By Sally Whitesell, Founder and CEO of sw Service Solutions.
We all think we know what clients want — but do we really? Google has done some interesting research regarding our service customer’s opinions. I find this research especially valuable because Google conducted it instead of the auto industry. They surveyed 2,000 people between the ages of 25 and 48 and their finding may really surprise you. The customer quote I’d like to address completely contradicts the perceptions of many service advisors:
“I’d like it if they spent more time explaining things to me. I know they are busy, but it would make me trust them more.”
Every week I work with service advisors, both online and in stores, and it’s a challenge to get them to understand that taking a few minutes at the write-up is not only necessary but also appreciated by their clients. The service advisor’s argument is “The customers are in a hurry,” or “They don’t want to hear anything until their car is fixed.” These misconceptions are costing you a lot of money and customer satisfaction.
Imagine yourself entering a business where everyone seems to be scurrying around and you’re greeted with, “Someone will be with you in a second” as they rush right past you. You may notice a few cars waiting in line for attention and then, when someone finally approaches, they use phrases like “I’ll get you taken care of real quick,” or “This will only take a second.” When we monitor advisors doing a walk-around, the phrase “real quick” is used approximately three to six times per customer. We are basically telling our clients we’re too busy to spend time with them. Instead of taking the time to look at our clients and practice active listening, advisors often multi-task through the entire write-up.
Customers will only buy from someone they like, trust and respect. These can’t be developed “real quick!”
I know some clients may be in a hurry to get somewhere, but they are the minority. What are they in a hurry to do? Go wait for a shuttle, a loaner or, better yet, to sit in your waiting room? If your clients think your check-in process is to drop the keys and run out the door, it’s usually because that’s what we have trained them to do.
Setting the pace for your check-in process is critical to your bottom line and should start when they call to schedule their check-in time. We should prepare them for a great service experience by asking them to plan to spend about five to 10 minutes with their advisor so that we can get all the details needed to provide exceptional service. Then, we must follow through by taking the time to make every client aware that they are valued by giving them the time and attention they deserve every time they come in.