Well, again I write from a true experience that happened to me recently at a dealership service department. This is really how it happened... I pull into the busy service lane and I wait a few minutes without anyone greeting me. Not too long, but long enough.
Finally, a service advisor walks up with his head hanging down and he says, in a very professional voice – (and I’m being sarcastic) "Hep Ya?" That's right, "Hep Ya"- that's what he said. No introduction, no personality, no nothing! I just smiled and told him that I need to get an oil change and his reply was - "You got an appointment?” “You got an appointment?” he asked!
When my reply was "No" – to his, professionally presented appointment question, apparently it wasn’t exactly what he wanted to hear. He exhaled with disgust as if it was his last living breath and then he said, "Whew, I doubt you'll get it back today! You should’ve called.”
Are you friggin’ kidding me? First of all, it's an oil change- not an engine overhaul! How long can it take to do an oil change? And why would anyone have to have an appointment for an oil change... Jiffy Lube doesn’t require one, Pepboys doesn’t require one...nobody requires one, except this store (and most dealerships). And “Hep Ya and You got an appointment?” were the only 2 things he has said to me except that I wont get it back today – Wow, I am excited about doing business with this guy! Gees!
It was obvious that this experience was going to go downhill with a start like that, right? Just to state the obvious again here, so we are all on the same page...I waited to get greeted, I don't know his name, he doesn't know my name, I don't have an appointment, I pissed him off when I told him I didn't have an appointment and he pissed me off when he told me that I “probably won't" get it back today – what else could possibly go wrong? Why didn’t he just punch me in the face so we could call it a day and I could just go somewhere else?
Look, dealers are always spending money to attract more customers to their service departments – yet this scenario happens many times a day at hundreds of dealerships - and all I can say is one thing - no three things- stupid, stupid, stupid!
Customers have tons of other places they can go for service...especially if all they need is an oil change! How about instead of that embarrassing start, we say something like "Welcome to (dealership name)!" and just for fun, let’s throw in a nice, welcoming smile and some eye contact! That's just crazy I know- but imagine how the experience feels to the customer!
Then how about you say something like, "My name is ---, and you are? Nice to meet you ---, how can I help you today? Oh, you need an oil change? Ok great, by the way, did you call ahead to speak to anyone or would you just like me to take care of you now so we can go ahead and get this done?
How cool is that? How professional is that? How much better does, “Did you call ahead” sound compared to “You got an appointment?” And here is the best part...this is easy to do!
Get out of your office and spend more time out there on your service drive. Listen to how people are greeted, see exactly what is happening and train your people... You know what needs to be done. Don’t leave it up to them...they don’t get it! You have to be the leader...the motivator...the coach and sometimes, the dictator! Teach them to greet fast, smile, make eye contact, welcome customers to your store, introduce themselves and tell them to never ask customers if they have an appointment...just ask if they called ahead...it sounds much better and it still accomplishes the same goal.
And one more thing...every store should have a couple of professional service valets on the drive to assist with customers when you are busy. Note that I didn’t say porters...fire your worthless, lazy porters right now and hire service valets! Train them to keep your service drive clean and clear. Teach them how to greet and welcome customers with a bottle of water, and show them how they can begin the write up process. Get them to always ask if customers called ahead...and get them to alert the advisors that their customers have arrived.
This isn’t rocket science. Get your lost customers to return, bring new customers in, be nice, fix the car right the first time and give them a reason to come back! We have several programs that can help you boost service traffic and improve customer retention...if you want to know more contact us today for a 15-minute demo online, on the phone or in person – CarPeopleMarketing.com – 866.227.7337