Dealer Insights - July/August 2013 - 6 Tips For Conjuring Service Customer Loyalty

In the brave new world of customer behavior, a cynic might advise that, if you’re looking for loyalty, you’d be better off getting a dog than expecting unconditional devotion from your customers. Nonsense! Although it might take more know-how and creativity to instill customer loyalty nowadays than it did in days gone by, this golden commodity is still obtainable. Here are six ways to conjure up loyalty among your service department patrons:

  1. Put someone in charge. Service customer loyalty should be a defined goal. Managers from the department in question are a natural choice to champion a formal program to address this objective. But don’t overlook a marketing or general operations manager, either. Whomever you choose, task this person with tracking and improving customer loyalty.
  2. Use phone calls to foster relationships. Phone calls are part of dealerships’ daily routines. But don’t take them for granted — train your service employees to transform humdrum phone calls into relationship-building opportunities. High-quality calls should be the goal, not rushing people through the pipeline. Ask managers to occasionally monitor phone interactions to ensure employees are following protocol and behaving as professionally as possible.
  3. Remember the “personal touch.” When customers are in your shop, take advantage of opportunities to “bond” and make positive impressions. Of course, there’s the crucial exchange between the service advisor and customer over the work. But don’t forget the extras: For example, have service advisors escort customers to the waiting area and offer them a beverage. Or give the customer a ride home.
  4. Spruce up your waiting area. Although customers want to get in and out of your shop as quickly as possible, they may have to wait. Make their stay as pleasant as it can be. Consider offering more food or beverage choices than just caffeinated coffee. Install a Wi-Fi connection. Survey customers on their favorite magazines and then stock up on them.
  5. Follow up on customer feedback. Does your dealership respond promptly to all of the comments it receives from service department customers? Negative feedback is never enjoyable, but it can be the start of turning bad situations around. Regularly review your Customer Response System to see how comments are being handled.
  6. Say “thank you.” Tell customers that you appreciate their business, often. If they make an appointment online, follow up with a personalized “thank you” e-mail to show that you noticed. Expand your thank-you campaign to all communications with your dealership — for example, when customers sign up for your dealership’s newsletter or request information over the phone or via your website.

Dealer Insights - July/August 2013 Issue 

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