Customers generally get their vehicle serviced close to home or work. Dealers are lucky that customers feel they should bring their new cars back to the same store when there are warranty issues. They have that warranty period to develop the customer’s loyalty. That is, UNLESS their customer has a bad experience. After the warranty period is over, if they don’t wish to service at a franchised dealer (often due to the perception that dealers are more expensive) the customer will go to the most convenient independent service repair shop.
What happens when they go to the independent service repair shop – Joe’s Automotive Repair?
Joe answers the phone. There are no voice prompts and no need to get transferred. The customer explains what they need and Joe gives them an estimate. When the customer arrives at Joe’s shop, Joe greets them himself. He then inspects the vehicle and calls them to inform them of any repairs he discovers. After explaining technically what’s going on, he gives them a final amount, gets approval and repairs the vehicle. When the work is completed, Joe notifies the customer that their vehicle is ready. When the customer returns, Joe takes the customer’s payment and explains to the customer the work that was completed. A few days later, Joe calls the customer to find out if everything is to the customer’s complete satisfaction.
There are so many moving parts at a franchised dealership, as well as a number of different employees involved in a typical service process. That it is why it is very hard for franchised dealers to compete with the experience offered by independent service centers. Therefore, ensuring a smooth and excellent customer experience, providing a single point of contact who responds to the customer as well as personalizing the service experience, is quite a challenge.
When attempting to provide a higher level of customer experience many dealers typically resort to hiring more people to help – more porters, greeters, assistants, BDC personnel, etc. The customer now has to deal with a service advisor, greeter, valet, porter and BDC personnel — The list goes on and it borders on overkill.
Take a look at the experience from your customer’s viewpoint. To compete with Joe’s Garage across the street, focus on improving interaction with your customers by providing a streamlined, efficient, and unified way for customers to interact with you. If the customer has to remember five phone numbers, or speak with multiple people at the dealership in order to get their vehicle serviced, eventually they will get tired of it.
Simplify your service process and make it easy for customer to do business with you — or you will lose your customer to Joe.
Author: Ujj Nath
Ujj Nath is the Founder and CEO of myKaarma (www.mykaarma.com), the cloud-based conversational commerce software that’s revolutionizing the auto service industry. He has 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and automotive industry executive. In 1990, prior to myKaarma, Ujj founded Syncata, a major provider of business consulting and systems integration services. In 2004 he successfully negotiated the sale of the company to ProQuest Business Solutions (NYSE: PQE), which was subsequently acquired by Snap-On Tools (NYSE:SNA). At Snap-On, Ujj was Vice President of Global Accounts and headed the Professional Services Organization for Snap-on Business Solutions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.