Covid Customer Perspective

I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts I had as a result of seeing some customer feedback. My intention is that you explore a different perspective as it relates to customer interactions. I was fortunate enough in my current position as an OEM DPSM, to be sent customer survey comments that were filtered out for only Covid 19 related concerns. It was eye opening until I considered how customers felt coming into a dealership prior to a pandemic.

How often are customers excited to come into service? It usually means something is wrong and it’s a disruption to their day. It’s the fear of the unknown. How much is it going to cost and how long is it going to take? Even basic maintenance, would you agree customers would rather be somewhere else? All of this goes through the minds of our customers before they even set foot on our drive. Now add how the worries about Covid. With all of the unknowns still about the virus, it’s understandable for people to feel uncomfortable. Before I share what I read regarding Covid concerns during a service visit, let’s take a deeper look into how we performed the meet and greet with customers before.

 Before these customers were uncomfortable before they even had the chance for you to say hello. How often are customers greeted at their vehicles instead of being left to come to you? If we want our customers to feel more comfortable with us, we have to look at what, where and how they feel it. We are all comfortable in familiar places. Customers are more comfortable in their vehicles than at your desk. You are more comfortable at your desk than on the drive. Our goal should be to build relationships with our customers.

Every dealer has customers with whom they have built strong relationships. These customers buy more parts, services and vehicles than those without the strong connection. The customer Covid 19 feedback was very consistent in providing feedback to communicate their discomfort. Common themes include concern with employees not wearing masks, lack of social distancing in waiting rooms and showrooms, as well as not knowing what protocols the dealership has taken in regard to cleaning and disinfecting vehicles and the facilities. Knowing and considering the feedback is important as you look at how you interact with customers as safe, easy and profitable as possible. So how do we improve our relationships with customers and reduce their anxiety?

To initiate or build on the relationship you need to be the one who lights the match. Some people are blessed with personalities in which they have never met a stranger. We all know a couple of people like this, you may even be fortunate enough to be one. Most people are not. The majority of our existing relationships with customers are a result of their efforts, not ours. Having said that, when the ice is broken you will end up liking most people you encounter. Think of it like a first date. You and the other person were nervous, scared, excited and anxious. You knew very little of the other person. Someone had to start working to break the ice and get to know the other. Be the ice breaker. Is it fair to say most customers are greeted with something basic such as how can I help you or good morning? While that’s better than what do you want, can you say something different? Something that will make customers feel more comfortable. It doesn’t take any more time, but the impact can be huge. As it begins, so it goes. If your interaction starts out with sparks, it greatly increases the likelihood of developing a relationship with the customer and them leaving your dealership feeling good and wanting to come back. Please explore my site for additional resources on how to improve your customers experience and yours as well.

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