As life eases back to some kind of normal, many of us are catching up with jobs we’ve not been allowed to do — or simply put off — for too long. Things like getting the dog groomed, nervously opening up for the dental hygienist or an OMG-we’re-actually-going-on-holiday last-minute car service...
According to this survey taken between lockdowns in September, around 12 million people put off servicing their cars, and many of those will be wanting to catch up before hitting the roads again.
That’s great news for service centres, but it might just be worth doing a (metaphorical) temperature check to see how your service advisors are doing.
Aw, they’re just glad to be back aren’t they? Look at their happy faces 🙂
Yes, of course. It’s great to be back, and it’s wonderful to be busy. And they might just be holding back from letting you know they’re stressed to the eyeballs because frankly, they’re grateful to have a job.
So what's up then?
Well for starters, they’re having to handle more calls, know more, be everywhere at once, and deal with angry customers who are also stressed to the eyeballs and need their car sorted last week even though they only brought it in this morning.
It might also be that lockdown showed them a slower pace of life, one that allowed them to reconnect with the kids, discover the local park and so on. Or alternatively, they’ve had a horrible time of it and are currently dealing with the effects of long COVID, or grief.
Whatever’s going on in their lives, and however chirpy they’re looking, there’s a lot responsible employers can do to reduce the pressure on staff — and that can also have a positive impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty, and downstream sales.
Step 1: reduce calls
A quick win for relieving stress is to stop incessant sound of phones ringing. You could just take them off the hook and make a cup of tea I suppose, but that would only bring temporary relief and even angrier customers.
No. The way to reduce the number of incoming calls is to push information out to customers proactively. And if you want to avoid simply replacing incoming calls with outgoing ones, we’d advise an automated approach — sending timely messages for the bulk of your customer communications and saving the phone calls for those really difficult conversations about expensive repairs or letting a customer know you’ve done everything you can for their pride and joy.
Our research showed that customers are ready to communicate digitally with their dealerships, so you don’t need to worry about them missing out on the personal touch.
The challenges of using social media to talk to customers
Step 2: reduce the information burden
Another benefit of automation is that you can reduce the amount of information that advisors need to keep in their heads — or close at hand. Things like service and MOT reminders can be automated, as can downstream sales for consumables like engine oil, screen wash and so on.
This allows your service advisors to free their minds (and desks) of details that ultimately, aren’t earth shattering, and focus on the things that really are important — like delivering great service that brings profitable bookings in.
Fewer post-it notes, less stress.
Step 3: turn customers’ frowns upside down
If you get steps 2 and 3 right, don’t be surprised if step 3 falls into place somewhat. When you set their expectations, give them regular updates and deliver on your promises, there’s not a whole lot for customers to get angry about. If they still do, your service advisors, freed from the daily grind, will be available and in the right frame of mind to help them.
And with that, what started out as giving your advisors some much-needed support has turned into a vehicle for improved NPS scores — and a welcome boost for your brand.
If you’re ready to start making life better for your service advisors, take a look at CustomerLounge. And while you’re at it, why not take a look at our latest research paper, Dealership Customer Engagement Report 2021, to see what’s really important to service customers right now?