Service Advisors: Connecting with the Customer
When my son was 5-years old and in kindergarten his teacher called my wife and asked her if we could come in and have a meeting about him. We had no idea what the meeting was about, our son was rambunctious and active, like a healthy, and happy 5-year old should be, so we went imagining the worse, as young parents do. The meeting was a lot of fun; sitting in chairs made to accommodate a kid 3 feet tall with a cheery old lady who spoke to us like we were 5-years old ourselves.
She told us that she had filled out the appropriate paperwork, and had all the signatures required for us to take our son to our doctor and have him tested for A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). At this time, because we had recently moved to the town where we now live, we didn’t have a local doctor, so we asked her for a recommendation and she gave us the name of a doctor that she knew treated several children in the school there where she taught. We made the appointment and took him in, filled out the new-patient paperwork and were shown into an examining room.
When the doctor walked in, he was looking at Jake’s chart and didn’t look up at us for several moments. When he finally did, he shook our hands and watched Jake sitting on the examining table, bouncing up and down, rattling that paper that they put on the cushioned surface, kicking his legs…the doctor just watched him as he told us about the A.D.H.D. symptoms and all the consequences associated with it. He was still talking to my wife and I as he went over, put his hands on Jake’s neck to feel his nodes or whatever, pulled out his stethoscope and listened to his heart, tested his reflexes with his triangular mallet; he did all this without saying a word to Jake, who hadn’t been to the doctor in his young memory and might have been freaked out.
The doctors diagnosis was as expected and he excused himself from the room to go get his prescription pad. When he left the room I said to my wife, “I don’t like him at all. “
My wife asked, “Why not? I have talked to several people and he is a great doctor.”
“I bet he is, but I don’t want a doctor working on my son who doesn’t like kids.” I replied.
Just like that, this doctor who went onto to write a book about pediatrics and A.D.H.D. almost lost a patient, a buyer, because he did not connect with us on the appropriate level.
How many times on the service drive to we treat our customers like that doctor treated us? He was diligent to go about his work, but I never got the feeling that he cared.
We have to do several things to send the appropriate message to our customers that we really do care. Here are a few of them:
- Greet them promptly (within 30-seconds of entering the service drive) with a warm smile and an introduction
- I say, “Hi, I am David Simpson, and you are…” What brings you in today?” I don’t say the word “help”, or “service”. If they are here for maintenance, I am complimentary. If they are in for service, I am empathetic.
- Make 1 compliment about the vehicle as you walk around it
- “This is a great looking Camry. How long you had it?”
- “It sure looks like you keep your vehicles nice and clean.”
- Ask plenty of questions related to how and what they feel is or isn’t happening rather than what they know or don’t know is wrong.
- “How does it sound when it is doing that?”
- “Do you feel it shaking at all when you make turns?”
- “Does the vehicle feel like it is going to die?”
- “Can you feel that in the front or more towards the rear of the vehicle?”
- Set the expectation
- Verbalize what is going to happen next
- Verbalize what the expense is going to be, if any
- Ask for permission to continue
- Do not use the word “Diagnostic” or “Diagnose”
- Replace with “Inspection” or “Test”.
It’s the little things that we do that make the big difference. The first impression is the most important. Let’s get used to using the appropriate language that engages the customer and lets them know that we really do care.