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5 areas where dealers can communicate better with customers

Creating a repeat customer starts at the time of the first sale. If you make the dealership experience one to remember, this client is going to return when it comes time to get another one.

About 90% of loyal dealership clients are still going to consider another brand when the time comes to get a new vehicle. Even if you are doing everything right, you might lose a customer. However, if you aren’t communicating with your audience, you have a much higher chance of them going elsewhere. That’s why you want to focus on these five areas where dealers can communicate better with customers.

During the purchase

Creating a repeat customer starts at the time of the first sale. If you make the dealership experience one to remember, this client is going to return when it comes time to get another one. With buyers spending an average of 13 hours on the process in total, you need to do everything possible to streamline this big event.

The biggest wait at the dealership has to do with F&I. As your client waits, make sure you are upfront with the time it will take. Don’t tell them it will only be a minute if it is going to be ten. Honesty is always the best policy and your customers will appreciate the candor.

After the purchase

It’s unlikely that your customer will need to buy another vehicle anytime soon. Instead, the focus needs to shift toward service. As they are waiting for F&I, consider giving them a quick tour of the service department, so they know what to expect.

You also want to follow up after the purchase with a special service welcome pack. The best way to improve customer retention and increase communication is to present a print-out of recommended maintenance on their car.

You can include this in the welcome pack or hand it to them before they leave the dealership. After that is in their hands, you will want to follow up at the recommended intervals to see if you can schedule that service appointment. Use the customer’s preferred method of contact to reach out.

At the time of service

When your customer arrives for maintenance or repairs, have the service advisor ready to go. Greet them with a smile and make sure they know they are welcome. After checking in, it’s important that the customer knows precisely how long they will be waiting.

If they are leaving the car with you, it’s important that you follow up when you say you will. If you tell the client that you will have an answer in the afternoon, don’t let the day pass without checking in. Even if you don’t have the answers yet, you can touch base and let them know what’s going on.

The same goes for customers visiting the body shop. While the above suggestions apply in this situation, your customers must also know what the insurance company is going to take care of if they are in for a covered repair. Walkthrough their responsibilities if there is a body shop claim to handle, so no one is in the dark.

While customers wait for service

While your customers are waiting, you have a big job on your hands. While the snacks, Wi-Fi, and comfortable seats are going to make the time pass faster, it’s important that they know what is going on.

Your customers must be kept in the loop during the entire wait. Outline each step of maintenance, letting them know how long each part will take. You can check in with them throughout the process showing them where the technicians are in the plan. You will also want to tell them if any snags were encountered.

Customers demand attention, so you can’t share too much with them. If nothing else, they will trust that you have their backs when it comes to service.

After service

Once service is completed, it’s your chance to really impress the customers. Instead of focusing on upselling them more services, have the advisor discuss the work that was done and how it will help their vehicle. Give a little education, so the customer is informed.

Sure, there’s a time and place for upselling, but it should never be the primary focus. Establishing an ongoing relationship ensures your future business, providing better long-term value than if you sell an accessory.

One last step

If you want to see where your dealership is lacking, ask your customers to fill out a short survey. In this survey, you can ask for recommendations about where your team can communicate better. Take the results to heart and make the necessary changes.

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Brian Jones
Brian Jones
Brian Jones is a contributing writer for CBT News. He has worked in the automotive industry for decades as an ASE Certified Master Tech. He lives outside of Dallas, Texas with his family where he enjoys motorsports, pickup trucks, and traveling.

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