Tag Archives: Reputation

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 Kind of Salesperson are You?

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In sales (as with most careers) you are a product of your environment. There are so many factors that go into a salesperson. Personality is an important factor. Are you likable? Not everyone is. People may like to speak to you but can you speak to them? Can you push their hot buttons? Can you make someone feel something about your product?

We all learn from our surroundings. We are a product of our environment. I owe a lot of my success in the car business to the people I have kept near me along the way. I surrounded myself with people that could teach me something. I wanted to learn, to grow, to thrive, and to make money. Not everyone in this business feels the same way.

However, I feel you learn by example and here are just a few sales personalities who I have run into along the way:

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The Top Dog –

First and foremost is the top dog, the big shot. Regardless of how he gets there, he never loses. He is the producer that everyone is gunning for. He has the top numbers every month. He speaks to no one. He works his own numbers, writes his own deals, and usually has more pull than any of the managers in the building. This is the one you can learn from, if he lets you. Most people in the dealership have nothing nice to say about him and he could care less. He is focused and it shows in his numbers.

Mr. Sunshine –

Then, there is that happy-go-lucky person. The one that seems to always have a rainbow shoved somewhere. You can never piss him off, no matter how hard you try. He is usually just average, not bad numbers but not great. He is likely stuck in the middle somewhere and perfectly content to be there. He will happily help you with anything you ask him to do. He won’t go out of his way but will help when asked. This also is the person that the top producer will lean on as he won’t screw him over.

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Old School Pro –

The next one is the former great. That one figure who has been with the dealership since before the rebuild. He has surpassed most of the managers in the store in time in with the dealership. He used to be the top dog but changes in the business have left those days in the past. He had the most sales with the happiest customers and the best gross averages. Time has gone by and he isn’t so great anymore but the place keeps him around because he has few to no issues and his customers are loyal and thrilled. This is the one that will sit and talk all day long about the past. You might learn something if you can stand to listen to him long enough.

Capt. Blamer –

What dealership doesn’t have that negative salesman? This person blames everyone else for his failures, lost leads, missed opps and never accepts blame personally for anything. He has a terrible attitude and usually sells very few cars. When asked about his sales, the reason they’re so poor is because the manager didn’t T/O him when asked. It could be that the numbers sucked or the customer was stupid or “not in the market”. Either way, it is never his fault. This person is usually good for a pathetic laugh every now and then. Mostly, you will just want to keep your distance.

The Probie –

Who doesn’t love the newbie, green pea? Of course, we all know there is a ton of turnover in the car business. There are usually a few of these people running around. Some may be good for helping dig a car out of the snow and others you just want to run over with that car. Most won’t be in the business long and will move on to other endeavors, usually chased away by the blamer. Beware, however, sometimes you will find they become the next top dog.

When entering the car business (or any business), the important thing to remember is you are a product of your environment. Who would you rather be? The top dog or the blamer. When in the dealership, surround yourself with the best. Guarantee yourself a spot at the top.

Can you think of an individual who fits each personality type above from your store? How have you navigated your place within your dealership to ensure your success?

3 Ways to Improve your Store’s Image and Reputation

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I’ve been to hundreds of dealerships around the country. It’s interesting how the most successful dealerships tend to manage or present themselves in the same manner. While dealerships who underachieve often neglect those small, basic details which could help them stand apart. Here are three easy changes you can make right now to help improve your dealerships image and reputation.

1)  Greet Every Customer – This seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised how often you’ll stroll into a dealership without being greeted. A receptionist is OK, but what if a customer gets past her or comes in through a side entrance? Your sales staff should be trained on how to greet customers without acting like a pack of wolves. The car buying experience starts immediately when the customer hits the showroom floor and first impressions are important. Many hi-line stores that I visit are good with first impressions – they’re clean, professional and courteous. Even if you’re not a hi-line store or think their culture is hoity-toity, put effort into creating a good first impression.

2)  Survey – Many dealers survey too much and they don’t DO anything with their surveys. The customer gets a manufacturer survey and a service survey and a dealership survey. The best survey, is a quality CSI phone call. If your store doesn’t survey at all, think about creating only one survey with incentives to the customer for filling one out. Quality surveys are a great way to check for areas that you can improve upon and to get a feel for the kind of culture you’re creating. Ask yourself right now if you use surveys, if not why? If you do, are they useful? Have you made any changes based on the feedback you’ve received?

3)  Spot Check Emails – When you’re texting a customer, you can get away with poor grammar and misspelling. However, in an email, it helps to create a professional look if your grammar and spelling are both on point. I’ve seen many outbound emails sent from sales reps that are grammatically incorrect and too terse to warrant a reply. I am by no means suggesting that one should write War and Peace in an email; but grammar and spelling are recommended to create concise, professional looking email templates that your sales staff can then customize and personalize for each customer. Again, everything goes back to first impressions, even before a customer has stepped foot in your store, what kind of impression are presenting?

At the end of the day, the overall message you should convey as a dealer, is that you care about the customer’s car buying experience. That you care about your image and that your best efforts are made with each opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you are a blue-collar used car lot or boutique hi-line store – professionalism is professionalism and your dealership image matters. What’s your store’s philosophy?