Delivering In The Service Department

The majority of dealer service departments place the largest emphasis on maintaining high CSI scores (Customer Service Index scores). But such practices only lead to inevitable failures. It is not possible to maintain high scores without truly meeting customer needs. This phenomenon is known as “under delivering”. And it is as pervasive as bad morale among service staff.

Customer Reactions:

Customers completing comment cards do so because of motivation. Good feelings initiate motivation, bad feelings initiate motivation. The responses on comment cards reflect a customer’s experiences with the service department. Chances are they purchased the vehicle from the same dealer and had a pleasant experience. Therefore, customers fully expect the good experience to continue into the service department.

Negative customer feedback points directly to “under delivering”:

“Not ready when promised.”
“Not repaired right the first time.”
“Higher bill than expected.”
“Extended warranty co-pay is confusing.”

Service Department Reactions:

To avoid such negative feedback, the service department must implement and practice 5 key strategies. These strategies will not only improve customer experience, but streamline the intake, repair and delivery process.

1) Become Service Advisors

Too many service departments have “ticket writers”. This is an impersonal experience for the customer. Instead of simply writing up a service order, employees should stop and listen to the customer’s needs. By interacting with customers on a more personal level, customers feel more important. This also significantly contributes to documenting all the issue with the vehicle.

2) Set Realistic Expectations

Service employees that set realistic expectations will encounter far fewer customer complaints. Employees should not over-promise, nor should they under deliver. Setting a realistic time frame for completion is key. Concurrently, exploring possibilities helps to form a more informed opinion. Employees should ask during the reservation if the vehicle will be left, if the customer needs a ride home or a courtesy vehicle, if the customer has experienced the concern previously, how to best contact the customer and inquiring about other concerns.

3) Schedule Realistic Appointment Times

Service centers that overbook are asking for trouble. Customers feel mislead when their car is not ready to be taken in or ready to drive home. Always express the possibility of “unknown” concerns being discovered during routine diagnostics.

4) Disclose Any Delays and/or Issues

Customers do not react well to late deliveries or news of other issues. Keep the customer in the loop with periodic updates – through phone calls, text and email (based on the customers requested preference).

5) Keep Promised Delivery Times

Not delivering a vehicle at the promised time only creates unhappy customers. Unhappy customers tell their friends and rant online. Keep promised delivery times reasonable based on work load.

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