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stowintegrity

Does your company employ a regimented service/followup program?

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If we took the time to share the details of our business processes, I think we'd see that there are a lot simiarities. However, I'm also convinced that our "step-by-step" processes contain some stark differences, because we all do things that we think are in our own best interest, so policy & procedures are put in place where it makes sense for us individually.

 

What does your service & followup program look like? Do you have a documented process for greeting & taking care of your customers? What does it look like? What things do you do in this regard that show you the results you want?

 

At our shop, we are continually trying to document our processes. We like our service staff to answer the phone a particular way because they quickly learn the difference it makes to our customers. Our technicians are told from the beginning that no conversations can be had with the front office about any service/repair concern unless they have the job ticket in their hand, and they've already (in shorthand) documented the problem they uncovered that needs addressed. Furthermore, no one in our company is allowed to refer to the car or the service when bringing up issues with the repair. We refer to "MR. SMITH'S" concerns, not the "WATER PUMP JOB", or the "FORD TAURUS". A small tweak...but one that has made an incredible difference in our operation, and especially in the lives of our customers.

 

These are only a handful of small things we find important, that we think make a difference. I'm hoping some of you will share a brief description of the greeting, service, and followup process you use in your shop. Maybe we're doing something that makes sense to one of you, and you can find it helpful. Maybe there's something one of you are doing that makes sense to us, and can help us.

 

So how aggressive are you in contacting or communicating service proposals with your prospects? What are you doing "in-house" that's making an incredible difference in your business?

 

Just one man's hopeful request.

Edited by stowintegrity

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We just implemented follow up. I admit I was afraid to do it earlier because I thought I would just be opening the door to more problems. Boy was I wrong. Customer really appreciate hearing from us after the repair. It has even started to generate more sales. I wish I had done it years ago. When the customer picks up the car a copy of the invoice goes into a daily folder. After one week goes by that folder gets called.

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Contacting customers about a week after the sale is best. Normally if you fixed their car right they won't call you so by calling them its normally a pleasant call. "Hi, just calling to thank you again for busibess and see how those tires are working out, any concerns?" is enough to solidify your relationship. I'm guilty of NOT doing it enough, but its just because I'm short handed. Sometimes they will have a concern and if you don't call you just won't see them ever again.

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We also always feel shorthanded but I just made it one of the service writers tasks like making the coffee in the mornings. It's the last thing he does each night before he goes home

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One of our service advisors made a suggestion recently that has really paid off. On Monday mornings, we used to print out a list of all the customers that came to us the previous week, and just "fit in" the phone calls a few at a time, when we could, leaving messages if they didn't pick up. Once we were through the list, we shredded it, and then fielded any return calls that happened to come through.

 

My advisor said that he's been tracking our contact ratio. That is, he said he though it was sad that we weren't really reaching that many people using this method. (I think the number was as low as 8%). All the rest didn't answer, or we left messages and THEN they never responded.

 

The last couple of weeks, all on their own, my service staff changed the program, tracking their new results. On Monday, they print the list, split it between all of them (There are 3), and vowed thhey would call EVERYONE on their list that day, but not leave any messages at all. The customers they reached, they noted the result of the call, including any comments they felt were inportant. On Tuesday, they did it again, and called ALL the remaining numbers, still not leaving any messages. On Wednesday, they did it the same way, STILL not leaving messages.

 

On Thursday, they called again, leaving a short message about how we'd been trying to reach them, and that we only wanted to make sure their experience was pleasant, and that they were staisfied with the quality of the service they received.

 

On Friday, however, they then sent a short text message (copy/paste worked well) that just said, "Thank you SO much for choosing us. Sorry if we bothered you by calling, but it's just that we really want you to know how much your business means to us."

 

The contact ratio for the 2 weeks they did this was 68%. We connected with 68% of the people we served, and got valuable feedback in the process. Of course, people were largely more apt to text us back than to call...but we're counting that as engagement, especially since the result was so positive.

 

Any thoughts?

Edited by stowintegrity
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Stow, since you saw more engagement with your test method, what was the actual feedback that you got? We're people just too busy? We're they not happy but didn't want to hurt your feelings? Did they hate you? Do they not like picking up phone calls?

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Mspec,

Not at all. The most revealing truth is that there were very little reports of "emotion" like you suggest. What we learned was that people (just like you and I) are just wrapped up in their own things, and we have to be reminded that as excited as WE are to be making the calls & offering the service, that they are just not as excited about it all, which is ok.

