Customers are our business, so keeping them is a priority. We not only have to provide excellent repairs and maintenance, but make the service experience as convenient and smooth as possible. This means that from the appointment scheduling to the drop-off to the customer picking up their completed vehicle, we must be sure that the service process flows smoothly.
Working for BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY, I no longer have the luxury of getting my vehicle serviced at my own shop. I have become a customer. Recently, I needed to get my state inspection and oil change done and thought this was the best chance I have to experience what a customer goes through to get service.
I called to make my appointment and was immediately put on hold. When the gentlemen picked up my call, I told him what I needed, and figuring I should give him the vehicle type and year, he cuts me off asking for my phone number and when I can bring it in. I give him my number. He says, “We will see you then,” and hangs up. It wasn’t a negative experience, but it wasn’t a positive one either. That’s not the best way to start the whole service process.
How well does your shop handle customer appointment calls? This step can set the tone of the entire service visit, so it is extremely important to have a system in place that anyone who answers the phone follows. Additionally, the person answering the phone can prepare the customer for the visit by getting the information the shop needs and going over any recommendations generated by previous visits. By discussing recommendations during the call, you can set the caller up for the costs related to this work so that they can be better prepared.
Setting an appointment during the call can make the visit much better. Staggering customers’ appointment times not only reduces the time customers wait to be written up, but it will also give you more time to work with each customer, resulting in getting all the correct information and upselling recommended services.
I arrive for my appointment and find that several other customers are there already waiting. My turn to speak with the adviser comes, and I walk up to the counter. On the counter, I see a paper calendar and see my appointment listed as my name and phone number, nothing else. Thus, I need to repeat everything to him that needs to be done to my vehicle today as he writes the estimate.
Paper appointment schedules are more of a roadblock than a help. Management systems all have a calendar function that, in its most basic form, is much better than any paper calendar. If you gather information from the customer during the making of the appointment and put it into your management system, you can use it to start an estimate, ultimately saving time for both the customer and yourself. This is especially appreciated during the morning rush. Getting customers in and out of the shop quickly and efficiently will improve the entire service experience.
Test, Don’t Get (And Get Answers Here)
It’s time to utilize guided component testing and other diagnostic tests including post-repair tests to make sure you are repairing a customer's vehicle right the first time.
Clear and quick communication makes the customer’s experience quicker and cleaner. The phone is now more of an asset than ever. Texting is the newest and most efficient way to get in touch with customers. Text messages are viewed in under two minutes since they can be read anywhere and anytime. Better yet, customers will generally respond within minutes, helping your shop get the authorizations needed to get the vehicle done.