Saturday, September 1, 2012

Automotive Service to Sales...Seamlessness...Really

From time to time, we will have members of the DeliveryMaxx family share their experiences from the automotive industry with you.  We hope you enjoyed this read from Craig Rodenmayer, DeliveryMaxx’s Customer Service Professional.

 In the 16 years I worked in the automotive industry as a service writer, consultant, and assistant service manager on the dealership level, I faced many opportunities and challenges. However, the greatest of those challenges and opportunities continually focused on how to retain my client base and represent the dealership well to my customers in order to achieve and maintain a high level of CSI and repeat business. That was the crux of what I learned in those 16 years. 

 During my tenure, car dealerships began to develop a focus on “seamlessness” between the front end of the store and the back end, or fixed operations of the service and parts departments. There were, in essence, two franchises under one roof operating out of step, often in competition with one another. The disjointed nature of these two competing entities worked to the detriment of the dealerships client base because the customers of that dealership were becoming lost to the schizophrenic nature of the messages they received either at the point of purchase or at the point of service. There was a lack of dialogue or familiarity between the sales staff and service staff which created a lack of trust or loyalty with the customers on both ends resulting in a loss of repeat sales and returning service customers. Worst of all, this lack of trust was being expressed through the customer’s word of mouth and CSI reviews to the dealership. Disaster! 

 What I learned in my time writing service, and what I began to understand of human nature, is that people want a friend they can trust when it comes to their automobile purchase or service. They want experts who will lead them down the path with integrity and sincerity. They don’t want to be “sold” on something they don’t want, don’t need, nor can they afford. So, my approach to the concept of seamlessness became communication and knowledge of what the other half of the dealership was doing. Likewise, I developed relationships within the sales staff so that I could better serve my customers and the dealership as a whole. The better I understood the sales end of the car business, then the better I could assist my service customers in making wise decisions about a car they own that may be, for a lack of a better term, a “money pit” if they continue to dump money into it to fix it. I and my customers needed friends in the sales department.

 I never cared much for the notion of a “bird dog” fee for flipping a service customer to a specific sales person; to me that seemed more like a scheme. Of course I wanted to be well compensated for my efforts, but more than that I wanted to make sure my customer was being treated with the same level of integrity and honesty that I provided in my relationship with them. After all, a car purchase usually takes place within the confines of a day; a service customer however, is won over months and years! Therefore, it was imperative that any customer of mine was treated with the highest level of care by the sales staff. What is more, I didn’t want to develop a “racket” with just one sales person who would pay me to flip my customer. No, keep your bird dog fees and spread the love. My desire was to work as a team, seamlessly taking care of our most valuable asset, the customer. If we won the trust of our customer, we earned a customer for life. 

 And so now, with the ubiquitous internet and social media, it is even more imperative to take the concept of seamlessness to task within the automotive dealership. There should be absolutely no gap or perception of a void to the customer between the point of sale and the point of service. Furthermore, the client base of the dealership, both young and old, have become more sophisticated and educated in the process of car buying and automotive service. Dealerships owe it to themselves to cross train and educate both the sales staff and service staff in an effort to better enhance the dealership’s customer retention, online reputation, brand reputation, and CSI reviews. It is in our nature to want to trust and that is the key to winning customers for life; loyalty is the point of becoming truly seamless. Really. 

DeliveryMaxx was founded on the principles of creating a more efficient method for successfully completing the sale at the point of delivery.  We have developed a system that effectively increases the positive experience of buying a new vehicle, accurately tracks the process, and generates increased customer retention.  The net result to our dealer network is increased sales, residual profits, web domination through social media marketing, strong SEO value and Locals, Published Positive Reviews and a Customer Loyalty Program that assures “Keeping the Customer for Life.

Our founders have over 60 years of experience in Automotive Sales, Management, Fixed Operations, Corporate, Marketing, and Customer Support ensuring a complete understanding of the sales process and the knowledge to help you grow your customer base.  We understand how hard it is to win a customer, and DeliveryMaxx arms you with the tools necessary to build continuous, strong relationships with your customers and retain them for generations to come.