Like the old Rolling Stones song says “and I try and I try and I try”… Powersports customers should be easy to satisfy! Most are enthusiastic and they are excited and motivated to spend money on their “toys.” However, a recent JD Powers survey showed that 21 percent of powersports customers are not feeling satisfied. If you think that doesn’t sound too bad, do the math. Our service department writes around 400 repair orders a month. That would translate to 84 unsatisfied customers, or a whopping 1,008 per year! To make matters worse, most customers won’t tell you they are unsatisfied. They just never come back. And although they won’t tell you, they will be more than happy to tell their friends and anyone who asks that they were unsatisfied with your dealership.
Even without all the scary statistics, I’m sure all of us want our customers to be satisfied; the problem is what we perceive as “satisfied.” Is it enough to get a repair completed on time and within the estimate we gave? If we think of it from the perspective of our personal lives, we may have a different view. When you go out to eat with your buddies after a day of riding you might pop into a local fast food joint and grab a hamburger and fries. After you eat, you’re full, and if someone asks, you would probably say you were satisfied. But if you’re on a special date with your significant other at an upscale restaurant and they brought you that same burger and fries, do you think you would say you were satisfied after that meal? Probably not. Well as a powersports dealership, we are the fine dining of the service facilities and we need to provide a much more satisfying experience than some guy repairing motorcycles in his garage.
There are many aspects to providing the type of service needed to ensure customers satisfaction. I can’t cover them all but here are a few important ones. First, second and third things are communication, communication and communication. It is so important that we listen to our customers, understand what they need and verify with them that you understand and hear what they have said correctly. After your initial contact make sure you are keeping them informed of the repair process. One great way to do this is to agree with the customer when you will update them and follow through with that communication. Remember your customer should never have to call you after the initial write up. Notify them of each step along the way and upon completion and schedule a pick up time.
Second, (or fourth), build a relationship with the customer. Know their needs, their usage and their expectations. Then you can discuss with them how you can meet those needs and get them excited about the repair process and your dealership. Using empathy is a great way to build this relationship, let the customer know you understand what it is like to walk in their shoes. Powersports customers love to hang out with their friends and talk about their machines. Be that friend! Not only does this makes your work a lot more fun, it makes the customer feel at ease and glad to do business with your dealership.
A final item to focus on is unit delivery. This is your last chance to make sure your customer is satisfied with your dealership. Don’t rush through this process. You gave the customer a lot of attention building his/ her trust now make sure they know how important their business is to you. Make sure the repair was completed correctly. There is a chance that despite your best efforts the repair was not what the customer told you they wanted done. Make sure the unit is clean. The customer can’t see what the mechanic did inside his motor but a greasy handprint can make him feel the repair was substandard. Go over the repair order and tech notes making sure the customer understands what they are paying for. And don’t forget to thank the customer for choosing your dealership. You may want to give them a couple of extra cards and ask them to refer a friend. Let them know you are excited for them and glad they can get back to enjoying their machine. Hopefully these tips can help us ensure all of our customer get some satisfaction!
Jackson Smith is the parts and service manager at Destination Powersports, a multi-line OEM dealership located in S.W. Florida. Jackson has over 30 years experience in both the automotive and powersports industries.