Fixed Operations + Customer Service = Outstanding CSI Results & Retention

The Red Carpet Treatment
Written by: Randolph S. Lofgren
When your customers leave your dealership, do they feel like they received the treatment they wanted and/or deserved?
Does your staff have to call and offer complimentary services or borderline beg for their customers to return the manufacture survey completely satisfied? If so, your staff needs to master The Red Carpet Treatment.
Randolph S. Lofgren was the former President of Bottomline Consulting Firm and now has joined Mike Shaw Buick-GMC in Colorado Springs this past Mid-September and noticed within the first day of his arrival that their Active Delivery System needed immediate attention. Here are the following steps the service team at Mike Shaw Buick-GMC followed and mastered:
• Meet and Greet
• Walk-Around
• Write-Up Process (Repair Orders)
• Status Calls (Updates)
• How and When To Present an Estimate
• Income/Outgoing Phone Skills (Service Consultants and Service Receptionist)
• Quality Control (Fixed Right the First Visit)
• Preparing Invoices with Proper Stories (3 C’s) (Concern, Cause, and Correction)
• Thank You Cards
• Proper Exit
First was to master the meet and greet; always smile and welcome your customer to your dealership and introduce yourself. The walk-around is one of the most important steps to a successful service drive; reason is it’s the best time to build rapport with your customer. Also, builds creditability as you walk around their vehicle and you are explaining to your customer why you are inspecting their tires, wipers, lights, windshield (chips and cracks), and brakes if visible. There are two more very important steps to complete before walk-around is over; number one is when you notice a scratch or dent you need to point it out to your customer in a kind matter and if you have a body shop, it’s a great way assist in creating business. Next is, fluid samples. Two ways of this is one pull the fluid samples yourself or have your porters pull the fluid samples and they can deliver the samples to your desk while you are creating your repair order for your customer. Customers must be present when fluid samples are pulled. Always sell by showing old verses new when possible. When writing up a repair order always listen to your customer while they are explaining their concerns. Ask your customers questions like; how often to does this concern happen, when does it usually happen (turning right or left, going over bumps, and while applying brakes), certain speeds, road conditions (wet, dry, pavement, or dirt), first time starting vehicle in the morning or after when vehicle is warm? I think you get the point. Next, verify your customer’s information like; name, address, phone numbers, and don’t forget their email. After verify their phone numbers, set up the best times for you to contact your customer for status calls (like; 10, 2, and 4pm.) Know it’s time to prepare and present an estimate. After technician has given you his multi-point inspection form results, you need to be very detail and spot on preparing your estimate. Nobody like surprises and surprises equal poor customer service. If your customer is at work or home, try to email estimate a couple of minutes before you call them. This way you can have them review their estimate while you are talking to them on the phone, easier to comprehend. If your customer is in your waiting room, using a staging table that is set up with new parts on it like; brake pads, rotors, belt, filters, and etc… Then all you have to do is bring your customer to your staging table and explain the parts that failed or recommended to be replaced. Showing parts that failed to your customer well not only increase your sells, but make your customers completely satisfaction that they came to the right place for all their automotive repair needs. Incoming/outgoing phone calls are so important. Always on incoming calls, sell the appointment, not the price. Manufactures have great warranties and stand behind their dealerships in labor and parts warranties. Sell the benefits to your customers. If you are the service receptionist, ask questions to your customer before transferring a call to a service consultant. Most of the times it’s a simple question like; what time does your service department close or they might have left their garage door opener in their vehicle that we have in our shop for repairs. Outgoing calls need to be completed in a professional manner. Like no chewing gum or eating while on the phone, speak clearly and pay attention. Remember, people can read body language over a phone as well. Quality control is very important. Are your service consultants or shop foremen verifying all repairs have been correct or no tools left inside on the floor and grease marks on the steering wheel? Remember, great detail skills, equals completely satisfied customers. The 3 C’s (stories on invoices) is a must! You must have your technicians get used to being very detailed in their stories. Even on customer pay repair orders. You have to think, when the husband or wife gets home after their vehicle has been in the shop. What happens while they are having dinner that night? Their spouse will ask what happened at the dealership today. First thing they will do is pull out the invoice for their spouse to review. Imagine if they were in for hard start concern and invoice says that the correction says completed repairs or fuel pressure regulator failed and replaced. Not many people understand what that means, but we charged them $751.00 for repairs done. Is that a completely satisfied customer? No I don’t think so. So, take your time and give your customer the details they are paying for, and guess what? You are being paid to give your customers those details as well. Tip: Have a thank you postcard made up with your picture on it and have a nice short thank you note in it as well and put one on every dashboard or center console before customer drives away after repairs have been completed. The proper exit is where you well receive a completely satisfied survey or not. You need to go over customer invoice with your customer line by line and explain in detail and answer any question your customer might have. Then, have their vehicle ready to be delivered like you are trying to sell it to them. If your dealership has a car wash, then wash it! Now it’s time to walk your customer to their vehicle, yes walk your customer to their vehicle. Once you get to their vehicle show them the repairs that have been completed if possible. After showing them their repairs open their door shake their hand and tell them you will be calling them tomorrow to verify all repairs have been completed. Do you see how you can receive completely satisfied customers without offering complimentary service or begging? In 30 days Mike Shaw Buick-GMC became number one in their zone for CSI results. In fact, an October result in CSI was 100%.
Randolph S. Lofgren
Director of Fixed Operations
Mike Shaw Buick-GMC in Colorado Springs, CO

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Comment by Randolph S. Lofgren on November 22, 2011 at 2:24pm

Thanks Bobby, if it helps one or two of my fellow dealerships, I'll be happy.

Happy Holidays as well my friend!

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