Cold Weather Customer Service

Robert Karbaum
Today in Toronto will be -30 celsius (with the wind chill) or for my American comrades -22 fahrenheit. Yes, fellow Canadian's in the prairies laugh at these mild figures, but for me it's apocalyptically cold. The auto industry does not fare well in these temperatures, especially in used departments and fixed operations. What do you do differently on extreme cold weather days for your customers?
Lauren Moses
Robert. Sorry for the super cold. We woke up to 23 degrees F this morning and that is cold enough. We southerns aren't cut out for such cold conditions. We are expecting snow tomorrow and I swear the swat team is going to be out in there tank with snow chains. No....I'm so not joking on the last line there....They really have a tank....and snow chains...in Louisiana. That's our sheriff for you. As for what we do with our customers....When it gets that cold if they are coming for a specific vehicle (i.e. an appointment was set, etc.) I pull it under the wings and have it running and warmed up. Do a quick walk around with them and then jump inside to warm up.
R Kelly
Here in Edmonton, we do a number of things to prepare, especially on the days that it's -40 (which is a few times a year and just last week) 1. Have a few of your core vehicles pulled up and warmed, brushed off and ready to go. It may not be the exact vehicle, but when a high percentage won't start, at least you have one or 2 to show. 2. Use the service drive-thru. We are lucky to have a huge service drive-thru and the advisors and service department fully understand our need to do walk-arounds in a warmer environment. 3. We preach the interview process. This will help select the vehicle a little easier than making the customer walk the lot as we typically do, though most are dressed for the weather. Speaking of which, all of my salesmen MUST be dressed appropriately for the cold (Boots, Hats, Scarves Gloves etc..) 4. Remember that when it's that cold, people are not there to look. Nobody ever woke up on a minus 40 morning and looked at their significant other and said "hey lets go brave the cold to see whats new on the car lots"
Lauren Moses
since y'all are in alot colder area that I am, have y'all ever thought about having gloves and scarves made with the dealership logos on them? Lend them to customers to use (if they don't have their own) and then if they purchase let them keep them as a "Thank you" gift. Just a thought.
Robert Karbaum
Extreme cold can be a good thing. It almost entirely eliminates tire kickers.
Lauren Moses
Robert, You make a good point. Though even the 20 degree weather here has eliminated almost all of our tire kickers. We just aren't cut out for this cold weather. How do y'all handle test drives in the cold and snow? I'm sure your customers are used to driving in such conditions but do y'all have any times when you Don't allow test drives because of weather?

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