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mspecperformance

Communication is a lost art

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I wonder if you guys experience this... I would say 8/10 people that call the shop have such a hard time carrying on a simple conversation. It is understood their guard is up. They are testing the waters, asking questions to feel you out I get all of that. What I don't understand is the awkwardness of how people speak and their tonality.

 

"Yeah... uhhh... I need to uhhh... bring my car in today... uhhhh I got a check engine light... uhhh P1234 code"

 

"So you uhhh... can't just check it like... uhhh real quick?????"

 

 

Then I get apprehensiveness when it comes to asking for name/number/e-mail for my scheduler. Its like everyone is a criminal and doesn't want to give out their personal information. SO STRANGE!

 

 

Do you guys experience the same thing? Or is it just people that grow up here in the jungle??? I just don't get it...

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I get it occasionally, "why do you need my address?" In case I forget my tools under your hood.

 

But seriously, the first person the customer talks to needs to take control of the situation. Get the keys, get the info, explain what's going to happen. They will fall in line and understand unless their profession is engineer.

Edited by alfredauto
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I get it occasionally, "why do you need my address?" In case I forget my tools under your hood.

 

But seriously, the first person the customer talks to needs to take control of the situation. Get the keys, get the info, explain what's going to happen. They will fall in line and understand unless their profession is engineer.

 

 

Engineer or friggen helicopter pilot. I was telling a guy about how his throttle body gasket was cracked on his turbo subaru ( I am normally really good about explaining things so a 5 year old would understand) and it was causing a poor running condition. He just looked at me and cocked his head to the side, then my transmission rebuilder came in with stoichiometric efficiency is compromised due to the infectiveness of his throttle body gasket and he goes oh I see.

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Maybe its a regional thing. The thing is the south seems to be it takes so long to get the essential information. Everyone has a story to tell, and they wander off point with something else, then back to the situation, but so slowly! Meanwhile the phone will not stop, parts are being delivered, it feels like some of these folks are poking along at 5 mph on the freeway of life.

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People are hesitant because they don't want to feel as if they obligated themselves into a verbal contract with you for service. They are probably gathering information on pricing, warranty, procedure etc... to make an informed decision as a consumer.

 

I do the same thing when I am shopping services. When I had my parking lot installed I would have made a major financial mistake just calling the first few companies I found in the phone book.

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People are hesitant because they don't want to feel as if they obligated themselves into a verbal contract with you for service. They are probably gathering information on pricing, warranty, procedure etc... to make an informed decision as a consumer.

 

I do the same thing when I am shopping services. When I had my parking lot installed I would have made a major financial mistake just calling the first few companies I found in the phone book.

no they just want free diags and trust me, the dumbing down of America is real. You see it everyday. Problem is we just beat around the bush. I tell it like it is. I weed out the dead beats fast that way. You get some idiot that goes ummmm all the time, its time to end the call. Good luck, you guys will figure it out soon enough.

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Had one today "I need some air I know my rim is bent so just put some air in real quick". No problem sir, we'll put it on the lift in a few minutes and fix your rim, it will cost about $20. "Can't I just get some air?". No, its a waste of time for both of us, would you like us to fix it?

 

This one turned out well, his steel wheel was bent, but the screw in the tire was causing the leak. We fixed his leak, straightened out the rim, and gained a customer. He was happily surprised that I didn't charge him for the tire patch seeing I had the tire off anyway to fix the rim. He also learned that his dash was wrong about which tire needed repair.

 

The ones that just want free leave before the car gets on the lift, we let the other guys get used for free. " oh you are going to charge me?" Yes sir.

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My brother was asking a customer about a problem on his vehicle the other day, and he said after he asked the question the guy just stood there for like 30 seconds staring at him. My brother finally said, "did you understand what I'm asking?". The guy paused another few seconds and then responded, "dude, I'm going to be honest with you, I really have to use the bathroom and I think that it's hindering my thinking". My bro responded, "by all means go use the restroom". :-P I think he may have been a little high too.

