With more and more dealers vying for your customer’s business, it is mission critical that your dealership not only meet but exceed the expectations of your customer. Some things are beyond your control, so it makes sense to focus your energies on the things you can control – the most important of which is customer service. Below are some recommendations to help you improve your customer service.
- Hire happy people who enjoy serving others. These front-line associates are usually the first person a potential customer will encounter. As quickly as possible train them to be proficient at their job and capable of answering most questions your customer may have.
- Make sure your front-line inventory is ready for sale – clean and mechanically sound.
- Your greatest opportunity to give poor customer service is the use of “We Owe” agreements or agreeing to perform sale-contingent repairs after the customer takes delivery of the vehicle. Consider the following points:
- When you sell a vehicle AS IS or with a limited warranty/service contract and agree to perform non-covered repairs after delivery, you have already compromised your loan closing process and set a precedent for the remainder of the contract. For example, telling your customer the vehicle is sold “as is”, but then agreeing to fix something after delivery is contradictory. To which side do you think your customer will gravitate?
- This practice also creates a myriad of opportunities for poor customer service such as the customer returning with a list of additional repairs; appointments made with shops but missed by the customer; or the repair(s) take longer than the repair shop originally promised. The list goes on.
- My recommendation is to collect the down payment or take a security deposit to hold the vehicle until the sale-contingent repairs have been completed to the customer’s satisfaction and then consummate the deal and deliver the vehicle to the customer.
- You might disagree with me because you are afraid of losing the sale. May I suggest that a customer unwilling to wait for a vehicle to be repaired prior to taking delivery may not be the type of customer you want on your books.
- Anytime the opportunity presents itself, make sure you under-promise and over-deliver. I cannot stress enough the importance of doing everything possible to assure your customer is completely satisfied at the time of delivery.
- Make sure your facility is always clean, organized and ready for business.
- Secret Shop your own dealership(s) as well as your competitors. There is no need to hire a professional firm to do this. Save your money and train someone to do this for you. Find a friend or family member who can play the role of a potential buyer. They need to objectively shop your dealership(s) as well as your competitors and provide feedback that identifies areas where your competition excels over your dealership.
- Take some time to walk across the street and look hard at your dealership. Take an objective look at the things your business does well and identify opportunities to improve your customer service.
Most of your competitors have comparable inventory to yours. Your opportunity to set yourself apart from the others is having the best ready-for-sale inventory and the best customer service in your community.
-Eddie Hight, November 23rd, 2018