Rockanomics 101 says: You want to keep those fans coming to you and buying, like a song you never tire of because it’s so great.
Great customer service, no matter how many times it’s played, will always stand the test of time. It will give you the best chances for longevity, the best chances for profitability, and fans that keep returning time after time. New and returning customers: that’s the music you want to hear in your ears.
Over half of the consumers walking around today think that most businesses are impersonal. Too little communication, too much communication, or too-generic-to-trust communication fails to deliver, even with the best of intentions. They fail in that “we will rock you” attitude, fail in delivering more than what’s expected, fail in setting oneself apart from the rest, and fail in being sincere or personal. I’m not talking about discount coupons or the flavor of the week in the universe that is our dealerships. What we’re talking about here is doing it better than the rest, making your customers sit up and go, “Yeah! These folks get it; they rock!”
Keeping your fan base is a commitment to always staying in tune, adding some new hits and offering a generous sampling of what you’ve been playing that no one ever tires of. Where are you in your commitment? Where do you start in your dealership? How about making sure everyone’s in tune to start. Customer service rock stars don’t happen for the most part without great management and continual practice. After all, the more times we do something, the better we are at it.
I see very few dealerships that have any type of regular customer service training. If we take the time to make sure someone understands a new software program or an application that makes everything great, how about the same with how a customer should be treated? We take for granted that everyone knows how to behave and how to treat someone, and we shouldn’t. We can’t have everyone playing in different keys. It’s your band: you tell them what key and how you want the song played.
You will always introduce yourselves and ask that fan’s name if you don’t know him. Be polite; use his name when talking to him. Shake her hand and look her in the eyes. Smile; make them feel welcome, after all they came to see you, and the tickets you’re selling sometimes aren’t cheap. Follow up with your promises and commitments. Be gracious with your gratitude for their business now and in the future. Don’t take for granted that they understand this, tell them. Reinforcing your commitment to your customers will reinforce their commitment to you.
Generally, the first sale from any business will be the easiest to make and is deeply emotional for the customer. Initial expectations are met with the purchase of the product. It’s what you do after the sale that keeps you rocking.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be rewarded by your fans with continued support? You want continued support of your service department and parts department. You want multiple vehicle sales. You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder! Great service and sincere aftersales communication will give you the best chance of staying number one on the charts.
You should be calling your service customers after they pick up their vehicle, making sure expectations were met along with your thanks and offer of future assistance whenever it’s needed. You have already thanked them when they picked up their clean vehicle, because you washed it. Over-deliver on what a customer would expect.
Your parts department will increase sales if they take the time to call and thank the previous day’s customers for their business. It doesn’t take as long as the parts department folks want you to believe it will. Perhaps the guy that just bought a spark plug will buy his next new helmet or jacket from you instead of from your competition. And you’ve got more competition than just brick and mortar stores. If you special order something, make sure it’s there when promised or let them know if it’s not. What’s worse than expectations not met are surprises that they haven’t been met. Follow up on commitments made.
The sales department needs to remember that asking for the sale is not a crime, nor an invasion of privacy. They do not have crystal balls that tell them who is a buyer or who is not. The more they ask for the sale, the more they will sell. The less they ask, the less they will sell. It’s simple math. You can’t build a fan base by limiting who is being invited to the concert.
It can be a daunting task trying to do everything that needs to be done. Do you just believe you’re a rock star, or do your fans really know that you’re a rock star by how they’re being treated? We can market our businesses and communicate across the universe in so many ways: Personal contact, email, texting, or stamping a letter (“What’s that?” my kids say.) and letting the postal service deliver your message. Think about what it is you want to say, and let it be about more than just what currently is “kind of on sale.” Remember, you are part of the community and so are your fans. Let them know you understand this, you embrace it, and whatever your message is, let it be sincere.
Whatever you do and however you do it, in the end you want to leave your fans shouting, “Encore, encore, encore!"
Mark Mooney is director, retail performance for Pied Piper Management Company LLC, a Monterey, Calif., company that works with motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers to maximize performance of dealerships. One of Pied Piper’s most popular services for the powersports industry is Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) sales mystery shopping to help turn more motorcycle shoppers into motorcycle buyers.