Issue Date: Service Advisor Mar 15, 2012, Posted On: 3/31/2012
Active delivery: The most important 5 minutes of the customer’s service experience By taking a few extra moments when you hand the keys back to the customer you can improve your overall business and customer satisfaction.
The most important five minutes of the service experience don't come at the greeting, write-up or even when calling for additional repairs or authorizations - they come at the end of the transaction, when the customer is taking delivery of the vehicle from the shop.
This time is so important because this is the time that the customers are asking themselves, "Did I make the right decision?" There are so many choices in automotive repair, not only between facilities but also in the level of service and preventive maintenance that it is getting to be crucial that you reassure the customer that they made the right choice.
By taking these five-minutes at delivery you'll transform a customer from a doubting Thomas into a songbird for your shop. Not only will you begin to avoid the buyer's remorse customers often experience but hopefully take the extra time will help build customer loyalty and confidence in your shop.
The point of delivery is so important that this time needs to be scheduled with the customer. When you call to let the customer know that the vehicle is completed, ask them for a good time to arrange delivery or what time you may expect them to pick up the vehicle. In a busy shop, it is important that time be set aside and that you avoid the 5:05pm rush of customers at the cashier window.
The five-minute delivery process should be completed in progressive steps.
Step #1 - Briefly restate the customer's original concerns
This step reassures the customer that you understood the problems or concerns with the vehicle. Try to elaborate just a bit when necessary, don't just say, "You came in for the 30,000 maintenance." If there was a special request, like a special promise time, then remind the customer of this. At this step we are establishing that the customer's needs were heard and that your shop realized these were important requests.
Step #2 - Explain what was done
Let them know all the actions that were taken on vehicle, while avoiding the technical jargon of a mechanic. This takes a little practice but the key is to be thorough without being overwhelming.
Step #3 - Ask for questions
We ran through the cause and correction quickly with the customer, so now pause to see if we missed anything or if there was a misunderstanding. Again, better to know right now if the customer has questions to get them resolved than to have them walk out the door with those doubts in their head.
Step #4 - Resell what they bought
They bought your sales pitch when you need to get them to spend money, but that doesn't mean too much. Too many customers have the impression that shops will say anything to close sale. It means a little more to resell them after the fact.
Remind the customer of the benefits by saying something like, "It was good to go ahead and have those brakes done while you were in today. Those linings might have had a few miles left but it was much more convenient for you not to have to be back in the shop in a few months - it's safer too. Plus you saved a few bucks since we already had the wheels off the vehicle for the tire rotation. Getting them done now worked out well for you."
Step #5 - Explain what to do now
On occasion there might be some specific procedures the customer needs to do. A good situation is when a windshield is replaced, to remind the customer not to shut the doors while the windows are all up for a while. Remind them of anything else that might occur as part of the service. For vehicles with adaptive powertrain controls, you might need to suggest that the computer has been reset and that it may take a few days for it to relearn the customer's driving habits. During this time they may experience harsh or delayed shifts, etc. Let them know what to expect or what is typical for the service work that was performed.
Step #6 - Acknowledge they have choices
Straight from the final approach of any airline, it is beneficial to acknowledge the customer had choices and that you are glad they came to your shop. Of course, you need to be a little more sincere than the flight attendant over the PA system, but do take the time to express your appreciation.
Step #7 - Don't presume anything
The difference between a good doctor and a great one is that they don't presume that one prescription works the same for everyone. That's why follow-up contact is so important. Now's a good time to remind the customer that your store will be following-up with them in a few days to make sure everything is going as planned and expected. You know mistakes can happen, even just misunderstandings, therefore it's critical that your dealership follow-up make sure your prescription worked. You might also ask the customer for their preferred method for follow-up and a good time to reach them.