By Doris Barnes
We can all agree that generating happy customers is critical to the success of your shop. Below you’ll find five tips that are going to help you do just that. Apply them, and you’ll be pleased to see the positive results that come from making just a few simple changes!
1. Find as many things in common with your customers as possible.
Think about your closest friends for a minute. Why do you connect? You connect with them because of the things you share in common, right? As sales professionals, we need to get really good at finding common ground with our customers. When I was an advisor, I would always use conversation starters that were dear to my heart. I love my family, so would bring up the customer’s family at the first available opportunity. Be very careful, however, not to choose a subject that you know nothing about, or that you feel no passion for. For example, if you don’t love kids, it’s not a good idea to start taking about their kids. Your customers will always pick up on flattery vs. true intent.
2. Listen intently to your customers and take notes.
When asking your customers questions at the beginning of the sales process, make sure to listen intently and make mental notes that you can convert into actual written notes. The points and concerns that your customers vocalize are the ones that truly matter to them. So when you call your customers back with information on their vehicle inspection, it is wise to bring up their concerns immediately, before ANYTHING else is mentioned. For example, start the conversation with something like, “Mr. Jones, before I go any further, I know that the most important things we need to address are your brake squeak, and getting your car back to you by 4:00 so that you can pick up your son from practice. Is that right?” We win big when we truly listen to what is important to our customers, and when our customers realize that we genuinely care about their needs and concerns.
3. Do personal follow-up calls the day after delivery.
As an advisor, I would call my customers the day after they picked up their vehicles to make sure that every part of their experience met with their expectations. I realize that you may not be able to do this with every customer, but you should make a habit of reaching out to as many as time allows. You may want to start by just contacting 5 per day, and working up from there. Before starting on your follow-up calls, make notes about any small or large customer issues that you are aware of, and of course, call these customers first. The more personal the service experience, the better! After all, people do business with people, not with businesses.
4. Follow through with promises…always!
It is so important to follow through 100% of the time. I know that we all get busy, but in a world where our success is dependent on customer satisfaction, we need to establish trust. If you tell a customer that you will call them at a certain time, deliver on that promise. If you tell them that you will wash their wheels and windows…deliver. Once your customers see that you always follow through, they will undoubtedly admire your character. An even better tactic is to make a habit of under promising and over delivering! If that wheel and window wash job is the expectation, deliver the car with the interior sparkling clean as well! Big bonus points!
5. Always set expectations for customer follow up.
One thing’s for certain: This will have a huge impact on your level of customer satisfaction.
Time and time again I’ve seen advisors get into trouble with this. Our customers’ time is valuable, and if we recognize this, we will hit a home run every time. When I was an advisor, I would be sure to tell each customer something like, “Mr. Jones, you have my promise: I will call you the very instant I have news for you. I wouldn’t bother calling any sooner because I will not have any answers. I can assure you, however, that if you need your vehicle by 5:00, I will make that happen.” This conversation does two things: It frees up your time by helping you avoid repeat phone calls, and lets your customers know what they can expect from you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. I truly hope that you are able to apply these tips to improve your CSI scores, and generate happy customers each and every time.
This article was contributed by Doris Barnes of Elite, a former industry-leading service advisor who currently heads up the Elite Masters Service Advisor Training Course.