The automotive business has a history of practices that have made the general public wary of dealing with both repair shops and sales lots. Both repair and sales have a long standing reputation, decades long, of being deceptive.
Much of this reputation is well deserved. There was a time where sales people exaggerated the features of vehicles that was deceptive, to make sales. Pre-owned vehicles often brought out very unscrupulous practices in which the sales people flat out lied to their potential buyer about the quality of the vehicle.
On the repair side, customers felt as if they were easy prey for the service consultants to tell them what was wrong with their vehicle in order to persuade their customer into spending unnecessary money. There were some in the industry who told their customers things were wrong with their vehicles, when in reality, there was nothing wrong at all.
Hopefully, and I believe it is true, at least from my experience, that these practices by-and-large, are in the automotive industry’s past. There may still be some less than ethical folks out there, but by far the majority of hard working individuals are honest and reputable.
However, the stereotype stays with us. We have to be constantly on guard that we are not doing things which will hint of dishonesty.
One of the main ingredients in our recipe for exceptional service is great communication. Great communication is a foundation piece for delivering a great customer experience and building a good reputation for yourself and for your company.
Communicating is something we as humans, do a lot. Unfortunately, most of us are really lousy at it.
The #1 complaint regarding automotive repair service is Poor Communication. With poor communication, your customer will feel uneasy and won’t be having a great experience.
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of ways in which we communicate poorly. One example is simply lack of communication. You don’t explain to your customer the process of what will happen to their vehicle. You don’t tell them what to expect when they arrive for their appointment. At check-in, you don’t let them know what you are doing and what the technician will be doing to their vehicle.
As the visit rolls on, you don’t contact the customer regularly to update them on the progress. Not communicating with your customer when their vehicle is finished is a big disappointment. In my career, I have witness that more customers call in to check on the status of their vehicle than get contacted by the consultant.
Thoroughly explaining what was accomplished with their vehicle during the repair visit is vital to a good customer experience. The importance of communicating what happened, explaining the charges and answering your customer’s questions cannot be overstated.
And how about the oft forgotten, “Thank you”?
Some other ways we can be poor in our communication skills are being blunt, harsh or unsympathetic. Being arrogant, unclear, inconsistent or incomplete in the information given is absoulutly frustrating to your customer.
As mentioned earlier, this only scratches the surface. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of ways we can disappoint with our communication skills.
This is an area most everybody, maybe everybody, struggles with. I know it is a weakness of mine. I am often a poor communicator. I challenge you as I also challenge myself in this area, on our journey to Pursue Great!, In all you do.