Even before cell phones, tablets, social sites and unlimited web sites that draw you to eye guzzle hours during the day, the service advisor has many distractions that can be very costly, such as loosing a customer. As a service manager when you are helping a dissatisfied customer, how many times has it come down to bad communication? How many times has your customer told you “I asked him to do this but when I picked up the vehicle it didn’t get done?” Its time to realize that in this high speed, high stressed world communication is more important than ever. Active listening is a skill and unfortunately only active hearing is being used. Really what we are telling our customers, we are hearing you but we don’t care enough to understand. Active listening will solve a lot of your problems in your store, there will be happier customers and employees due to less time consuming mistakes being made. Here are a few good tips and exercises that will help you become the Zen master of listening.
Eye contact / Face-to-Face – This one is easy right? Try it, in the next conversation with a customer or co-worker attempt to maintain eye contact during the entire conversation. You will find, especially within a dealership there are many distractions that will cause you to break your gaze into their eye. How many times have you listened why you quickly click from one screen to another? Hint this is a distraction.
Repeat concerns – I know you understood the first time so there is no need to repeat what you understand to be true. Here is a hint, sometimes – well all of the time its not about you. What you are really doing is showing your customer you understand their issue and then in return they feel better that they have had a chance to get their point across. Simply make sure you use some common sense when doing this. If a customer says “I cant afford this” you would reply with “I understand this is not within your budget” for an example.
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Author: Josh Vajda
Josh Vajda is Director of Inside Sales for AutoUSA. Previously he held senior management positions with AutoNation, where he led the auto retailer’s efforts in training and development, customer satisfaction and sales operations. Josh holds a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing from Cornell University, and is passionate about community involvement. He is a member of Leadership Broward and has held board and advisory positions with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.