Tag Archives: CustomerService

3 Key Components of Outstanding Service Departments

When examining the best service departments across the country, you often find that they all share common best practices that create additional service sales and gross profits for their dealerships.

These best practices combined with daily monitoring, observation and coaching results in professional sales organizations that can sustain a dealer during times of slow sales or downturns in the economy.

One of the most overlooked skill sets in dealers that struggle with decreasing repair order count is service phone sales skills. While you would be hard pressed to find people who do not have the ability to be courteous and project a good image on the phone, it is easy to find personnel who have not been trained to sell service appointments.

One phone survey company* found that service advisors do not offer appointments or attempt to sell an appointment on 57% of the calls they field even though the opportunity sell an appointment presented itself.

If this is happening in your dealership and your service team fields an average of 100 information calls a day, it means there are 57 missed opportunities, every single day. A properly trained Advisor can be expected to convert 30% of those calls (or more) into service appointments.

So the question is, what would your service drive look like with an additional 17 service appointments every day?

Once you’ve trained and coached on phone sales skills you can then begin to train on Advisor communications skills. This is another area that the most successful dealerships continually monitor and coach their employees to near perfection.

Communications skills are not only important to Customer Satisfaction Index scores, they are critical in Customer retention. Advisors that have weak listening skills and a complete lack of follow through on promises, become the source of nearly every Customer complaint registered at your dealership.5waystoincrease

One Advisor will interact with an average of 10-15 Customers per day. Based on that number, one untrained Advisor can impact 44 Customers a month in such a way as they could possibly decide not to come back.

If your store sells 150 cars a month, and your retention is in the mid-range of 40-50%, you can expect a net gain of 31 new car Customers a month from your 150 sales in the front end.

Does it make sense not to train your Advisor in communications skills when so much is dependent on him/her being a professional in every sense of the word? Of course not.

Lastly, those dealers that are doing it right have a complete marketing plan in place. They make a decision to budget funds for service marketing based on repair order count while taking into consideration recalls, campaigns and industry trends.

Recently there has been a flood of recalls that have not left any manufacturer on the sidelines. Many dealerships took advantage of those recalls by highlighting their ability to service their Customers while attracting new business through strategic traditional marketing as well as social marketing.

And they have “hit it out of the park.”

Not only did they service their own Customers, they were able to attract new business with the goal of converting then to regular service Customers. Take an average dealer writing 45 repair orders a day, factor in about a 30% warranty repair order write-up rate, adjust for “just recall” warranty repairs of about 30-40% from that warranty rate, and your team has the chance to make 3 or 4 recall Customers into regular service Customers every day.

So the question is, did you want to allocate funds for marketing, train for opportunities and coach for results…or did you just want to keep doing what you’ve always done and keep getting what you’ve always got?

Make a commitment to your service team and follow through with sales training, communication skills training and a marketing budget in line with your stated Goals and watch your Profits soar!

by Leonard Buchholz


Exceeding the Expectations

What would a Service Professional do?

A Professional understands their Customers Expectations.

Now this has got to be the easiest “no brainer” post you
have read in years! You would think that every person who works in the Dealership has heard of Customer Service (here’s a little hint: WE ALL DO) and would take the time to understand their Customer expectations. And then try to EXCEED them!

You would think.

And every day in the field at a Dealership there is a couple of moments where  there is the “I have no idea” look on people’s faces when asked about what their Customer came in for, what was the reason for their visit, why are they
here, how are we helping them, what’s the story etc….it’s like a mystery novel.

The reason is they have become order takers. This new
breed of Service Advisor has been trained by corporate America all of their lives with “instantology”,  which  translated means “Those who use technology to communicate by using the smallest amount of brain activity required to actually have meaningful interactions with their Customers.”

This in turn has led us to a new Training term called “youdon’treallyneedtoknowhow” in which Customers are regularly greeted and serviced by non-communicators who cannot distinguish between a request for service or a statement of concern unless it’s printed on the touch screen menu in front of them.

This collection of “Service (aacckkkk, cough cough)
Professionals” are then left to founder and fumble with your Dealership Customers (you know, the “lifeblood of the Dealership,  our main focus, why we are open”…etc…you’ve heard all of that before, right?) with more skills in “instantology” than in COMMUNICATION and CRITICAL THINKING!

This has reduced our once world renown model of Service Excellence we
called the “American Way of Doing Business” to a misdirected application called “Someone told me to stand here and talk to you.” In turn, this has increased our Customers chances of having to do business with
someone who has little desire and are completely clueless how to deliver Exceptional Customer Service because it does not come with
instructions on the box.

And because we choose to do business this way we find ourselves in constant need of reminding our Service “Professionals” what they are supposed to do and why they are supposed to do it.

The true Professional Service Advisor not only knows what his or her
Customers expectations are, they EXCEED them. They are anticipatory because
they have taken the time to study their product and their Customer. And they truly understand Service. More importantly, they understand how the Customer could EXPECT to use their vehicle in their daily lives. Lastly, they understand their Customers EXPECTATIONS when they come in for Service.

How do they know these “magical things?”

The true Professional Service Advisor has taken the time to become an
excellent COMMUNICATOR and only relies on “instantology” for storage and
processing of the Customers information as a means of assistance and not as a
means of conveyance.

Basically folks, no matter how good you are at “instantology”you can’t get the computer to pull out its wallet no matter how hard you try.

When you have taken the time to really understand and
anticipate your Customers Expectations by asking if they have been met one on one and by becoming a true Communicator through study and application will you become a True Service Professional.

Be Professional.

“The Cheapest Oil Change In Town”

In every market and at every dealer there is the perception in Fixed Operations that cheap oil changes will add profit.

While it is true that cheap oil changes will bring Customers to your door, it is up to you to do something with them when they arrive.

Here are 3 Ways you can maximize the 1st Time or Long Time Customers  oil change visit.

  • Be “Over The Top” with your Customer Service. Be clean and neat, be accommodating, be prompt, be courteous and be Thankful. Think of the Customer as someone who is test driving your Dealership to see if they like the ride. Give them the best ride possible.
  • Do a Complete and Thorough Inspection of the vehicle. Instead of a “27 Point” how about a “Driveability Check” or a “Winter Safety Check” or a “Brake, Light and Fluid Check” in addition to your usual 27 Point Inspection. The object is to give the Customer something that they were not expecting when they came in for “just an oil change.”
  • Give them a Reason to Complete Service Work with You. Hey, you advertise, you plan for, you spend money and you lose money on the oil change and then…you don’t give your Customer a compelling reason to have service work completed at your Dealership? What are you thinking?

Making money in Fixed Operations is difficult when you don’t plan for the 1st time Oil Change Customer and your regular Oil Change Customer. It is impossible if you do not maximize the Customers visit.