Tag Archives: Customer service

5 Ways to Create Happy Automotive Customers

In an age when you understand that your customer can price shop you in the five minutes you walked away to talk to the desk manager, simply by pulling out their mobile phone, how do you set your store and yourself apart? When price and availability of the vehicles on your lot can be so easily matched or beaten how will you set up not only repeat purchases but referrals from future prospects?

CRMSuite can Help:

  1. Excellent Customer Support –

    You already have the sincere enthusiasm, firm handshake and winning smile locked up. Use CRMSuite to help you respond to Leads, Follow up with Prospects and Make contact with each sold customer long after the vehicle has been driven off the lot.

  2. Transparency & Responsibility –

    You already own your sold customers and make sure that your store is with them from the initial receipt of the lead, through the sale and service, and back to their next vehicle. AutoPencil allows for total transparency during the desking process. Give your customer all of the numbers up front and in a clearly formatted, beautiful template which automatically calculates the payments etc. during the negotiating process. Never leave your customers side to go to the desk, and have your customer sign the deal right from the driver’s seat of the vehicle they love.

  3. Incentives & Rewards –

    OEM Incentives are great, but you want to give your customers a little something extra. Offer rewards for referral leads and use CRMSuite to track the lead sources and note customer rewards.

  4. Engage & Personalize –

    CRMSuite is thee most Social CRM on the Market. Using proprietary algorithms and public information we match customer profiles with your customer records within CRMSuite. View your customer latest activities and recent profile photo right on their record. Link back to customer profiles so you can be prepared to greet them with your common interests and useful information to build value once you’ve set that all important appointment.

  5. Measure & Analyze Satisfaction –

    Make goals for your team and implement ways to measure your customers satisfaction with them. Use the wide variety of reporting and MyDay modules to see all your numbers at a glance, updated in real time and drill down for detail right from your dashboard.

Happy Customer Infographic

Is Great Customer Service Enough to Set your Store Apart?

Recently, I had a decent, but incomplete, customer service experience with a large corporation. Were they polite, yes. Were they able to resolve my problem, yes. Would I recommend their company to my friends and family members? Hmm, would I? I mean, really think about that.

Your cousin casually mentions that they are looking for a new car, or a new wireless carrier or a new dry cleaner for that matter. Is there a company that you are so passionate about, that you would speak up and say “Hey, I know just the folks you need to call to take care of you!” I was HAPPY with my customer service experience, by the end of the interaction. However, I can honestly say that if someone I cared about, asked me if they should go to this corporation for their products and services, I’d be on the fence with regards to recommending them.

What does this mean?

This means you can have customers who leave your store happy. They feel like they received a fair deal and they love their new car. They received adequate service and overall they were pleased with the way they were treated. But when their Mom mentions that she is looking for a new car, they could NOT recommend you or your store to her. Their mother may even bring it up herself, “Didn’t you just buy a new car? Where did you go to get yours?” Your customer could even name your store and still their Mother won’t be convinced that that is the place for her to purchase her new vehicle.

How do you set your store apart, and set yourself up for referral business?

There is absolutely no substitute for sincerity and passion about your brand. You can’t just say “Thank you” or “We appreciate your business” or “We care about your experience with us today.” In fact, if you say it and don’t mean it, you’re actually doing damage. I recently had a CSR answer the phone with “Thank you for calling <XYZ Company>, where we appreciate our customers” and I almost laughed out loud… the woman on the other end of the phone sounded less than enthusiastic to help me and just the tone of her voice convinced me otherwise.

You can’t make people care about your brand or store. You have to find, and hire people who are passionate about helping your customers. If you are the salesperson in this case, and you are passionate about helping your customers, as well as sincere when you thank them for their business. I promise you’ll be more successful at gaining referrals than your less enthusiastic counterparts.

