one needed component was back ordered. When asked about her experience she proclaimed “Your Service guy is a God!” (Keep in mind this was not a warranty issue, she was not in a loaner car and she was footing the bill herself). This response was so far away from what I had expected that I had to inquire further. Her explanation: “Look, I’m not happy about everything but I understand things happen and he has called everyday to offer shuttle service if I need it and keep me updated. Plus he always returns my calls! As long as he is there, I’ll never go anywhere else.”
No CRM or process can force it; this is a man who’s building for himself a career and a following.
By contrast, I’ve seen customers who were so happy with their experience that they sent in referrals who also bought cars. The salesman failed to follow-up on the $100 referral program check he had pitched to them at delivery. Even though the matter was eventually resolved to their satisfaction, the message from their salesperson had been received loud and clear.
Even if the news is unpleasant a swift delivery with a clear message will alleviate most hassles. “no there is no second set of keys” trumps “I don’t think there are but I’ll look and if they show up I’ll call” every time.
Communicate often, clearly and through the channel the customer is comfortable with. The payoff is huge.
What fail-safe's are in place at your Dealership? How often do you monitor or cross-check to measure that your expectation is being met? Pro-active will beat reactive every time!