CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
First impressions are everything. If you walk into a store and are not greeted with a “Hello” or “Can I help you find something?” it quickly puts a bad taste in your mouth. Same thing if you walk into a restaurant, sit down at a table, and no one waits on you for fifteen minutes. You’ll be tempted to get up and leave, no matter how much people rave about their food.
The point is, customers will gladly choose someone else for car repair if you don’t proactively help them. Remember that every service center essentially offers the same thing: Car repairs or tune-ups. It’s what your employees do that makes your center stand out.
Let’s get one thing straight: Every business has customer service. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t make any profit. So it’s what YOU do to stand out from the competition that matters, and the results will reflect favorably on your bottom line.
Time is of the essence
Service appointments can be lengthy, so make sure the time the customer spends at your service center is short but helpful. As soon as someone walks through the door, they should be greeted within 40 seconds. Anything longer than that and you may have a frustrated customer
People who call your business are just as (if not more) important as those walk-ins. Pick up the phone in less than three rings. By the fourth ring, the customer is tempted to hang up. They need help now and your competition is happy to accommodate them.
Make them feel important… because they are!
If the customer has made an appointment, make sure to greet the person by “Mr.” or “Miss/Mrs.” followed by their last name. This simple step makes the person feel like the most important person to visit that day. Make sure to offer a beverage or a snack during their wait, especially if it may be a long one. If they are a returning customer, ask if you can call them by a first name. This makes the conversation feel more one-to-one.
On their first visit to the service center, introduce your manager. Visible management is crucial in creating that special feeling of being taken care of. The service manager should give the customer their business card so they are approachable. If the service doesn’t meet the customer’s standards at the end of the appointment, they know exactly who to go to without question.
The key to making your customer service stand out is to look at what your competitors are doing… or better yet, what they’re not doing. Creativity will bring new customers into your service center, and thoughtful gestures will make them stay customers. Every time a new driver brings their car in for a repair, offer some sort of special service or coupon. That way, the decision between you and a competitor is an easy one every time.
Once your work is complete, leave something like a chocolate and a thank you card on their center console. Since you have the person’s information in your system now, send them a birthday card with another special promotion. Chances are they’ll come to you for that promotion, and spend a little on getting their alignment fixed while they’re at it.
Now that’s customer service.