Customer Experience Upgrades in 3 Simple Steps

Customers don’t necessarily arrive at your dealership expecting a great experience. When it comes to service, many dread a higher-than-normal repair bill. They expect to hear additional maintenance is needed, but don’t want to spend a lot of time at the dealership and can get annoyed if made to wait longer than anticipated.


Whether this annoyance due to long wait times applies to your dealership or not, many customers do, in fact, arrive at your dealership with these frustrations in mind. Before they’ve even pulled up into your service drive, the customer may already have set the tone for a poor customer experience. That needs to change.


How can a dealership alleviate these concerns; make the customer feel welcome and ensure they leave satisfied and happy? Perhaps it will help to take some lessons from a customer experience expert’s playbook.


I am sure most of you have heard about the Ritz Carton’s legendary approach to customer service. Even Apple sent their staff to Ritz-Carlton training before they opened a single retail store, according to a recent article on Entrepreneur’s website.


Based on this acclaimed training, Apple employees now follow three simple customer service steps which any business, including your dealership, can follow to improve the customer experience. They are as follows:


  1. A Sincere Greeting – The typical dealership is a busy place and the customer can be left waiting without an appropriate welcome. Some dealerships have rectified this with greeters in the service drive, or technology such as a message board to welcome each customer for the day. However, too often, dealerships simply have a line of cars waiting to be checked in every morning, processing customers as if on an assembly line. Sometimes service drive staff are so overwhelmed by this morning influx that their body language and tone simply can’t be disguised.


A sincere, warm welcome can go a long way towards increasing the customer’s experience right at the start of the transaction. This helps set the right tone for the entire customer transaction.


  1. Fulfillment of Needs –A huge part of any customer experience is receiving the repairs they seek. Are those service completed quickly and fixed right the first time? This is largely how manufacturer surveys score the dealership. Regardless of those surveys, fulfillment of needs is vital for customer retention. A happy customer will continue to come back for service and, with successful delivery over time, advocate your brand. Whereas one bad experience can cause up to 17% of customers to search for another vehicle maintenance solution.

  2. Say Goodbye using the Customer’s Name – Even if you missed welcoming the customer by name upon arrival, once the RO is complete, you have all the information needed to give the customer some words of appreciation and a sincere goodbye. Use the customer’s name as they leave while handing them the keys to their vehicle. This may seem a small thing, but your customers will remember personalized service and leave on a high. This can positively affect their overall experience and perception of the dealership.

These points were good enough for Apple to adopt, cost little or no money, and can increase revenue while retaining more customers. So, if your customer experience could use an upgrade, what are you waiting for?

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