3 Apr

The Customer’s Time Is Not Yours, So Stop Thinking It Is!

Some dealership personnel tend to do things that really boil down to just CYA stuff. A customer comes into the service drive and is made to wait while their vehicle is inspected for scratches, dents or dings, which can take a few minutes — time a customer doesn’t have.


The most valuable currency on the planet is time. Everyone has too much to do with too little time. That’s why customers don’t want to come to get their vehicles serviced. What if you decreased the amount of time a customer had to wait for their car to be serviced? Even if you simply reduce the time in that check-in process, that initial impression of “fast” contributes to the overall customer experience.


Service advisors walk around the customer’s vehicle with an iPad, take pictures and notes to document vehicle condition while the customer stands there with arms crossed waiting impatiently. The longer a service advisor takes, the more a customer feels as if the dealer doesn’t trust them which, due to the general misconception of the industry by many consumers, contributes to the customer losing trust in the dealer. So what are you, as a dealer to do?


I get that it’s important to document any pre-existing vehicle damage. However, there are more efficient ways to do it – both technology and process-wise – than making the customer stand there for several minutes while the initial inspection takes place. Many luxury car manufacturers never make a customer wait because they want to provide an exceptional customer experience at every interaction. They recognize that the customer’s time is valuable, realize that building trust is a two-way street, and don’t want to plant any seeds of mistrust.


Take a page out of the customer service book used by leaders in the hospitality industry — chains that offer superior service such as the Ritz-Carlton. They train their staff to put customer experience above and beyond everything. In the case of the Ritz-Carlton, each employee has the freedom to fix any guest issue to the tune of $2,000 per day per guest. And at the Mandarin hotel chain, if you ask a bellhop what distinguishes them, they will answer, “The answer is yes, what is the question?” This type of philosophy gives customers the confidence and experience that makes them want to stay and keep coming back.


Don’t use your customer’s time to optimize your operations at the dealership. It’s not yours and never will be. Optimize your operations and procedures to make it a great experience for each and every customer. Respect their time and make it as convenient and time-efficient as possible for them to do business with you. If you do, you will see them keep coming back.


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