A customer arrives at your service counter
asking for an oil change service and a tire rotation. Your service advisor
carefully writes the repair order, informs the customer that a technician will
be performing a multipoint inspection along with the service, ensures that he
has all the necessary vehicle and customer information, and nicely asks the
customer to have a seat in the customer lounge.
Fifteen minutes later the tech completes the
multipoint inspection and brings the results to the service advisor. The
technician is recommending a serpentine belt, cabin filter, and air filter.
Your service advisor presents the recommended services to the customer, and the
customer politely declines, saying that she will give it some thought and
possibly bring it back for the work. The result; a lost sale. Does this
scenario sound familiar?
So, how does a talented service advisor, who
understands the importance of customer service, struggle with sales? It could
be because the service advisor does not totally understand the concept of
building relationships with his customers. Possibly, his previous training
focused too much on, “making the sale”, rather than connecting with the
customer as a person. What he may lack, as many service advisors do, is the
concept that selling automotive service has a lot to do with building
Obviously you need to understand the products
you sell, the features and benefits of the service, and the importance of being
honest. But if you really want to go the top, you need to build relationships
with your clientele.
Customers must be greeted and treated as
close friends or a family member. If a close friend or a family member came to
you with a car related problem, would they doubt your diagnosis or
recommendations? Of course they wouldn’t. Friends and family members trust and
believe in you. They know that you have their best interest at heart; it’s the
reason why they come to you in the first place. The sale is not made due to
salesmanship, but rather the relationship.
Building relationships begins the very first
time a customer calls your shop or steps up to your counter. Effective
advertising will bring new customers to your service counter. However, a
company needs to ensure that a first-time customer doesn’t become a one-time
customer. Repeat customers guarantee long-term success. Increasing the odds of
getting consumers to return is heavily dependent upon the ability to anchor
customers by building solid relationships. Each first-time customer must be
greeted with enthusiasm and a smile. It is crucial that the service advisor
engage in small talk, much like a conversation you would have meeting someone
for the first time at a non-business event, such as a wedding or meeting a new
Engaging in small talk is not limited to
first-time customers. An essential part of delivering world-class customer
service is how well you connect with the customer in a conversation. Small
talk, combined with quality customer service, builds trust. When people trust
you as a friend, sales are not sales, they are simply part of the conversation.
An important thing to note is that a sale is
often made long before the service advisor walks into the customer service area
and informs the customer that she needs front brakes. The ability to sell is
directly related to the relationship the service advisor has with the customer.
Building relationships must be part of your
marketing policy and must be a consistent theme, practiced by every staff
member. How well you connect with the customer at each point of contact will
make the difference later on.
Every business owner should ask themselves;
“Can I positively say that the attitude and behavior of my employees creates an
atmosphere that encourages consumers to return?” We need to remember that we
may be in the auto repair or tire business, but we are retailers, and the
strength of our companies is reliant upon how we deliver world-class customer
service. Customer service drives sales and the level of customer satisfaction
directly impacts those sales. A positive customer experience, reinforced by the
relationship, will keep customers returning.
If you want to increase sales; know your
products and services, convey the benefits of the service or repair you are
recommending, always base decisions on what is in the best interest of the
customer and above all, view every customer contact as an opportunity to either
begin a relationship or preserve the relationship.
article was contributed by Joe Marconi of Elite. Joe is one of the 1-on-1
business coaches who helps shop owners build more successful businesses through
the Elite Coaching Program, and is the co-founder of autoshopowner.com.
More Articles in Management