Learn how to create relationships that will stand the test of time

Your enthusiasm in contagious. If you are in management, this will trickle down to your reps. And if you are a rep this will be passed on to your customers. Have you ever had a day that was just like six mondays smashed together? We all have, right? Do you remember having an interaction with a stranger, on a day such as that, and it turning your whole day around? It could have been the grocery store or buying a new pair of shoes. Whatever the case, that person had a positive impact on your day, and subsequently you. This may have changed your perception of their Brand as well. In the same way that a negative experience would change your perception of a particular Brand.

The difference is that, to create a real impact with a positive experience, you have to work a LOT harder. The experience must be truly exceptional, and above and beyond the call of duty of your basic job requirements. within the company. There is a saying “People never remember a clean house, but they always remember a dirty one.” And the same can be said for Customer Service. People will remember the bad over the good nearly 1000 to 1. Your job is to figure out how to make your customer service excellent, exceptional and consistently awesome. And therefore how to create lasting relationships with your customers. Fostering a sense of brand loyalty and going to extra mile to ensure future business via referral.

The attached infographic has some tips on what makes for excellent customer service. How realistic do you think are these customer expectations or your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

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Why do Companies with Great Customer Service Succeed?
Source: Why do Companies with Great Customer Service Succeed?

What is the central hub of your store?

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What is your epicenter? Where does everything happen? What do you need for everything to happen? YOU! Your body. You are your own epicenter will limbs attached that assist you in your everyday life. If you were restricted from using one of those limbs, how difficult would that be? Not entirely impossible, but it would for sure make things more difficult. Nothing would flow correctly. In the car world, the epicenter is the showroom floor. Everything stems out from the Showroom right at the time you sit down and say, “I want that one!”

While in the automotive retail sector myself, I observed that just like the limbs of your body, all departments need to work together. This ensures we reach the ultimate goal as a store; get the customer on the road happy. Let me paint a picture for you: Mr. Customer walks onto the lot to be greeted by a salesperson, once a vehicle is selected, the next step is the showroom floor where all the magic happens. Numbers are agreed upon and Mr. Customer goes to finance. When the customer is waiting to enter finance, their selected vehicle is rushed to the back to be spruced up by the car port employees. Roughly 50% of the time, the customer is out of finance before their vehicle is finished. Many dealerships will then set up their customers first oil change. What’s that? Now the service department is involved? Of course it is! The limbs all work together.

You may not think all departments in a dealership need each other, but they most certainly do. All work in accordance! Lot, showroom floor, finance, car port and service. Those are just a few of the main departments. Many departments have people who work behind the scenes, most your customers will never see. How do we thank them? How do we show appreciation? It’s the little things! Pizza, Starbucks or even donuts on occasion. We all need each other to function. Show you’re grateful!

Have you ever taken a step back to see the big picture at your store? Has a certain part of the dealership ever fallen “short?” How did you overcome? I want to know!

What could be more important than your greeting?

AgreementThe Greeting, most people think nothing of it.  A simple “Hi, how are you?”  Or maybe something more structured like, “Welcome to ABC Motors, my name is Jenn Brockway.  Your name is?”  Or, better still “What’s up?”  Salespeople spend so much time on the Demo, the negotiations, the close, that they forget the all important Greeting.  These first few seconds can make or break your deal!

A greeting is supposed to introduce yourself, first and foremost.  You don’t want it to be too simple, as it may go ignored, however you don’t want it to be too wordy either.  You want them to know (and Remember) your name but you also want their full name in response.  Ever get this?
You:  “Welcome!  My name is Jenn Brockway, and you are?”
Them:  “Bob” (while walking away.)
How effective do you think this is?  Do you believe that Bob will remember your name?  I don’t think so.  First impression, down the drain.  Sale, possibly lost!

A good greeting has just a couple elements.  Its quick, it provides your info, and you get their info.  You don’t want it to be too quick nor do you want to take up an hour to tell someone your name.  I used various greetings over the years, depending on how I was first meeting my clients.  A few examples are provided below:

  • Email Greeting:  You can have a greeting in an email.  Let’s face it, many people never walk into the dealership until they are finalizing their deal which makes a good email greeting extremely important.  Mine went something like this:

    Good Morning Bob,  Thank you for your inquiry on (vehicle.)  My name is Jenn Brockway and I will be guiding you through your purchase adventure.  If you should have any questions along the way, stop me and ask them!  I have included the information on the vehicle you requested below.  I would like to speak to you to provide more information, what number and time works best for you?  Please let me know.  Thanks so much!

