What’s that noise in your service drive?

Have you ever blown up a balloon and then just let it go and listen to the sound it makes? If you have children or a crazy Uncle Lenny, chances are you’ve heard this noise before. It is so distinctive that once you’ve heard it, you are not likely to forget it the rest of your life.

I’ve heard this same noise in my head many times in the service drive right after an Advisor says something he or she shouldn’t have. In our business there are many things that must happen to make sure that the Customer has a great experience.

And it all starts with a person to person interaction. This “point of no return “occurs when the Advisor opens his/her mouth and says…______________.

In the past few years I have heard some things come out of the Advisors mouth that were, quite frankly, ridiculous, stupid and condescending. Here are a few that sounded bad (think balloon noise) when I heard them and still sound bad along with a list of alternatives that you might consider using.

  • “We can’t take you today/tomorrow/etc.” or “You’ll have to make an appointment.”
  • “Can you come back tomorrow, I’m afraid we’ve overbooked.”
  • “We don’t offer __________.”
  • “We don’t do____________.”
  • “We don’t take those coupons” or “Those are too old for me to use.”
  • “What’s your name (Bud, Chief, Boss, Miss)?” or “Wow. That’s a strange way of spelling your name.”
  • “Is that your mug shot?” referring to a Customers  driver’s license
  • “Don’t stand there. You are blocking my light/view etc.”
  • “Can I help you?”
  • “Do you have an appointment?”
  • “Man, your car looks bad. What’dja do…run it into a ditch?”
  • “No.”

I can’t make these up folks. I have heard this and many more on the service drive from Advisors who thought they were being cute, funny, friendly…whatever. In some cases, doesn’t it sound like they just didn’t care? Yeah, it sounded like that to me too.

Let me ask you this. When you say these things out loud, how do they sound to you?

When you hear them in your own voice, does it make you want to stay and do business or does it make you want to reach over the counter, grab that silly Advisor by both ears and ask them “Hey, are these broken? Because what you just said to me, your Customer, did not sound so good just now. Let me say it back to you and you tell me what you think.”

Here are the alternatives.

  • “Mr./Ms. Customer, I can work your vehicle into the repair rotation and give you a report late today or possibly tomorrow. Would that work with your schedule?”
  • “Mr./Ms. Customer, I can work your vehicle into the repair rotation and get it back to you tomorrow. Does that work with your schedule?
  • “Mr./Ms. Customer, here is a list of services we provide to all of our Customers. In order for me to take care of _______, I would need to send it to another specialty repair facility that handles these types of repairs. Would you like for me to take care of it or is this something you would like to do?”
  • “Mr./Ms. Customer, this is one of the very few services we don’t provide, however, I have made a list of someone locally that does this type of service, and I’ve taken the liberty of calling them and advising them that you will be in contact soon.”
  • “Mr./Ms. Customer, these coupons are from a previous campaign and they have expired. What I can do is____________.”
  • “Hello, my name is __________, and yours is?”
  • “Thanks for providing a license for me to copy the information from. It makes things easier.”
  • “It’s going to take me a minute to complete the paperwork. Would you like a cup of coffee or a seat while you are waiting?”
  • “Hello, my name is ________ and I can help you.”
  • “What brings you into the Dealership today?”
  • “We can take a look at your vehicle. Let’s get started on the paperwork.”
  • “Yes” or “Let me see what I can do.”

It’s not that hard. It’s just common sense and common courtesy. Just take a second and think before you open your mouth to say something. That extra second or two is the difference between sounding Professional and sounding  ridiculous, stupid or condescending. Don’t make balloon noises.

Professionals know that effective verbal communication is the key to high CSI and repeat business.


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