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Training Your Auto Service Staff to Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience

By Cordell Riley

Every visit a customer makes to your service facility is like a mini-journey. When that trip is over, you want your customer to feel well-served, valued, and maybe even a little bit delighted.

Great customer service training is what makes that happen. Let’s break your customer’s experience down to see how training can help.

Managing the Customer Arrival

Your service writer should be trained to greet every customer by name, make eye contact, shake hands, present a business card, introduce him or herself by name, and take personal ownership of the customer’s service experience.

A good script to use is, “Good morning, Mr. Carson, I’m Paul Collins. I’ll be supervising your car’s service this morning.”

Reviewing the Services to be Performed

Don’t miss the chance to provide exceptional service at this step. Your service writer should start by explaining whether the service is part of scheduled maintenance (“So, you are here for your 35,000 mile service?”). Whether that is the case or not, he or she should ask questions about the vehicle (“How is everything with the car?”)

Train your service writers to use good listening skills. They should focus on the customer while he or she is speaking, take notes, repeat what the customer has stated, and then ask clarifying questions. (“Just so I understand, the car idles roughly when you first start it on cold days . . . how long does it take for that to go away?”)

The next step is to clearly explain the work that will be done. Your service writer should review with the customer a print-out that lists what will be done, item by item. If the service involves testing to diagnose a problem, your writer should explain that and explain the possible outcomes. (“We will diagnose the rough idle on a computer, which will tell us whether the rough idle is due to a faulty engine sensor, which takes about a half hour to replace. We will let you know as soon as we have run the test.”)

Providing an Exceptional Experience While Work Is Being Done

Your service writer should ask where the customer will be while the car is being serviced and get a cellphone number to send text messages. Train your service writers to text customers with updates or visit them in person if they are waiting in your facility.

If the vehicle requires any unexpected services or costs, your service writers should explain them, and offer options. (“Your windshield wipers should be replaced. Factory original wipers cost $25.00. Would you like us to do that for you?”)

Reviewing Services that Have Been Performed

Your service writers should print out a summary of work done, go over it point-by-point with customers before they leave, and ask whether customers need any more information.

This is also the time to go over the money the customer saved by visiting you. Your writer can say, “The $45.00 oil change was done at no cost to you today . . .” If the customer will pay for parts and service your writer should explain that too, along with discounts that were applied. Last of all, your writer should ask whether the customer has any questions.

Following Up

Many dealerships now have a front-desk receptionist call customers to ask, “Were you pleased with your service?” In my view, it is better to have the service writer who handled the visit make that call and say, “Mr. Carson, it’s Paul from your Audi dealership. How is everything with the car?”

It is also fine to email customers surveys after service visits to assess their satisfaction. But train your service personnel to make that personal call too. It’s one more way to deliver an exceptional service experience.