Many dealerships state that their Service Departments are packed full of customers. As the Service demand has skyrocketed this summer and is predicted to continue that way for months, dealers wonder what they can do to stand out from the competition and keep customers coming back after the market eventually settles. The solution: customer experience.
Customer experience is key in many B2C industries -- including automotive. 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company. With that statistic in mind, here are 4 tips dealers should apply in their Service Departments to deliver the best customer experiences:
From the moment the customer calls into the Service Department or walks through the doors of the dealership, he or she should know what to expect. When a customer is inquiring about a maintenance request, Service teams should be able to break down the next steps to the customer such as the cost of the service, the estimated time it will take, the method and frequency in which the customer will be updated on their vehicle’s status, and anything needed from the customer upon pickup. Setting expectations creates a much smoother customer experience and eliminates typical questions the customer would have early on in the process.
After setting expectations with the customer, it’s important to follow through on them. One of those expectations is how vehicle status updates will be provided. When customers are left in the dark, not knowing the status of their vehicle or when it’ll be ready to pick up, they can become understandably frustrated. Having a process in place, whether it's through an automated texting platform or advisors physically calling a customer, providing vehicle status updates makes sure the customer is aware of what’s happening with his or her vehicle. For services under a day, don’t let more than 2 hours go by without an update. For repair orders longer than a day, don’t go a full day without an update. The customer can then plan accordingly on when and how they can return to the dealership to pick up their vehicle. Timely vehicle status updates replace worry with understanding – and customers will appreciate those efforts.
Bad news is not fun to give. Whether it’s due to a misquoted price estimate or a part no longer in stock, these factors can damage the customer experience if not handled properly. Things can go wrong outside of our control. However, reporting the issue to the customer as it arises is something that can be controlled. Instead of avoiding the call to give a customer bad news, understand that this is an opportunity to sympathize with the customer, apologize for the delay, and offer a solution. For example, let’s say a customer's radiator is leaking and needs to be replaced. After the customer drops off their vehicle and leaves the dealership, the Service team finds out the part they have in stock does not fit that customer’s specific vehicle and the part needed won’t be delivered until the next day. Immediately call the customer and inform them of the situation, apologize for the mistake, offer the customer the solution of a free loaner vehicle, and assist with getting that arranged. The customer may still be upset, but it’s much easier to acknowledge the problem early and offer a potential solution as opposed to letting more time pass by.
One of the best ways to know how a Service Department is performing is by seeing what customers are saying about it. Rather than sending a follow-up email with a survey to rate his or her experience, have the customer complete a survey before leaving the Service drive. Advisors can provide a summary of the work done on the customer’s vehicle and hand the customer a tablet to rate their experience. The number of responses will not only increase, but the quality of the feedback will be strong due to the experience being top of mind for the customer. Furthermore, depending on tools in place, this data can be sent to CRM. Service managers can then use this reporting to implement process changes to create improvements in the Service Department.
Although times are good in the Service industry, this shouldn’t be a reason to settle. Take advantage of the current market and give customers the best experience. 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. Emphasizing customer experience can help sustain traffic beyond the Service surge.
Learn more about how Car Wars is helping Service Departments Own the Phone and navigate market changes and trends at carwars.com/service.