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It's understandable these days that some percentage of your marketplace will be hesitant when you start asking for what they may consider "personal" data. In addition to using the correct tone & matching their enthusiasm, it's important to remember these two things as well:

1. Timing is EVERYTHING. We've found that there is significantly less hesitation if we ask the right questions at the right time, and then never forget that when it all comes down to it, some aspects of how we do business is really just important to US, not our customers. For example, having a touch of OCD, I like to make sure that by the time we're invoicing out a customer at our counter, that ALL of the contact data our system collects has been entered, and if it's a repeat customer, that we've made an attempt to update it & confirm that nothing has changed. Let's face it, the invoice just looks so much more "balanced" when all the info is there, right? ;) A new customer making an appointment for the first time, whether in person or over the phone, is only required to give us their first/last name, phone number, and their best guess as to what kind of car they drive. We never ask for anything else at that point, because let's face it....you don't need to know anything else yet. By the time the car is there, and we discover after decoding the VIN that it's a 2003 PT Cruiser, not a 1999 Chevy Impala as they thought, we better have had the chance to begin building a rapport with them, which brings me to my second piece of advice.

2. Never forget that it's a PERSON you hope to servce, NOT a car. As shop owners, we need to teach everyone on our staff to stop thinking like a mechanic/technician...at least to a small degree. If you answered the phone or greeted a new friend correctly in your lobby, and followed through by offering genuine sincereity in regards to the laundry list of issues they describe, an amazing thing happens. They actually start liking you, right off the bat. Anyone involved in guerilla marketing knows that they NEED to know & like you WELL before they will trust you & your staff. Offer them a cup of coffee, grab a notepad, and for Pete's sake, come out from behind the desk to meet them coming in the office. Sit down & discuss their concerns, listen attentively, then make sure that whatever their primary concerns are that you are blatant about telling them, "Mr. Smith - I see why you're concerned. I'm sorry it's been a real headache for you up until now, but the good news is that you're in the right place. Enjoy a cup of coffee, and relax. We'll get your inspection completed in no time, and before any other service is done, we'll make sure you have all the facts, and have a chance to ask questions before we begin. Can I have your keys, please?"

 

Now...the amazing thing happens...

 

A technician, either standing by, waiting for "the gentleman to arrive, or called in by the advisor, takes the keys and the printed work order, and smiling at our new friends, says, "You must be Mr. Smith! Hi, sir, I'm John - I'm gonna work hard to get you all the information you need, and I'll be back in xx minutes with what I've found. Thanks for coming in!"

 

Now...the service advisor steps in, and says, (in true Peter Falk (Columbo) fashion, with hand to forehead), I almst forgot, Mr. Smith...can I get some basic information from you real quick, while we're waiting?"

 

At that point, I think you'll find that Mr. Smith won't hesitate to tell his new professional friends exactly what they need to know to make sure they are best able to take care of him now, and in the future. Name, Phone, Address....and yes....Email address.

 

Just one man's opinion

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To help your guys, the mindset can be "if they won't give the full information, they will likely not be the consumer we're looking for." I've met allot of rebuttals from staff and other business owners but I've also worked for some of the best sales companies in the world and they consistently prioritize profile creation/updating at the top and it only makes sense. You may lose some folks but you win the great majority of extra time that can be spent creating and maintaining customers that are interested in the relationship, not just the transaction.

 

Also, one of the best sales tools I've ever encountered is recording a phone conversation and letting the employee listen to himself and critique himself on his phone conduct.

 

Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk

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If you can get your customer to laugh it really helps. Say a new guy comes in asking for a headlight. You know the drill " I couldn't get it out I don't know what to do" No problem throw the keys on the counter we'll get right on it, I've got some tricks. I'll go out to the shop grab my 4' pry bar and the sledge hammer, or my chop saw, or something equally large and destructive and i'll come back in the office with my "tools" and get the keys. With the customer staring out the window in horror of what I'm about to do I throw the tools in my pickup and pull their car in. Lol.

