The “Secret Service” Strategy
By Michael Roppo
The following information is all about delivering a Truly Outstanding Service by Streamlining a Management Alignment Onboarding (MAO) Process that holds everyone accountable! It is also the behind-the-scenes support structure for the new TRM (Total Relationship Management) buzzwords that everyone in the industry is talking about!
While we did not invent the MAO process like the one being discussed here, please know that we we do spend ample time and capital in customizing a process to fit the needs of every individual dealer and client!
Keep in mind that there are many more pieces to support the Secret Service MAO Process initiative. This information is just the beginning and is intended to provide dealers, leaders and managers with the guidance they need to address some of their most pressing challenges in a dealership environment.
MAO Can Make or Break a Dealership’s Value-Added Service Proposition
Management Alignment Onboarding processes can often make or break a dealership’s value-added service proposition. It is a management-driven process that can play a deciding role in the ultimate success of a new customer or client experience in every profit center of the dealership!
From the very early stages, the cost of failure can be very high. However, unless the proper value-added service support is provided and a foundation is established, the odds of a successful management alignment onboarding experience for the customer and the dealership may be doomed to failure and compromise!
Let’s look at the requirements for every dealer leader, manager and employee who comes in contact with the valuable customer. As a service provider we all need to better understand and address MAO processes before embarking on the journey to implement what we like to refer to as the Secret Service Management Alignment Onboarding process!
Introduction to Management Alignment Onboarding:
We often witness that Management Alignment Onboarding processes go missing within the automotive dealership industry; this is mainly due to lack of accountability! The Processes represent a critical point in the managed service process and the customer engagement process. This is really a time where the service provider has to deliver on its claims and commitments that they make to their entire customer base as well as to their teams.
No matter how impressed the customers may have been by the sales person or service person involved in closing the initial car or service deal, the MAO process must be something that dealers do on a continuous basis. In fact, this serves as the customers’ ultimate test in determining whether they made the right decision to do business with you and your dealership!
Management Alignment Onboarding Must Be Done Consistently!
As a result, even relatively minor hiccups during the MAO process can be amplified for the customer and trigger doubt, suspicions or concerns. If more significant issues, delays or cost misunderstandings arise, it can damage the dealer’s and service provider’s credibility and set a negative tone that may permanently taint the dealer’s and customer’s relationship, potentially even leading to customer attrition. On the other hand, if the onboarding process goes smoothly, it can set the stage for long-term customer loyalty and retention, which goes way beyond customer satisfaction.
“Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless And Customer Loyalty is Priceless!” -Jeffrey Gitomer
MAO success doesn’t start once the customer deal is signed and the vehicle is delivered. If the proper groundwork and support aren’t established, MAO can be difficult, if not completely doomed to failure. The following describes the key elements that set the stage for successful management onboarding efforts. These elements should be instituted before any customer sales and service dealings are signed.
Critical Foundational Requirements
Before any of your service and sales representatives start hitting the phones attempting the processes of drumming up business for your dealership and service department, your Secret Service MAO initiatives and overall business would be even more well served by making sure the following requirements are in place.
Standardized Value-Added and Well-Defined Service Offerings:
Managed value-added service solutions aren’t drawn up by dealership sales and service reps. They are driven by customer expectations and what it is that they value.
Service providers need to build value-added pre-packaged service offerings that are based on the input and collaboration of all key areas of the dealerships business including including business service operations, customer expectations, best practice success, marketing, sales and service delivery. They need to be explained as value-added service service MAO deliverables and you should provide detailed definitions of each service offering that explains what you do, why you do it and how much it will cost.
This service initiative or catalog form must describe what’s included, what’s not and what the service will accomplish. If the customer has expectations and requirements beyond the standard offering, those services can be communicated and delivered as an á la carte offering with á la carte pricing. These services represent the initial blueprint that operations can use to start the value-added work you promised the customer. Through the service catalog, sales and service can know what it is they are selling. The service catalog should also function as a marketing tool used to develop current and future dealership sales and service promotions and content.
Well-Defined Operational Processes Operations and Management Alignment onboarding teams need best practices and operational inventories that spell out the specific processes for implementing each piece of your Secret Service MAO initiative!
For example, a best practice for a monitoring service delivery would include such details as which metrics are tracked, specific benchmarks, how to handle customer alerts, how critical performance indicators are developed and used to monitor the customer service experience as well as the overall performance and profitability of the dealership and so on.
This information influences repeatable best practices automated methods, which lead to success. Simple and duplicable process documentation is critical to setting the foundation for MAO standardization and delivering consistent, predictable results across the entire value-added customer service experience and engagement process.
MAO ensures that no matter which person is deploying the value-added Secret Service initiatives, you will have the same level of service being provided to every customer, every day, every time, without fail and no exceptions.
Going Beyond Training
Service Sales training represents a critical step for every dealership organization. They need to understand how to sell the value of the dealership and organization’s expertise and experience and how they differentiate from competitors. This is critical when it comes to selling value added services.
Look at this way. How does your dealership and organization differentiate its products and service offerings and ultimately provide a better higher level of value-added service
from a competitor that is in the same business, buys the same tools, has the same hours and sells the same services?
That’s why it’s so important that sales teams are trained to sell the value of the entire Dealerships services! It’s a requirement and it must be done in a value-added way. Service is what makes up the value of every product that’s able to be sold! Without value-added services any product can expire worthless!
If your dealership organization is delivering and monitoring the service process, then audit the assets that help build value in the processes. Inform the customer about the level of services that you and only your dealership can provide such as:
- Providing Premium care!
- Being Open More When others are closed
- No Appointment Necessary ( Seriously)
- No Hassle pricing
- Longer term warranties on work performed
- Easy payment terms
- Complimentary pick-up and delivery
These are just some of the customer’s expectations that help build and provide value to the customer! MAO is a relentless process. It’s the Secret Service policies, best-practice standards, and the related experiences that articulate how these attributes ultimately result in timely, actionable MAO information. Ultimately it benefits the dealer — and even more importantly the customer.