Treat them like family

It always amazes me how much time and money we tend to spend on everything, but what really matters. It is very understandable that money must be spent on marketing for programs that will bring in new customers and keep them coming back over and over again. I also understand how important it is to provide customers with special promotions, coupons etc. as the service market has become super competitive! What also amazes me is how often we overthink, overspend, and over everything but what really matters. 

Let’s check it out: 

When the customer comes in to the service drive make sure an advisor is always ready and eagerly waiting with a smile to greet the customer as soon as the vehicle stops! If they have time to get out of their vehicle and then have to wait, wait, wait, it’s over, period! 

By performing a quality walk around to the customers’ vehicle and checking the tires, lights, any damage, we show them we truly care. Tell the customer the inspection actually starts out on the drive and is absolutely complimentary! WE CARE!! They are our family! 

Then the vehicle goes into the shop. It is extremely important for the tech to perform the multipoint inspection thoroughly and in a timely manner. Why? Because if it were our mother, our father, our wife or brother or sister, we would make certain it happened this way! 

It is also very important that not only we complete the inspection this way, but we need to get it in the hands of the advisor so they can then make the appropriate recommendations to the customer. If we do this early on the customer is still enjoying the warm and fuzzy feeling we created out on the drive. If we lose sight of time and the customer has to wait well into the second quarter of the game, they have already mentally checked out!! They want to get out of here by then and again it will be too late. 

I always encourage all employees including advisors, managers, owners, everyone that whenever we walk by the customer waiting room, pop our head in and say “hi folks, my name is _______ is there anything I can do to help anyone??? Guess what, most of the time this a NO FLY ZONE to employees cause they know they may never make it out of the waiting room! Well, how do you think our customers feel, better (or worse) yet, how would our family like it if we shoved them in there and just left them there??? You are again correct, it’s over. 

It is never about the results the advisors gets, but always about how successful we were in making sure the customers, (our family) feel better when they leave our dealership than when they arrived. We have absolutely no idea what life struggles our customers are experiencing prior to ever coming into the shop. Think about it, many folks are behind on their mortgage, seriously ill, lost their jobs, kids are in trouble, and the life list goes on and on. Oh and then we tell them that in order to repair their vehicle we need 500 bucks!! Really? 

Remember most people just want to feel like we care about them. I mean really care about them not the superficial “CUSTOMER SERVICE” promises we advertise, or the “CUSTOMER SATISFACTION GUARANTEES” we promote, they just want some LOVE!!! Nothing weird or hokey about that folks, remember are we really treating them like our family? 

Another important key to our success is overcoming objections, or better yet overcoming REJECTION!!! Advisors don’t feel good when customer say no, but think about it this way for a second; there are usually four answers customers choose from to give us when we make recommendations; YES, well that’s an immediate victory celebration; NO, well if they say no they might not have the time or the money?? 

But wait there is hope, what about the third answer, HOW MUCH? Well if you hear this you are in the door, just give them the price and wait for their answer, don’t over talk to them. Finally the fourth answer we might hear is HOW LONG? Well guess what that is usually great news if you have shuttle service or a loaner or rental vehicle ready for them if they accept the recommendations! 

So the bottom line is this: 

YES/HOW LONG/HOW MUCH give you great opportunities for the sale. The only NO is NO so you actually have a 75% chance for closing the sale. 

Finally for this session let’s talk about the ACTIVE (or NOT) DELIVERY.

 Again, remember that if we are really going to treat everyone, and I mean everyone like family, the active delivery should mean as much as it does when you have family over for dinner and they are getting ready to leave right? Do we just tell them your coat is on the chair by the door with your car keys see ya later? I doubt that very much so check this out. 

We meet them and greet them at the door when they arrive to our dealership. We make sure we are building the trust and confidence so important to any relationship; well the same sure applies to when they leave. We hopefully have the advisors cashiering their own customers, this way they own it! All of it, the entire visit from the moment of entry to the time they leave. 

The advisor must make sure that we review everything we repaired with the customer, also each and every charge they incurred so they understand exactly what and why we billed them for our services. The next step is to simply ask them if they were 100% satisfied. Yes 100% because if we pose the question this way we set the bar where it should be set, they are FAMILY! We let the customer know that they will more than likely receive a survey from the manufacturer and this survey is MY PERSONAL REPORT CARD and that IN ORDER TO PASS MY SCORE MUST BE PERFECT and if there is anything they were not happy with we will do everything necessary in order to make sure our customers are satisfied. 

The last few items of the delivery are making sure in ALWAYS walk each and every customer to their vehicle, all the way to their vehicle and literally provide them with our valet service. Imagine we are there at the door when you arrive and again when you leave. They get in their vehicle to leave only to find a nice cold bottle of water in the console with a thank you card signed by the advisor and manager, wrapped around the bottle in a rubber band. Wow! 


Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Margin Plus
Cell: (419) 282-1351
Fixed Performance complete fixed operations coaching consulting