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4 Ways to Engage with Waiters in Service

Engage with your service customers in the waiting room.
Article Highlights:

  • Dealership waiting rooms should not resemble a dentist's office.
  • With the right technology, you can engage with waiting customers.

People hate waiting. With overnight shipping, fast food, and quick lube centers, customers expect results in a hurry. Yet, they come to your service department only to sit in boredom while waiting for their vehicle. Take advantage of that time. Engage with them. You spend so much money to get them there – don’t let them go unnoticed.

Waiting service customers often have untapped potential, whether that be in terms of future purchases or post-warranty repairs, and you need to keep them interested in coming back. If you were a customer, would you be willing to tweet about or ‘like’ your service visit? If not, it may be time to upgrade your experience. Some things you can do:

Make Your Space Cozy
Dealership waiting rooms should not resemble a dentist’s office – sterile and bland. Moreover, sitting on hard plastic chairs while sipping day-old coffee and reading a magazine from 2019 doesn’t offer comfort. Impress your customers with custom fixtures, plush couches, dedicated work/play areas, free Wi-Fi, HDTVs, and fresh snacks. Some dealerships have gone as far as implementing a full-service Starbucks in their lounge.

Enhance With Technology
If you’re still handwriting ROs or inspection sheets, it’s time to move on. Customers appreciate technology and need to stay ‘plugged in’ to their lives at all times. Allow customers to check-in on their phone using a QR code in-store to speed up the check-in process. Implement tablet technology to speed up the RO write-up. Allow customers to approve recommended work right from their mobile device. Keep customers updated with a digital status board which displays the progress of their vehicles in service. Offer customers the convenience of scheduling appointments online through your website. Send customers statements to view and pay electronically. All of these options increase customer satisfaction, retention, and efficiency.

Give Personal Attention
You may be missing repeat customers. It’s evident by the overwhelming population of customers who choose to do repairs at commercial chains. Stop them from defecting to your competition. Review your list of waiters daily so you can get to know your customers. Prepare for conversations by adding notes to the customer profile. Equity mining tools can help you navigate potential service leads to see who might be ready for a new car. RFID technology can help greet your customers when they arrive in the drive and send notifications to your staff for personal follow-up. Make the experience matter every time, and your customers will appreciate it.

Push Your Brand
It’s easy to forget about continually promoting your dealership, but you’re not “just another shop down the street.” Dealerships that succeed constantly remind customers about their unique features, friendly staff, great specials, and their community presence. Consider giving tours of your dealership to waiting customers to heighten their connection with your brand. Maybe even offer a test drive of the newest model. These easy-to-implement promotions can help drive sales and retention.

In the end, it’s all about going above and beyond for your customers. Consider having the owner or general manager meet and greet customers in for service. A few minutes with an owner or GM who shows they care about their service customers can increase loyalty and make customers feel highly valued. If you focus on the customer, cater to their experience, and implement the right technology, you’ll be on the path towards more profits in service. If all else fails, consider putting pumpkin spice lattes on your menu…

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jeff Adams is a Product Planning manager for Service applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.

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