  • Phone Greeting:  Ever bomb that phone call on that used car?  We all have.  The best thing to do is to have a script like greeting in front of you.  Something to help guide you from fumbling your words but can be easily adjusted depending on the request.  My script was as follows:

    Thank you for calling ABC Motors.  This is Jenn Brockway, who am I speaking with please? Great, what is the purpose of your call today?  Thanks, in case we get disconnected, is this the best number to reach you (read off the number from the caller ID) and verify if home or cell.  Also, just in case, what is your email address?  I promise not to bombard you with a bunch of SPAM but just in case I get your voicemail when I call back, I would like to be able to send you the same info via email, for you to review at your convenience.

Then proceed to provide them information.  You may not get all of the info right away, but a professional way to ask for it may get it for you after more info is needed.

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  • Walk in Greeting:  Of course, this one may be more difficult as your body language is a key factor.  I was always professional, with good posture, and a smile on my face.  Nothing says I want to sell you a car like a slob with their hands in their pockets and wandering eyes, right?  I used something like this:

    Hi there!  Welcome to ABC Motors!  (With hand out ready to shake) I am Jenn Brockway, your name is?  Wonderful, what brings you in today?  Perfect!  Come this way (leads to a desk to enter into DealerCRM) let’s have a seat and discuss your likes/dislikes, needs/wants, and preferences so I can pull up the car of your dreams!  Would you like some water or coffee?

Most dealerships have refreshments somewhere.  I worked in various dealerships that had these for guests but I kept my mini-fridge well stocked with cans of pop, water, tea, juice, etc.  I even went as far as purchasing a Keurig for coffee for my clients (and me of course!). Whatever methods you use, make sure you put yourself in them!  Don’t be fake and try to be someone you are not.  Be welcoming, sincere and use your abilities to read your customers response and navigate your follow up questions and comments.

Have some key pointers you’d like to share around greeting best practices?  Feel free to contribute them in the comments below.

Smile… It’s your best feature!

One thing I’ve learned while in the car business, and being surrounded by co workers and customers is, YOU NEED TO SMILE. Who likes buying cars? Not me! But, why? Car buying should be fun! However, the fear most customers have is dealing with your stereotypical greasy car salesmen, the suspicion that they may lie to you, while sitting in a low energy dealership for hours… How can we change the mentality? A study has shown that people would rather go through the hassle of preparing for a wedding for months than spend one hour at a car dealership.

Everyone has bad days, myself included. It really is incredible what a smile can do though. Have you ever been in one of those moods and a stranger just gave you a grin and it made you feel better; just a teeny, tiny bit? Customers love that! They are already anticipating a know it all salesman to greet them with their latest catchphrase. Expecting to be on the defensive as soon as they set foot on the lot. How inviting would a genuine smile be! It’s disarming and helps to build trust between yourself and your potential customer. You want your customer to open up to you and tell you what they want and not just give the, “Oh, I’m just looking” and blow you off as they walk away in the opposite direction.

Every sales rep has had these types of encounters. Let’s be honest, they stink. You have a much better chance of turning a casual stroll around your lot into a real opportunity if you approach your potential customer with open body language, lose the fast walk (like you’re trying to beat the other sales rep on the lot to the customer) and greet them with a smile and casual demeanor. Make it genuine and be yourself.

Now, imagine that customer shaking your hand after the deal has been done. What is that conversation like? “Thank you, enjoy your new vehicle.” Who isn’t going to smile then? You have a happy customer ready to peel off in a new car! A smile is a welcoming. A smile is encouraging. A smile is your best feature. Make sure you give them out and I guarantee you’ll receive them in return!

What have your experiences been like as a rep? How are things different when you make a concerted effort to connect with your customer as opposed to those days you just aren’t feeling like a ray of sunshine? Was there ever a customer who turned YOUR day around?

