sales to service

Perfect start to a happy dealership relationship

By Rian Locadia

That new car smell, the new features, showing off to your friends and coworkers. These are all the joys of the new car ownership experience. The average client views the overall car buying experience as exciting. A car is a huge part of anyone’s life. However, six months or 6,000 miles later, that warm and fuzzy feeling has gone away. It’s now time to bring your new car in for its first service. This does not have to be a daunting task for the client, however. A simple introduction of the client to the service department generated by the sales associate goes a long way to help for seamless future experiences that client has at your dealership. How do you handle the sales to service handoff? 

Happy Customers Meets Service Department

Unfortunately, before these processes were implemented, I have seen brand new vehicles pull up into the service drive in every different direction. New clients parking in the wrong spots, talking to the wrong people and just look generally confused. This is indeed a result of the client not being properly acclimated with the service drive and process. These puzzled looks on your client’s faces and confusion could be easily be avoided by following a few simple steps in both the sales and the service department.

  1. After the client completes their paperwork in the finance office, the salesman will walk them over to the service department and perform a general walk around of the service department. This may include introduction to the lounge, refreshment bar and other amenities.
  2. Next is the introduction to a service associate. This can be a tricky one. The last thing we want to do is have a client in tandem with their sales associate running from desk to desk looking for an open service advisor. A good way to avoid that situation is for the sales associate to give the service advisor a heads up a couple of hours in advance about the introduction. This may not be 100 percent seamless on every introduction but it will help streamline the introduction process as a whole
  3. From this point forward, the service advisor will briefly take over. At this time, they will introduce themselves and the whole service process in a nutshell. Explain the appointment process and the drop off process. Teach them about the benefits of your service department and the conveniences like complementary loaner vehicles, car washes, service department amenities etc.
  4. At this time, the service advisor can also schedule the client’s first appointment with him or her. Some high performance vehicles require a break-in service at less than 2,000 miles giving a perfect opportunity for that pre-appointment. Most vehicles now a days have a six month or 6,000 mile interval. If that is the case, they will be pre-appointed six months in advance. Not to mention the fact, when the client returns for their appointment, they will see a familiar face in service. The advisor will then end the presentation, congratulating the client on their vehicle purchase and handing the client back over to the sales associate to finish the new car delivery.

  By following this procedure, this will strongly and positively impact not only the future relationship with the client but also the internal relationship between sales and service. As dealership personnel, we know how tense the sales/service department relationship can be. So why not work together as a team, overcome the hurdles and make a happy client in the process. It’s a win win situation.

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