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If you can get your customer to laugh it really helps.

I have also found this to be true , even if it is a stupid dry sense of humor you use on them. The other thing I have notices is if you match the way they approach you . If they come to you rude and some what demanding I am the same way to them, for some reason it tends to get them to listen and understand. I have also found that the easiest way to get rid of a customer that is totally wrong and wants to basically get you to do something for free or the wrong way is to kill them with kindness especially if they are upset about something because they don't understand or think they are right..

I had a (Dr.) (don't know what they had their doctorate in but they made sure to put Dr. in big bold print in front of their name) get a state safety inspection from me the other day. Needless to say the older car failed for wiper blades, two motor mounts , an inner tie rod , left brake light and the 3rd brake light which was totally missing off the car. ( 2005 pilot) She came back to me 2 days later and said she had gone to the DMV and motor mounts don't fail and that her wiper blades were fine and that her tie rod had been replaced about 3 months ago, she had the receipt and credit card bill to prove it. I told her that she was given a check sheet with what failed and the motor mounts are on the sheet and that is a state issued check sheet and she was miss informed by the DMV. Then she said her wiper are fine I told her they are not they need to clean the window in three sweeps up down up .. now I also told her I gave her the benefit of the doubt since I retried the wipers while I was driving 40 mph down the street and they still failed. At this point she is telling me I don't know what I am doing and shouldn't be doing inspections, I told her I have been doing them for 25 years and I don't do them for the station or to make money they are done for the state and are called a safety inspection for a reason they are all safety related items , if she had a problem she could contact the state trooper in fact I would be happy to call him for her myself she said no she would take care of that. Then she started in about her tie rod end . I explained to her she has 2 inner 2 outer tie rod ends and she may of had one of the other three replaced but the one I failed is bad and that it is loose and must be replaced. Once again I told her that if it breaks she could crash and kill herself since she would loose steering of the car. Her reply was 'that is not the point I had it replaced already" so I told her that is the point it is a safety inspection. now she is yelling at me of course I have not raised my voice once to her. I then told her look everything I fail must be repaired if she wants me to issue her an inspection certificate she then. stated she has been recording the whole conversation and I was going to be in big trouble she was calling the police. I smiled told her to have a nice day, try not to let this ruin your day she began to yell about her tie rod again at which point I said " I guess that third brake light is working properly as well " she looked at me as if she was going to cry. I asked if she wanted and estimate for the repairs she told me I would be arrested later once she calls the police I told her the conversation was now over and if she wanted I could call the police for her and that she had wasted enough of my time and have a nice day. I walked away and she tore off out of the parking lot. Not one time was I mean or loud, which made her angrier and angrier. I have not yet seen her back, but that is fine I did my job and was paid for the inspection and that is one customer I would rather not deal with in the future anyway.

Edited by skm
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This is meant strictly to amuse. Our primary business is auto repair and but we do towing as well so we get the 'winners', only at all hours of the night. Some examples.......

 

"What is your address, please ma'am/sir?"

My house.

Well, you go down the SEA MEANT road, then look for the cow with brown spots.

There isn't one. It's the house next to the one with the dog tied to the tree.

What do you need my address for?

 

And my all time favorite:

"Your driver was very insulting."

I'm sorry. Can you please tell me what happened?

He must think I'm stupid or something. Just because I'm a woman, probably.

Can you please tell me what happened? (by now I hear my driver on the speaker phone with my dispatcher, "You're not gonna believe this one......")

He's trying to tell my I have a nail in my tire and that that's the reason it went flat.

Sounds logical. Am I missing something here?

I can see the nail. But it's on the very top.

Ok......... Ma'am, I'm sorry but I'm failing to grasp what's wrong.

The nail is on the top (she almost added, "you stupid ass"). How can it be flat on the bottom if the nail is on top?!?

Me? SPEECHLESS.

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This is meant strictly to amuse. Our primary business is auto repair and but we do towing as well so we get the 'winners', only at all hours of the night. Some examples.......