Salesmen vs. The Internet

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Let’s face it… The internet has affected the way consumers shop so greatly that we have had to come up with a totally different approach to selling and customer service in general. Now, not only do we have to educate our customers on the product, but sometimes we have to correct information they may have read online or reviews they may have read in forums and manufacturer websites. We expect that customers who walk onto our lots, casually on a Sunday afternoon, already have some idea of what they are looking to buy and that they are in fact there to buy after hours of online research.

Some customers are content to purchase a vehicle based on the information they have read alone. Or maybe they are just so in love with the vehicle’s styling, or the celebrity who appears in the commercial (Durango anyone?), that they don’t even want to take a test drive. In these cases your job is easy… You don’t even have to spend time walking the customer around the lot showing them their options, let alone detail the specs on each automobile on your lot.  It’s easy to do these things after a while. You become lazy and assume the customer knows what they are looking for and you start clerking deals instead of making sales.

Customer Service is King

Take the time to show each customer that there are other options available. Do your due diligence as a sales person to make certain that the vehicle they have chosen is in fact the one that will best suit their needs. Build rapport and trust by asking those questions we all know we should ask and qualify your customers. If your customer has children and is looking at a smaller cross over or SUV ask them if they have their car seats with them and let them try to fit them in the back seat. You can’t very well do that online… and nothing is more annoying that little feet kicking the back of your headrest. You may need to show that customer a vehicle with more interior space and for that, they will thank you.

Test Drive, Test Drive, Test Drive

No online review can let a customer FEEL what it’s like to take a hard left in that shiny new midlife crisis on wheels. Getting the customer into the vehicle and on the road is essential. If they love it… They will love you. And that is the gateway to referral business. True customer loyalty is a mixture of two things: How much they adore you and their satisfaction with the product you sold them. Miss on either of those two points and you probably shouldn’t bother to give them those 5 business cards when you send them on their way in their new car.

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The Warm and Fuzzies

Has your web browser ever asked you how you are feeling today? My guess is not. Online shoppers can’t really get that glow of satisfaction from shopping or buying online.  If they are in your store it’s because they want a PERSON to help them along their car buying journey. This is your chance to become a rock star. Five Minute friendships are probably one of my most favorite things about sales. You’re a person, act like one. Find commonalities between yourself and your customer. Do they have a pet or children or a hobby you can relate to? Break down that wall that the customer puts up the second they step foot on your asphalt and humanize yourself.

Don’t let the interweb dumb down your process. You can still make a difference and be a top notch sales person… It’s all about the thrill of the close. But there’s not much thrill if you are just taking orders and filling out paperwork. Treat every customer like a new challenge and set goals for yourself each day. You may not sell everyone you talk to but I promise you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment if you invest yourself in your work… and having someone come in asking for you is a pretty awesome reward.

How Many Cooks Does It Take to Spoil the CRM broth?

We all know that it takes a lot to run a dealership. From the first person who greets the customer when they pull into the lot, to the person that sends them off with a smile from their last warranted service visit, everything requires a close eye to ensure that it runs smoothly. That is why a dealership needs multiple managers to be successful. Usually one in each major department of the store.

Managers tend to have a close connection to what their respective department’s needs are. They can provide great insight as to what should be done when making changes that affect their area of expertise. There is a limit to this though. Our CRM system is meant to be customized to best suit your store, your staff, and your philosophies.

Our system puts the power in your hands to decide to whom you give the keys to the kingdom. You can give full access to everyone or just keep it for yourself. Believe it or not, more towards the latter is usually better. You want a couple of people who can objectively determine how certain changes in the CRM will effect various departments and the dealership as a whole. Then to give them the key to achieving the results that you want from the CRM system.

Each manager, no matter how objective, will always have their department’s best interests at heart; that’s what makes them great at what they do. If many people have the same access, it becomes a tug of war, constantly changing settings, practices, and overall direction causing dissension in the team. Most managers do not need full access. Most don’t even want it. If we keep it simple from the onset, we will see greater success going forward.

Who has the keys to your CRM?