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How Does Your Shop Handle Phone Customers?

SWITCHBOARDWe’ve talked a number of times before about how to make your auto repair shop more inviting and customer friendly, including creating a better atmosphere and increasing walk-in traffic. People are very influenced by their first impressions, and if you want your marketing dollars and strategy to turn new faces into loyal customers, it’s important to make the right one. Your shop should also be focusing on the way your employees and service advisors interact with customers over the phone.

The fact is, most large cities have many auto shops. Finding a way to stand out among your competition is the game all auto repair shop owners have to commit to playing well. Customers will automatically rule out some of the shops they come up with either in their Google searches or the old-fashioned Yellow Pages by location, the appeal of their marketing, familiarity, reviews or word of mouth, or other factors. After they’ve winnowed the list down to a handful of names, they will take the next logical step: they’ll pick up the phone. This is where your shop’s focus on customer service and procedure follow will create or turn away a new customer.

What does your shop need to do to upgrade its telephone customer service then?

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Implement a procedure – You do not want your employees to freewheel it on the phone. Craft a friendly and respectful greeting as well as some sample responses to questions, and make sure your employees know and use it. Many of the questions will be predictable so it’s wise to write sample scripts and give them to employees during their training or orientation period.

Record phone conversations – Employees are much more likely to follow procedures if they know that they will be held accountable for these interactions – for the good or bad. If you have recorded interactions, they can be used for training, for feedback on what to repeat or avoid with customers, and as the basis for raises or corrections.

Use the same proactive sales strategies that you would use in person – Whether this means offering discounts, following up on promising calls, or pointing out specifics on how your shop beats the competition either in price or other ways, every phone conversation holds the potential for sales. Make sure your staff knows that.

The goal for telephone customer service is not to answer questions, it’s to convert those questions into actual customers who will drive their vehicles to your auto shop for service or repairs. Make sure to communicate this to all of your employees because marketing and customer service work together. When they do not your shop will lose sales.