Article

Keys Of Customer Service

December 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Jeff Smelley - Also by this author

Customer service is the key to earning trust and loyalty from your customer, so they will repeatedly spend their valuable dollars with your business. Everyone wants the experience of knowing their business is important, their money is well spent and the confidence that their problems will be resolved. Achieving these goals is not difficult or eminently rewarding, but it requires effort and training. The key components of customer service are Interest, Attitude, Integrity, Communication and Consistency. These concepts should be applied in all areas of your dealership: service, parts, sales and administration. When they are successfully applied, you will be rewarded with your customer’s trust, comfort and loyalty. Customers spend their money where they have trust that their problems will be solved and comfort that their money is well spent. Your reward is their loyalty, which is a foundation your business can grow on.

It all starts with Interest. Be Interested in your customer’s problems; they are the life blood of your business. People are in search of a solution. Whether selecting a new vehicle, getting their car serviced or seeking advice, customers want to know you are interested in more than their money. They want you to listen, understand their problem and help them find a solution.

Your Attitude should be the reflection of your Interest. Be courteous, accommodating and concerned. Many times a small dose of good attitude will smooth over inconveniences such as delays or changes. For instance, if there is a delay in providing service to the customer, notify them of the delay and briefly tell them what you are doing to overcome the inconvenience. Identify the new expected time frame and promise to keep them aware of the progress. Your positive attitude and proactive communication will allow your customers to adjust their schedules accordingly.

There is no substitute for Integrity. In helping your customer solve their problem, take into account their objectives, suggest a solution that meets those objectives and offer any additional services that will be of benefit. Your customers are looking for you to advise them on what to do, so explain (in straight forward layman’s terms) what you recommend. Present your supporting reasons and guide (don’t force) them to the best solution that meets their needs. Then, tell your customers what you can do for them, and do everything in your power to keep your promise.

Communication, or the lack of communication, is a significant cause of customer dissatisfaction. You know that time is money; respect that the same thing applies for your customer. Most customer complaints are a result of surprises: the task was not completed timely and no one called to let them know, the expense was considerably higher than expected and no one called or their time and effort were wasted. These complaints are typically a result of poor or non-existent communication between your company and the customer. If a service customer’s car is not going to be ready when promised, simply call them and make new arrangements. Most people will willingly juggle their schedule, if possible, when given the opportunity, but being forced to reschedule after investing the time and effort to pickup their vehicle, only to find out it is not ready, will definitely be a source of irritation.

Consistently be interested, present a good attitude and work with integrity, and you will develop loyal customers. Your customers will learn to trust your advice. They will be confident in your proposed solutions, and they will know you are looking out for their needs. Trust is a valuable thing and like all things of value is earned through your efforts. These customers will provide the better advertising than money can buy; they will refer their friends and associates to your dealership. In addition, the next time they have a need, they will return to spend their valuable dollars at your dealership.
 

There is no substitute for Integrity. In helping your customer solve their problem, take into account their objectives, suggest a solution that meets those objectives and offer any additional services that will be of benefit.   Your customers are looking for you to advise them on what to do, so explain (in straight forward layman’s terms) what you recommend.   Present your supporting reasons and guide (don’t force) them to the best solution that meets their needs. Then, tell your customers what you can do for them, and do everything in your power to keep your promise.

 

Communication, or the lack of communication, is a significant cause of customer dissatisfaction.   You know that time is money; respect that the same thing applies for your customer.    Most customer complaints are a result of surprises: the task was not completed timely and no one called to let them know, the expense was considerably higher than expected and no one called or their time and effort were wasted.   These complaints are typically a result of poor or non-existent communication between your company and the customer.   If a service customer’s car is not going to be ready when promised, simply call them and make new arrangements.   Most people will willingly juggle their schedule, if possible, when given the opportunity, but being forced to reschedule after investing the time and effort to pickup their vehicle, only to find out it is not ready, will definitely be a source of irritation.  

 

 

Consistently be interested, present a good attitude and work with integrity, and you will develop loyal customers.   Your customers will learn to trust your advice.   They will be confident in your proposed solutions, and they will know you are looking out for their needs.   Trust is a valuable thing and like all things of value is earned through your efforts.   These customers will provide the better advertising than money can buy; they will refer their friends and associates to your dealership.   In addition, the next time they have a need, they will return to spend their valuable dollars at your dealership.    
Vol 3, Issue 10

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