Did you know that a bad experience with customer service can permanently damage your relationship with even the most loyal customers? This can result in a loyal customer refusing to support your business or no longer recommending it to other potential customers. When you’re building a network of dedicated customers, even one bad aspect of your business can lose their trust. Customer service is undoubtedly essential for any brand or business, especially customer retention. When we think about customer service, we should consider the entire customer experience from the moment the customer starts to communicate and throughout the lifecycle of the product or service they purchased from your dealership.
96% of customers say that customer service is crucial in determining whether they are loyal to a brand. Good and bad customer service are two sides of the same coin, and when you’re aiming for the best, you should know what that is.
When an automotive customer buys a vehicle service contract or aftermarket product from your car dealership, they want a product that has comprehensive service. Easy to understand, simple to select, a straightforward process to use the product or file a claim. They’re looking for a resolution to their problems, not just another sales pitch.
Having the ideal F&I Service Provider with attention to details and great customer service is essential to selling more Vehicle Service Contracts and F&I products to your consumers. Focusing on the customer experience will help you increase profitability even after you’ve sold a vehicle to your customer. With the ideal service, you can find the following elements in customer service:
- Solution-Centered: Create a culture of solution-centered automotive professionals that will understand what the customer is asking for and anticipate what they require. Customers require solutions to their problems. Automotive Professionals that understand products, services and how those solutions can solve the consumer’s problems is based on understanding the needs.
- Active Listening: Hearing what customers are saying and what they are not saying is important. Connecting the dots to trends in the automotive industry and identifying their core needs are crucial to recommending the right solution. Asking the right questions along with good listening skills are key when you want your customers to feel satisfied with the experience you’ve given them.
- Respect: When the team understands that every person that steps foot into the dealership or contacts the dealership should be welcomed, appreciated, treated with dignity and respect as individuals, you’ll notice that customers will open up and feel comfortable to communicate more. Even when customers face problems, knowing when to apologize, the right method to diffuse a situation can win a customer and create a loyal one for life.
- Responding: Once a customer gets in touch, respond as quickly as possible – even if you’re simply acknowledging the receipt of the communication. The aim should be to give customers what they ask for and provide customers with an “at your service” environment. There’s no need to change your business model, but rather incorporate customers’ demands within that. Linking up with an F&I Solutions Provider can help with quicker response times and thorough service.
- Serving: Customers should understand the business model, how it works, and how it can fulfill their requirements. If customers are getting confused, angry, leaving bad reviews, or hanging up, it is generally an indicator of inefficient processes resulting in their requirements not being met. Remember that a clear, transparent process will create an environment of trust, respect and a peace of mind.
When it comes to customer service in the automotive industry, following these five elements is important to maintaining a good reputation among your client base.
The average car buyer is aged 25 to 54, and those looking for aftermarket automotive products remain within this demographic. When you are looking to be successful with your customers and increase dealership profitability, the key is to link up with great F&I service providers like CareGARD® that make it easy for customers to file a claim, contact customer support and get paid.
It has been estimated that 86% of positive customer service experiences can turn a one-time customer into a long-time customer. Increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase your business profits by at least 25%. As a dealership, you want to ensure that your customers have a good experience with their F&I products and service, so they come back to you to buy more.
If a customer ever leaves dissatisfied, that is “Bad” customer service. This customer is in danger of permanently disassociating with your business. Standing out from the competition can be challenging when so many products and services sound the same, that’s why it’s even more important to make an effort to retain your customers through quality customer service. If a customer ever voices dissatisfaction in any way, listen intently and always empathize by making an effort to imagine how you would feel being in their shoes and going through their struggle to be heard and helped. If they feel you truly understand, their anger often diffuses simply because someone is listening and is willing to help.
A positive customer support experience makes the difference between a lifetime of loyalty or losing customers to the competition. Your F&I solutions partner plays a huge role in the customer service experience and your buyers down the road. If your provider’s customer service goals match your own, your dealership can go a long way in cultivating a customer relationship that lasts well beyond just a single transaction.
“At CareGARD, it’s the superior customer service of our Claims team and Account Management that sets us apart in the industry. Our ASE-Certified Claims Team is available 24/7/365 and average 22 second wait times. This makes CareGARD part of the solution for any dealership!” said Tim Harley, Director of Claims.