 

"What is your address, please ma'am/sir?"

My house.

Well, you go down the SEA MEANT road, then look for the cow with brown spots.

There isn't one. It's the house next to the one with the dog tied to the tree.

What do you need my address for?

 

And my all time favorite:

"Your driver was very insulting."

I'm sorry. Can you please tell me what happened?

He must think I'm stupid or something. Just because I'm a woman, probably.

Can you please tell me what happened? (by now I hear my driver on the speaker phone with my dispatcher, "You're not gonna believe this one......")

He's trying to tell my I have a nail in my tire and that that's the reason it went flat.

Sounds logical. Am I missing something here?

I can see the nail. But it's on the very top.

Ok......... Ma'am, I'm sorry but I'm failing to grasp what's wrong.

The nail is on the top (she almost added, "you stupid ass"). How can it be flat on the bottom if the nail is on top?!?

Me? SPEECHLESS.

:P:P:P:P:P How drunk or high was she or was she just that ignorant?

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As my service manager likes to say, just because someone is "car ignorant" doesn't mean they're ignorant. However, when they bring that touch of arrogance to the party, look out!

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Not trying to jack this thread, but I was wondering what you guys do if someone asks for a ballpark figure. I don't quote prices over the phone at all, except for oil change range. So when they ask for a price I'll let them know that it could be one of many things and so we never know what exactly it is until we see it, etc... However, lately a few people has been asking me for "ballpark figures." Like, "but if it is an alternator (or anything else that autozone said it could be), what is a ballpark figure?" I'm not really sure how to answer that. Any help would be appreciated.

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Not trying to jack this thread, but I was wondering what you guys do if someone asks for a ballpark figure. I don't quote prices over the phone at all, except for oil change range. So when they ask for a price I'll let them know that it could be one of many things and so we never know what exactly it is until we see it, etc... However, lately a few people has been asking me for "ballpark figures." Like, "but if it is an alternator (or anything else that autozone said it could be), what is a ballpark figure?" I'm not really sure how to answer that. Any help would be appreciated.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a regular customer stop in. He's a sheetrocker. He told me his wife's car had the check engine light on. He wanted a "ballpark" price to fix it. I told him I'd need the car there to run diagnostics before I could give him a price. He said he understood I couldn't give an exact price, he was just looking for a rough estimate. I started changing the subject to sheetrock, as I have some in my home that needs finishing. Asked him for an estimate. He asked how many square feet. I said "blue". He figured it out and is bringing the car in for the estimate and coming to the house to bid on my sheet rock work.

 

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk

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All the time man. It's like social media and technology have made people walking, breathing, hollow shells. You don't know how many times I go through the detail of explaining something on a car, and the person is just looking at me blankly, like I'm speaking a foreign language. That's why I brought help onboard, because my mind is technical, and while I'm a very sociable, outgoing person, I struggle to "dumb down" if you will, things for ppl. Things that in my opinion don't need any dumbing down.

 

What is so hard about understanding that a TPMS has a built in battery that will eventually die? Yet people just can't seem to grasp that. My associate wrote service at the dealership for years. he has this knack of just getting through to people. Sometimes I watch him and laugh because the way he talks to some people, its like he is literally telling them. Look I know you're stupid, let me take care of you. lol

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OH boy does this stuff drive me crazy :(

Phone call goes like this:

THEM: I need a state inspection

ME: when can you bring it in?

THEM: when can you do it?

ME: its easier if YOU tell me what day you can get here, then I put you on the schedule, any day is open.

THEM: what day is available?

ME: any day for an inspection, that's why I asked what day is good for you.

THEM: well let me look on my calendar....................................................wait, wait, wait......................

ME: (thinking to myself) - you called for a job, why did you not look when you could get your car into the shop first!

THEM: so I'm out of town next week, (which happens to be the end of the month).

THEM: the state inspection will be expired when I will return.

ME: thinking - it sucks to be you, plan ahead next time & do I want you as a customer?

