Customer service is crucial in the automotive industry, especially given the sheer amount of choice consumers have today. An customer who has a bad experience with a brand has plenty of others to choose from. The same is true with dealers--there might be another store selling and servicing the same brand just a few miles away.A bad experience in the service department--the department that is generally the most profitable for a dealership--or on the sales floor can chase customers away
With that in mind, here's a look at five things that you or your employees should not do when dealing with your customers.
- Don't give the hard sell: Customers have long been trained not to trust dealerships in part because of fear concerning high-pressure sales tactics. Now, armed with better information thanks to the Internet, those same consumers will be much less afraid to run the minute they feel pressured. Whether it's upselling at the service advisor's desk, the salesman's cubicle, or in the finance office, dealers need to walk a fine line between advertising their products and upsetting the buyers. It's fine to softly peddle the upsell, but when a customer says no thanks, note it and move on. Pressing hard can make you look like a bully, or even worse, desperate. Taking "no" for an answer could actually lead to increased trust from your customers.
- Arguing with customers: Even if you're right, somehow, you'll end up being wrong. This doesn't mean you should give the customer carte blanche if they complain. What it does mean is that if you can't easily rectify the complaint, or the customer's demands are unreasonable, is that you should calmly and politely control the conversation. Letting your emotions take over--or allowing the situation to devolve into yelling or shouting--does you no good and can make you look unprofessional in front of other customers. Most problems can be headed off with the right words and the right tone of voice.
- Don't over promise and under deliver: Don't make promises you can't keep--all you'll do is make customers angry when you can't deliver. Better to tell customers up front that a service might take a while or might be hard to arrange, and then look like a hero when the job takes less time than promised or when the service can be provided after all. A customer would rather be pleasantly surprised than hit with a negative surprise. Happy customers are repeat customers.
- Don't be afraid to say "no": This fits in with the previous two items on the list. By being willing to say "no" on occasion, you'll avoid overloading yourself. Service personnel who always say "yes" end up juggling too much, which often leads to customer service disaster. Much better to be honest with the customer than to try too hard to please.
- Don't stonewall: Keeping consumers in the loop on sales and service processes will help keep them happy. Remember, that car on the lift is theirs, not yours. They worry about it, and they want to be kept in the loop, should problems arise. Keeping them in the dark serves no purpose, save perhaps chasing your customer to your competitor.
There are many things you can do to keep your customer relations successful. Not doing any of the five things listed above can help as well.
Keep that in mind during your next customer interaction.