Think of some of the world’s biggest brands that are known for the best customer service. Apple and Starbucks may immediately jump to mind for some people. Now think of why they’re the best. The reason customers return to these businesses, time and time again, is their focus on consistent customer service. The customer is greeted and warmly welcomed, their needs are addressed, and everything is laid out in a clear and easy-to-understand fashion.
Is your dealership doing this for your customers? With the right training and a dealership service menu, your auto dealership can find itself at the top of the list when it comes to offering the best customer experience in town.
Putting a Process in Place
Some dealership service departments excel at taking care of their customers, while others seem as though they’re scurrying around putting out fires. Ringing phones go unanswered, customers wander in and are unsure where to go, and once they’re greeted, they’re given the feeling that the purpose of their visit isn’t to address their concerns — it’s to up-sell them an unnecessary grocery list of maintenance items. These kinds of experiences can create unhappy customers and a high rate of customer churn.
Whether a customer is visiting your dealership for a complimentary maintenance appointment or they’re coming by for maintenance or a repair issue, it’s essential that your team have a consistent process in place to welcome the customer and address their concerns right away. This starts by ensuring that all phone calls are answered and routed to the correct department in a timely manner and continues when the customer arrives in person and receives a friendly greeting as soon as they come through the door.
After the customer is greeted, (“Hi! Welcome to XYZ Toyota! Let’s see, Mr. Smith … I have you down for an oil and filter change today!”) it’s important to listen to any concerns they may have before discussing any items on the dealership service menu that may be appropriate for this visit. If the customer is worried about an odd noise coming from their engine, for example, they’re going to be frustrated if the service advisor seems focused on selling them a new cabin air filter.
A good process is to greet the customer, state what the appointment is for, listen to their concerns, and only after those concerns have been addressed and their mind has been put at ease should you move on to appropriate items on your dealership service menu.
Utilizing the Dealership Service Menu
Dealerships are constantly working to set themselves apart from the competition, whether it’s selling service drive maintenance contracts or educating customers about why getting their cars repaired and maintained by certified dealership technicians is better than opting for a local mechanic.
When it comes to standing out from your local Jiffy Lube, Midas, or Grease Monkey, one struggle many dealerships have is with price. Many customers opt to take their vehicles into their local quickie oil change chain because they have a perception that they’ll pay a higher price at their franchised auto dealership.
This is how having a dealership service menu can help. By clearly laying out all of your prices, you make the process easy and transparent for your customers. You might even consider putting your competitors’ prices up on the board next to your own for the sake of quick comparison. A dealership service menu is also a great way to lay out service drive maintenance contracts in a way that’s easy for customers to compare and understand.
This entire process should be customer-centric instead of being focused on what the dealership can sell. The greeting, summing up the purpose of the appointment that’s listed on the record, hearing the customer out to address their concerns, and then moving through any applicable dealership service menu items should all be geared towards what the customer needs rather than what the service advisor would like to sell.
The result will be an increase in customer retention. Your service department will turn out customers who are pleased with the human touch and individual attention they received at their appointment, leading them to return in the future. After all, your ultimate goal isn’t to sell them an alignment now — it’s to sell them their next vehicle a few years down the road.