C.S.I. of course is our strongest marketing message we can deliver, but are we covering the bases? Most dealerships are extremely focused on C.S.I and so are their salespeople. Ironically with that said, even though our number one source of customers is our previous customers the sales person who sold the original customer never will receive credit for the sale! Why because building that long term salesperson / customer relationship is still not a strong focus of most management teams.
There are vendors out there that will do that type of follow-up and keep the salesperson in front of each sold customer and ask for referrals, but why should a dealer take on such an expense when best practices in the sales department make dealership loyalty the number one source of new customer?
Condition of employment: Well that is very shallow; a deeper view would be the power the salespeople has in the digital world. If each of the salespeople had a unique FaceBook and YouTube channel they can instantly upload a happy customer delivery to each, have the customer share on the spot, build a following, brand themselves and the dealership not to mention encourage the customer to post a rating on dealerrater, yelp as an example and exponentially increase sales to themselves and the dealership via FREE digital reputation . Advantage? Long term employees, enormous reduction in advertising expense. Consequence? A need to hire more salespeople because the others are too busy with referrals and appointments, I've done this and have seen it work. More so actually looked at my sales department and thought, holy cow I got to hire more salespeople to take fresh ups!
Getting back to C.S.I, there is a lack of support in most dealerships! Yes believe it or not, you may be fooling yourself if you think not! I recently purchased a new vehicle and a trim piece blew off a week later, oopsie, it happens. I went to the service department and the service writer started out with, "I don't know if that is covered under the 3 yr 36?". I understand as it may have been vandalism of which it would be an insurance issue, but that really matter? There visibly was no physical damage, so why even say that? I thought as a consumer why am I going through this, just fix it!
Once it was established 30 minutes later that it was a factory defect, I was told the part would be in the next morning and just come in, "we'll put it on for you". Well I called the next morning early as a follow through (it's what I do). The service writer that I had spoke to the previous day was off, he never informed me of that or referred me to a team member during my first visit. So the fun began, I spoke to another service writer and was told they were short handed and too busy, I asked if the part came in and the service writer told be to call parts and confirm the part arrived! Wow, I had to call parts and confirm the part was in. So I did as I needed service so I has to service myself, I spoke to parts and yes the part was in. I asked the parts guy is I can get it installed as the service writer the day before told I would be able to. The parts guy told me I had to talk to service, OK he transferred me and after being disconnected twice I was told by another service writer they were too busy and I may have to wait 2 hours, the nightmare went on from there. What was a great sales experience turned into a very disheartening dealership experience, or at least in the eyes of this consumer.
The point: There are many ways of addressing this, but because we don't really reinforce the Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Disney experience ( of which get all the money all the time) and yes consumers are tough, sometimes dishonest and can make us callus, we have learned to manipulate surveys, understand that we don't have to be perfect to be average, best of the worst, worst of the best. The mind set is as long as we're there. The truth is, even the lot porter should be able to make a decision to ensure absolute customer satisfaction, therefore supporting the efforts of the sales department who earned that new customer for the service department in the first place.
Yes I am mindful that a new service customer that has not purchased a vehicle yet from the dealership, can become a sales department sale. Let's do the math, 200, 300, 400 or more new service customers from the sales department each month, and 10 to 15% of service customers become sales customers each month.
The bottom line:
1. Implement a condition of employment that includes digital reputation and customer
2. Take on the expense of total customer satisfaction and critique costly mistakes
along the way, oh wait; there are no mistakes when it comes to customer
satisfaction. For those that are thinking, there are consumers that will take
advantage of an unconditional customer satisfaction philosophy, so be it. They will
buy many cars from you for the most part and so will their families.
I will pass on a couple of "jeffism" "If it's not broke, have the courage to break it"
"in order to have what others don't we have to do what