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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development

Exclusive Blog Posts

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5 Things Your Service Customer Isn't Telling You

Customers - just like the advisors - often think one thing and say another. To alleviate the guessing games and unnecessary drama here are the top five things your customers are thinking, but just not saying until they get the survey that is!

Where do I go?? - Okay, let me see - do I pull up into here who do I work with? Am I going to get my maintenance package I already bought?

Sounds simple, but the fact of the matter is the advisor needs to approach the customer in their vehicle as they’ve pulled into the lane. Making sure that the customer is not waiting a prolonged amount of time for the garage to open.

On the flip side, standing behind a counter staring at them as they awkwardly try and find an advisor to go to will set you to a bad start. Especially when there is other personnel in the lane that has not greeted them. The customer might not know that s/he is in the middle of completing something.

Greeting the customer will make them feel more comfortable! The more comfortable s/he feels, the more they will spend.

How long will it take?

In a perfect world, an oil change would be done in less than 40 minutes. But the truth is if the customer did not have an appointment and came in at 12 PM during the rush then the service will take longer than expected. Be upfront and honest with the customer. Possibly even offering the customer a rental or shuttle service using it as an opportunity to upsell the customer! Talk about a wow moment, right?

(this for extreme cases, typically. Where the wait time could be more than 120 minutes for an oil change)

Keeping the customer informed!

This is nothing new. In fact, at DSES 2016 there was a speaker that said if Domino's - who is delivering a $10 pizza - can keep the customer informed on app. Why then can’t we keep them informed on a vehicle!?

One of the most effective ways of combating this issue is to figure out what your platform offers in the way of texting, emailing, etc. In addition to making sure to *ask* your customer what their preferred method of communication is when dropping off their vehicle. 

Think about it, if the customer is not aware of their status - they are going to call in. When they call in the advisor is with another customer. The customer gets stranded on hold and hangs up. And does it all over again until s/he gets ahold of someone. Or, worse, they just show up - only to find that their vehicle is not ready. Having to wait. Ouch. Not a good situation to be in!

Do I really need that?

Upselling isn’t always easy, am I right? However, if customers are presented the service in a way that makes sense to them the likelihood of their buying that upsell is that much greater!

For example, it all starts with the initial greeting. If you took your time with the customer and did a complete walk-around, then you had time to point out “concerns” such as windshield wipers, tires, brakes - etc.

I would also focus on selling certain products. Not just the typical special bundle, but have a “hot item” and create a sales pitch that is a part of the walk-around. I think you would be surprised with the success of it. As you know, it is all about the way you sell.

Couldn't you take five mins to vacuum out my car? I just spent $150!?

It is all about impressions and experience, no? The customer doesn’t realize or know what the markup is for a service. In their minds, they have just spent $150 - to ease that pain of spending they will feel that much better leaving in a cleaner vehicle. Not to mention, many OEMS ask their customer if the vehicle was cleaned after they left.

How expensive is it for the service lane to have a vacuum on hand? And no, not a shop vac causing tornado like noises in the service lane. But a simple vacuum that is kept in the lane. Where the customer can visibly see you vacuuming the vehicle. It is all about perception!

So let’s face it - we have all had that moment waiting in line where we’re thinking one thing but revert and say another. Our customers do the same thing. The problem with this approach, however, is that by the time the customer does voice their thoughts, concerns, and problems it is too late. The damage is already done. Damage that overshadows all of the hard work and time you have put in with the customer!

How do you handle keeping the customer informed - texting or calling? How has managing some of the above issues impacted your CSI in a positive way? 


Jay Maddireddy

Derrick,  You brought up great points, that are usually not caught by the advisors.  Unlike the sales rep who has to follow up of 10-30 sold car customers in a month, each of the service advisors may write about 350-550 Repair orders per month. If some one watches the service floor, the service advisors do not have even few minutes of time to do their own job of dancing between technicians and customers. 

We have deployed our CSI Booster platform for many dealerships and our system fetches about 350 to 600 feedback reviews per month, of which 45 to 170 are negative reviews with 4-star and below every month. 

Dealers and Service Directos love our platform. Despite our CSI system has in-built Phone Calling, Texting, and Emailing, it is a big challenge for many of the dealerships to take time off to respond to our  350-600 reviews per month. Hence, we had to automate some of their operations of responding to the customer reviews through our platform.

Service Manager/Directors go through much more tough time in motivating their advisors to produce more on top of their normal job for CSI follow up. I hope Dealer principals see your points and give an extra advisor to busy service department, who can handle CSI and followup operations and keep the customers returning for life! 

Upselling: The advisors' payplans often are tied to upselling, and they can not resist to meet their upsellig quotas being watched by GMs and Owners. 

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