 

I'm not trying to get people as interested in our work as we are, and if they only "care about stopping the squeaking noise" or whatever their issue was, well....if you did that for them, that's just what was expected. Our followup calls only served to plant a seed in their mind that we care.

 

My favorite notion is when an average patron of mind finds themselves lost and wandering into one of my competitors......NOW they'll see the difference, and when they do, they'll be wondering why THEY didn't follow up with them or make all the extra little effort...

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Good point stow, my thoughts exactly. I was just wondering what kind of responses you were getting.

Our "engagement" jumped almost immediately from 8-10% to more than 65%. That is, we made actual contact with a much larger percentage of people, and they responded by engaging us with a response such as a phone call, scheduling a future, recommended service, an email, posting a review, or even a text message.

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I have tried to do this several times. Both times I have tried the people in charge of this process decide they don't want to do it. Of course, we are so short handed it isn't something that I push all that hard. I need to get it implemented. I have wondered if we would get better response or feedback if it was done by someone else?

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I have tried to do this several times. Both times I have tried the people in charge of this process decide they don't want to do it. Of course, we are so short handed it isn't something that I push all that hard. I need to get it implemented. I have wondered if we would get better response or feedback if it was done by someone else?

 

 

The follow up should always be done by your staff and preferably aways done by the service advisor who was taking care of them IMO

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I have tried to do this several times. Both times I have tried the people in charge of this process decide they don't want to do it. Of course, we are so short handed it isn't something that I push all that hard. I need to get it implemented. I have wondered if we would get better response or feedback if it was done by someone else?

 

Earlier in the company's history, when our staff was more of a skeleton crew, we implemented the use of "outside" phone reps. One great source of this kind of person is the wife, Aunt, or grandmother of an existing employee. In both cases, we invited them in, gave them a desk, and after some basic training, gave them the script, and let them practice a few times until they were comfortable with the language.

 

The important thing to keep in mind is that the person calling only need be a warm, caring voice...not a mechanic, nor someone who is intimately acquainted with the previous wervice performed on the car.

 

My mother made calls for us for a good while. It was nice having her in the store, she was happy to sip tea, and "work the list", and soon grew accustomed to how to handle just about any response she received from someone without the anxiety of not knowing "car repair stuff". Any call that resulted in a customer requesting future service, or requested a comeback visit to address a concern they had ONLY needed to know that the nice lady on the phone was kind enough to have called, and put in a request for one of the service writers to post their concerns on our schedule, and would furthermore csall them back to confirm the details/appt.

 

Mom's not with us anymore.

 

I mean...she's alive, and still loves her son's twisted humor, but she's not making calls anymore. She was awesome, but once the number of call lists began to grow, we REALLY needed someone "in-house" who knew much more about the nature of the services we offered.

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Just curious if others have had success with follow up e-mails/texts?

 

Just asking as it seems like it would be a good stop gap until we can be more efficient to implement physical phone calls.

 

Thanks!

AJ

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...and after some basic training, gave them the script, and let them practice a few times until they were comfortable with the language.

 

I, for one, would be interested in seeing a copy of the script you use by which to make follow-up calls.

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Just curious if others have had success with follow up e-mails/texts?

 

Just asking as it seems like it would be a good stop gap until we can be more efficient to implement physical phone calls.

 

Thanks!

AJ

 

Hi AJ!

 

Followup emails texts outta be used as a last resort. Don't be tempted to eliminate the human interaction altogether - make it a part of the process...the FIRST part of the process.

Since we implemented this procedure, our customer engagement has increased to as much as 83%. Consider that for a moment:

 

We actually connect with 83% of the people we serve within a week (or so) of their service at our shop. This is how we measure that number:

 

We engage, or connect with those individuals by certifying that we:

 

1. Spoke to them directly on the phone after service to make sure everything was ok.

2. They responded to a text we sent them on the last day of the cycle (our last resort)

3. They responded to an email that was sent out to them asking them to rate their service experience with us (a parallel effort)

4. They stopped in to our shop for another purpose, or sometimes, just to say thanks. (It involves cookies sometimes...)

 

That equates to personally guaranteeing that we heard from 41 out of 50 people we might see in a week, and they either told us how great we were, that they were just "satisfied" that we did alright, or that they revealed somehow we could improve, which of course, set a WHOLE OTHER marketing process into motion.

 

If your marketing & promotional program is underfunded to say the least, I would implement a process like this FIRST, before worrying about how to get more folks in the door.

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