When it comes to their vehicles, owners look for reliable and trustworthy companies and representatives to guide them. Providing them with outstanding customer service is one of the major ways your dealership can achieve automotive service excellence… and the highly profitable recurring customer pay repair order revenue stream that comes with it.
The U.S. automotive service market is expected to reach 75 Billion USD by 2026. With a host of aftermarket competitors all trying to win over Franchise Dealer service customer business, it is crucial for dealers to master impeccable customer service to secure and grow their respective market share of service business.
Customers today are tech-savvy and have higher expectations for customer service. Therefore, even if you think you are giving the best customer service, there are bound to be some areas of improvement. Software alone is not the solution, however, a complete operating system for dealer fixed operations can eliminate unnecessary tasks, make more tasks fast and easy for your team to complete, and ultimately optimize the customer interaction management for your entire service department. When this happens, your service team is more responsive, they have the tools and data to make fast accurate customer service decisions. They simply perform at their best, and the automotive service excellence associated with great customer service is easily achieved.
Here are ten valuable ways of achieving automotive service excellence through great customer service. As you read through them, consider how a holistic fixed-ops operating system might further enhance the customer interaction management your team can provide to achieve excellent customer service:
Listening is the ultimate key to good customer service that can result in automotive service excellence. It is important for you to actively listen to the concerns and questions of your customer and provide them with the right responses.
Focus on what they are sharing with you and let them finish speaking. If there is some confusion, ask questions to make sure you fully understand what they are looking for. Lastly, summarize what they said to ensure you both are on the same page.
Now, you have the full understanding to answer their queries and provide them with appropriate resolution.
Providing multi-channel communication convenience with the option to text, email, and call your service advisories directly is one way to apply technology to streamline listening activity. Communication platforms that offer all three channels pointing customers to one point of contact, as well as the ability to record conversations, make it easier to listen and refer back to customer requests. Now your service team can easily review a customer’s needs and concerns, improving upon their listening retention.
This might seem obvious, but it is one of the most important things you should do to provide excellent customer service. Without fully understanding your services and products, you can’t properly assist your customers. Be sure to have extensive knowledge about your services and products to provide them with the best customer service.
This can include knowing if there are any outstanding recalls or if the required parts are in stock for a needed repair. An operating system that integrates with recall and parts inventory readily provides this information to the service advisor for a prompt response and well-managed customer interaction where expectations are set that your dealership can confidently meet.
Often customers just want to solve their issues themselves. A high number of customers try to take matters into their own hands before asking for assistance. How exactly can you help them with this? By offering them the right resources.
For instance, you can assist your customers in helping themselves by providing them with online payment options. Be able to accept all major forms of payments that eliminate the wait time for customers, provide simplified reconciliation as all transactions are logged through one system, and establish stronger relationships with customers by providing a single point of contact.
Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, is one of the major factors in providing good customer service. It is essential that your customers fully grasp and understand what you are telling them. They come to you for advice and guidance, which is why you must use clear and simple vocabulary to ensure they understand and trust you.
One way to do this is through video inspections. Sending a customer a complete video that clearly details what their car needs, and makes it easy for them to view and accept your recommendations, is a powerful method for effective communication.
Keep your videos concise and easy to understand. Assure customers that you are here to help. Some customers just want their issues resolved quickly without elaborate explanation, so keep the explanation short and to the point. Go into details if they actually want more details.
Misunderstanding the needs of the customer, making an error that cost them money or time, or failing to provide them the right information might happen from time to time. Don’t fret about the mistake and try to hide it as this would end up worsening the situation. Instead, be transparent and own up to the mistake you made.
Customers always prefer honesty. Everyone makes a mistake and you would be surprised to know how forgiving people can be when you admit your mistake and apologize. It gives you a chance to rectify the mistake in a positive manner.
Sometimes the customer makes mistakes too. This can be difficult to address, but communication platforms that help record customer responses and requests can be used to politely confirm what was agreed upon, significantly reduce misunderstandings, and save your dealership money.
Customers want to feel valued. They are not looking for automated customer service where they are merely handed a ticket number and a standardized response. They want to be treated as individuals. Therefore, it is crucial to offer them personalized service.
This is why many high-end brands and companies go a step further to make their customers feel valued. Know your customers, understand their needs, and provide them with complimentary services that can prove useful.
For automotive service excellence, consider services like pickup and delivery. In some service scenarios, it may make sense to bring the service to the customer with mobile solutions. Consider other transportation options as well, like integrating uber into your transportation options. Uber for Business allows dealership users to book rides easily and specify pick-up and drop-off locations.
You can’t achieve automotive service excellence in a single day. It takes time, effort, and practice. Constant learning can help you gradually earn that position as you offer the best customer service. You must be willing to work on your skills, take constructive feedback, and learn from experiences.
Additionally, an operating system for fixed operations that learns for you, taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, may help identify when a customer is upset in advance of your response. Such a system can keep track of recommendations that were declined in the past, or even help the customer remember their VIN for accurate vehicle identification. Tools like this enhance and accelerate your team’s learning potential.
Another major factor of outstanding customer service is being available for your customers and promptly responding to their queries and concerns. Customers appreciate quick responses, particularly if there is a time-sensitive issue.
Try returning their calls, texts, or emails within the next 24 hours. Once again, a reliable communications platform that offers multiple channels for customer preference will help make your team shine in this area of customer interaction management.
As mentioned earlier, customers appreciate you going the extra mile to provide them with excellent customer service. This sometimes means anticipating the needs of your customers before they share them with you. Sometimes the customers might not know what they actually need and it is your job to educate them and provide them with the best response.
This is where integrated access to recall data can help your team identify and remind customers of needed no-cost repairs. Automated integration with tire repair detection systems like Hunter Tire and Tire Profiles can give your service team advance notice of customer tire needs as they pull into the service drive, and automatically communicate the need to the Service Advisor.
Keeping your promises to your customers will create a stronger bond with them and build trust. Customers always remember the promise a company or a representative made to them and expect them to follow through. If that promise is broken due to unexpected circumstances, apologize to them and offer something extra to show them that they are valued.
Providing outstanding customer service can certainly help you achieve automotive service excellence. You need to follow through with the commitments you make, understand customer needs, and deliver the best service. Great customer service skills are crucial for the success of your dealership.
Always remember to follow up to ensure they are satisfied with their service, as this will further enhance their trust. This can be accomplished very easily through BDC integrations with your communications platform. Make customers feel appreciated to build lasting relationships. Providing them with great customer service is a great way of ensuring they become regular customers and earn you word-of-mouth references as well.
Contact us to learn more about how the myKaarma Operating System can help your dealership achieve automotive service excellence.