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            What’s the point? This question has been repeated countless times in countless situations. While this question is asked when you’re ready to throw up your hands and give up on a matter, it is also asked when you witness missed opportunities while receiving less than average service at a business. When you frequent a customer service-oriented business and the greeting you receive is, “Yes?” or “What do you need?” you might be like me and tell yourself, “This person is missing the point.” This is never more true than in the automotive industry.

Recently, I was in the market for a new vehicle. I had researched the market and knew exactly what vehicle I intended to buy. When I visited the first car lot that had the vehicle for which I was interested, the greeting received from the salesman clearly communicated to me that he was interested in selling any vehicle to me and moving on rather than identifying my vehicle needs and pairing me with the optimal one that would meet those needs. Then, when I let him know the exact vehicle I found online that brought me to that dealership, his response was to let me know that wasn’t the best vehicle and that he could sell me a completely different make and model because they were “better.”  This salesman missed the point!

His interest was in selling a car and moving on to the next victim. While he may sell a car from time to time, he will not generate repeat business and promote an inviting reputation in the community for that dealership. I finally found a dealership that provided the customer service that instilled confidence in buying from them and instilled in me a desire to be a life-long customer for them.

By now you might be asking “What is the point?” The point is it is crucial for your dealership that you have an ingredient that will shape how you and your employees conduct business. It is vital that you have an ingredient that will separate your dealership above the rest, especially in the area of customer service. It is imperative that you have an ingredient that will make your dealership more than just a business. The ingredient for your dealership that will transform it from a day-to-day exercise to a cause that energizes your employees to sell and your community to buy is a well-formed, well-communicated and well-supported vision.

A solid, dynamic vision provides your dealership with, not only a destination you at which you want to arrive with your customers, but also the road map that will take you there. It is the means by which your employees can gauge their level of service and skill as they interact with customers. Your stated vision provides customers with a clear expectation as they visit your store and a means by which you can hold yourself and your dealership accountable to what you set out to do, so that you can weed out those who stand in the way of making your dealership thrive in the market you serve.

I’m not talking about a worn out statement typed on the wall of your dealership, but a way of life for your store. Over the next few weeks, I want to cover a few tips on developing this dynamic vision and incorporating it into the D.N.A. of your dealership. The point is that your dealership can move from a lack luster performance in selling vehicles to a thriving business with a vision that inspires its employees, and as a result, inspires your market to buy from you!

 

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I’ve been involved in Customer Service for the past 17 years.  I’ve seen lots of both good and bad interactions with customers.  A company’s most vital asset is its customers. Consequently a good customer service experience requires one to be an advocate of the customer, as that is what good customer service is all about. 

Some of the key points I’ve learned along the way:

1. Listen, Listen, Hear – Listening is one of the key points of customer service, but it doesn’t end there.  Listening alone doesn’t do the trick.  You have to be able to understand not only what they are saying but their ultimate NEEDS.  

2.  Respond – So many support/service departments don’t acknowledge your problem in a timely manner.  Nothing is more frustrating than having a problem that has not yet been acknowledged.  Just letting a customer know your issue is understood and is being investigated/worked upon makes a world of difference.

3.  Set reasonable expectations – Don’t fall into the trap of promising something you can’t provide.  We’ve all been the victim of a support person saying what ever they needed to say to make us happy.  A good support department doesn’t do that, finding reasonable solutions to a problem is our job.  As is, setting reasonable expectations so we all know what is going to happen from here. 

4.  Empathize – I’m the guy people go to when they need support, and even I’ve been in a fix where I needed help.  When talking with a customer we can always get to the heart of the problem, and consequently the solution faster if you make them at ease and let them know you’ve been there before. 

5. Verify – In the IT industry there are always multiple solutions to a problem.  However, not every solution that seem like it will work, will actually fix the problem.  Verify your problem is solved.  This also goes hand in hand, with interacting with your customer to ensure they believe the problem is solved.  Even if you’ve found a solution the problem has not been solved until your customer understands it has been solved.

I’ve been a part of many support departments in my career.  I have to say I’m proud to be a part of the Liquid Motors support staff, as we are one of the premier support departments in the industry.  We strive to ensure you have the best customer service experience possible.

 

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