ME: so when can you bring the car in?

THEM: I need it today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ME: ah, its 3:30 pm now, I do not have any time left today, sorry.

THEM: Oh I will keep calling around.

ME: good luck, maybe we can help you out next time if you plan ahead but not today!

THEM: thanks

ME: after hanging up. WHY DO I DO THIS???????????????????????

why are other peoples lives so XXed up?? :D

 

Dave

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CUST. I need my snow tires changed

 

I have an appointment in an hour does that work

 

Cust. NO

 

Are you available tomorrow I can squeeze you in at any time but do need an appointment.

 

Cust. NO

 

Okay when are you available?

 

Cust. Im going to have to call you back im just to busy.

 

 

Your not the only one dave.

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Lol! Don't worry when its snowing that guy will be at your door in emergency mode.

 

The inspection emergencies are a joke. People make appointments either the last day of the month or the 1st if they are really cheap. Squeeze an extra day out of the $21 annual fee. I did the math, if they squeeze an extra day every year they will save $21 after 12 years if they keep their car that long, but they risk getting a $300 fine 12 times. Risk $300 to save $1.75. Poor odds. Additionally if the car fails with an expired sticker it gets scraped off, now their odds of getting a ticket are around 100%. And guess who is responsible when they are going to get a ticket? The scumbag mechanics, the a-hole inspector, or the shop owner!

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This is a hilarious topic. We deal with this from time to time but one thing that has been SUCH A GREAT TOOL is our Appt Request Form on our website. My bf was hesitant and was like "Are people really going to wanna fill it out"....trust me, some people prefer talking over the phone but in this digital age, a lot of people actually like email.

 

On our FB page, I set up the Call to Action button as a "Book Now" button which, when pressed, takes them straight to our website request appt form. So far, we get about 4-6 new entries a day. That's 4-6 phone calls that didnt have to distract us from other work....and now, we have their email and phone number stored in our emails so we dont have to write it down or look at the caller ID to find the number again. And also, the form gives us time to come up with the numbers, look at our schedule (lets customers pick their preferred days and times, etc. We LOVE it.

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Guy drives in..How much to put an axle in my Rav 4

me..I would guess around 250

Owner..thats kinda high.

me..I am guessing, 125 for an axle and 125 to install.

owner...you're a crook. I can buy the axle at AZ for 55 and you tube says it takes and hour

me..my repair includes warranty and a no charge road service

owner...I dont care, you mechanics are all crooks.

Me...GET OFF MY LOT NOW!!!

 

Dude looked at me like I had 3 heads. I really believe he thought I was gonna barter with him!

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Phone call: Can I get an estimate to replace a timing chain on a 2001 Jetta?

 

Me (I'm normally the person in the back and everyone is up to their elbows getting cars out for weekend, SA is helping lead tech on a strange case. I asked the SA to give me a ballpark, he said not enough info, so he coached me on a couple of things to say): Sir, it would be better for you to bring the car in so we can look at it.

 

Him: Well I'm buying the car and the guy says the only thing that is wrong with it is the timing chain.

 

Me: It is hard to give an estimate over the phone, it is better for us to look at the car so we get all of the information, just in case the chain has jumped and caused any other damage (the guys told me that, I'm NOT a mechanic). The estimate would be a ballpark figure, and the ballpark would be pretty big and wouldn't include anything else that may be damaged.

 

Him: I just want an estimate on replacing the timing chain!! (He's a little agitated.)

 

Me: Ok, (I sit in front of the SA computer and pull up ALLDATA) is the Jetta a GL, a GLS or a GLX?

 

Him: Uhhhhhhhhhh. I don't know. I guess you need to know that so you know what engine is in it. (He's sounding sheepish.)

 

Me: (in my head....BINGO!) Yes, we do. That is why it is better to bring the car in. And since you are purchasing the car, bring it in and we can do a Pre Purchase Inspection on it and check everything on it so there are no surprises if you purchase the car.

 

Him: I'll have to call you back with more information.

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