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Denim Simkins

Denim Simkins Director, Fixed Ops

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Understand your customer and excel in building your business

bff5602635f232a1499094efe01f866c.jpg?t=1Understanding the difference between a “transactional customer” and a “relational customer” is the first step to helping your team succeed in customer satisfaction and future sales.

Applying an ideal training program that gives your employee the competence and the confidence to help customers properly and start building a “relational” type customer is the next step.

“Sales people are not needed to quote prices. They are the bridge between the selling price and the perception of value provided to earn the sale – Jeffery Gitomer

A transactional customer is simply there to fill their current need. They are customers that you will see in your service department once a year or maybe once every two years having a repair completed on their vehicle. Compare that to the relational customer when you review their service history they have pages upon pages of service history and their service history includes all type of services from oil changes to mechanical repair.

Here are a few more quick examples comparing the two different customers we see on a daily basis.

Transactional Shopper

  • Only focused on todays need, has little thought of future purchases
  • “Good deal” Price is the number one influencer in purchase decision and are very happy to negotiate
  • Have already become the expert of the needed repair due to the research they have already performed

Relational Shopper

  • Considers todays purchase as a series of future purchases
  • Motivating factor or purchase decision is confidence in making the right decision, not price – They are simply looking for the “right place to buy”
  • Looking for an expert they can trust

Now it should be very easy to see and determine what type of customer you would like to see more of in your service drive. Now lets take the next step and talk about the most effective way to help your staff achieve this goal.

Training – the key to helping your team become better is first recognition, and then developing a training plan to help overcome some of these type of roadblocks in service.

A consistent training program will help your team identify these customers and have the confidence to help convert all your customers into a relational type long-term loyal customer. Here are some training tips to accomplish this.

  • Repetition – Train, train again and then train again. The more you talk about it the more effective it becomes
  • Variety – Discuss the same topics if necessary but look at it from all angles and apply a different approach.
  • Small Doses – instead of having an hour-long session consider 4  - fifteen minute training sessions to keep it short and simple and not a burden.
  • Apply knowledge quickly – encourage employees to apply todays training content immediately, even on the next customer.
  • Interesting – make it interesting and encourage collaboration.
  • Feedback – encourage feedback from your employees for future training.

Now that you are looking at your customer base differently, discuss it with your team and help them identify the benefits of having relational type customer in the service drive. Knowing that a relational type customer is looking for an expert to help them make the right decision, apply a training program that gives them the confidence to be the expert.

Sean Travers
Good read. My service managers receive an email with similar insight for all upcoming appointments. It has increased upsell $/RO by 23%.
Roger Conant
Agreed...and men are more apt to be "transactional"---women, more "relational". Notice I said "more apt" to. There are exceptions and every customer is different, but women and men "tend" to go in different directions at the service center.

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