SOURCE: Dealer Spike
Most dealers say that customer service is their number one priority. It should be valued, as high-quality customer service has been named more important than anything else when it comes to customer loyalty. If you offer your customers an exceptional buying experience, you’re sure to see that investment be returned to you. Someone who has had a truly outstanding customer service experience is likely to buy from you again, or maybe they’ll refer a friend, or perhaps they’ll leave your dealership a five-star review online – it all benefits your business in the end.
How can you make sure that you’re providing the best customer service possible? Exceptional customer service experiences need to be prioritized at the forefront of your business –reflected in your company values, goals, the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks of your team members, and it needs to follow those prospects who walk through your dealership’s doors from beginning to end.
Start with your team.
It’s important that all dealership employees know that customer service comes first. Remind your team of this daily, whether it be during the morning huddle or a casual check-in at lunchtime in the breakroom. Make sure that superior customer service is the number one focus for everyone.
Ensure that your team members feel confident and empowered to deliver the best customer service possible. It’s your job to provide all team members with the training they need to deliver this. Do they know what procedures to follow for a customer complaint on a sales unit? Have they been trained to offer specialty discounts to customers in unique situations, for retention purposes? Find out from your team what their biggest hurdles are when it comes to customer service, and create solutions from there.
Don’t forget to recognize your team members when they do a great job – something like a “Customer Service Spotlight” or “Employee of the Week” award could help you accomplish this. Rewarding outstanding behavior and keeping team morale high are the best ways to keep employees motivated.
Encourage the right interactions.
When it comes to handling an unhappy customer, or even a happy customer who simply needs help, the most important reaction for an employee to have is listening for understanding.
What exactly does this mean? Often, we listen, but as we are listening we are also thinking about what we are going to say next. In other words, we are concerned about ourselves and our business and putting less emphasis on the customer’s happiness, even without necessarily meaning to do so. Instead, we should be giving the customer one hundred percent of our attention, and empathizing with their issue or need.
When the customer feels like they are being heard, and that you understand what they are saying, half of the battle has already been won. Even if the employee is unable to give the customer exactly what they want, he or she knows that the team member has done their best and cares about their issue or need.
Evaluate in action.
The best way to evaluate whether your team members are delivering the best customer service possible it to see for yourself. Monitor the interactions you see on the showroom floor and interject if needed. Ask customers for feedback, too – “How did Brian treat you today?” is a good way to start. If the customer had a negative experience, you’re sure to hear about it. Use customer feedback to give constructive criticism to team members as needed – hopefully your training efforts have proved successful, but if not, there’s no better learning opportunity.
No dealership is perfect, or always runs smoothly. There are sure to be customers who cannot be helped along the way. Of course, the ideal end result for every customer interaction is that he or she will walk out of your doors feeling happy and satisfied, eager and willing to speak highly of your business to others. The best you can do is provide the training and support to ensure that the majority of your customers’ experiences end on this note. The most effective way to gain new customers is through word of mouth, so if you’re able to achieve this, you’ll be in superb shape.