We all know from personal experience that how we are dealt with as customers can really affect a number of things, how we interact with a brand, our likelihood to recommend the brand, and ultimately our brand loyalty. That’s why excellent customer care is crucial to the smooth running of your business.
We have a dedicated customer service team here at Spidersnet that work hard to deal with all the requests our customers send our way, and we are proud of the levels that we maintain…
“Our customers are at the heart of what we do, we promise an honest approach with no jargon! You can trust us to deliver expert, reputable service from website specialists with over 20 years of industry-leading experience. We look after each of our customer websites as if they were our own and provide ongoing support to help you edit your website as little or as often as you would like, our team is here to help”
Amanda Rogers, Head of Client Services
We understand the importance of customer care and want to ensure that our dealers are also taking it very seriously. We’re sure you already appreciate how vital customer care is, but this guide might give you some other ideas to help you improve your customer service further!
Why is customer service so important?
In this day and age, it’s vital that motor dealers are doing all they can to ensure that their customer care levels are as high as possible. Research by Deloitte’s found that customer experience is three times more important than the look of the vehicle in their purchasing decision.
The RAC also carried out research around customer service. They surveyed over 1,500 motorists and found that one in three wouldn’t go back to the same used car dealer in the future due to poor customer service.
The poll itself showed that half of the consumers have had a problem with a car that they have bought from a dealership. A further third said that the dealer in question hadn’t done well at putting the issue right.
As we all know, poor service is far more talked about than good service, and seeing as a lot of dealers benefit from word-of-mouth recommendations, good customer service is absolutely essential and should never be overlooked. In fact, just to reiterate this point, the RAC survey also showed that one in three car owners have actively told people not to use a particular dealer after a poor experience with them.
“82% of customers have left a company because of a bad customer service experience.”
As well as word-of-mouth, dealerships need to be aware that disgruntled customers now have a plethora of avenues down which they can vent their displeasure. There are plenty of online review websites, as well as Google reviews, all of which can damage your dealership’s reputation. Not only this, but social media is also a minefield for unprofessional dealers. Angry customers can say whatever they want on Facebook and Twitter for all the world to see.
For all of these reasons, and plenty more, it’s vital that your dealership offers a fantastic service, acts professionally at all times, and takes great care of its customers.
Get everyone on board
In order to ensure that you have a culture of good customer service running through your business, you need to ensure that you have all of your staff on board. This means that all of your sales and admin staff are all working towards ensuring that your customers’ needs are always catered for. This should also filter through to your servicing and mechanic staff, if you have them at your dealership. If everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, then good customer care will become the norm.
When putting your team together or hiring new employees, you should always be thinking about customer service. If the role involves dealing face-to-face with customers, then does this person have the personal skills required for the job? If you employ friendly, warm and empathetic people, then they will be able to cater for your customers’ needs most of the time.
Value your staff
When instilling a company-wide customer care policy, it’s vital that you are training all of your staff to understand exactly what levels are required of them. However, you need to do more than just train your staff. They should feel valued themselves. Your staff should feel like they are an important player in your team. If they feel this way, and get praise when they are doing a good job, then they will no doubt be more positive when dealing with customers.
If you’re getting great feedback from customers about your staff then you can always ask the customer to write a nice review on your Google page, or on social media. There’s no harm in asking and online reviews can be vital. Not only do they help in bringing in new customers, but they also help with search engine optimisation.
“The role of staff in your customer care is paramount. You have to engage members of staff in the customer care process. Ask them for their ideas. Make sure they are fully empowered to act if there’s a complaint.”
The Marketing Donut
Be sure to reward members of staff who do lead to great reviews being posted. This will incentivise them, and other members to try and achieve consistently high levels of customer care.
Listen to your customers
One great way to ensure that you are offering good customer service is by listening to what people have to say. By taking time out to listen to feedback, you can get a good idea of the level of customer service you are currently offering. You may feel that you’re doing a great job, however, your customers may feel otherwise. Here are a few ways in which you can find out what your customers think of your service…
If you want to know what your customers think of your business, ask them. It really is as simple as that. Why not make it company policy to contact all of your customers a week or so after they have purchased a car from you? You could create a customer feedback form with plenty of questions for them to answer. This is a great way to get direct feedback on how you are doing.
If a customer is unhappy with specific aspects of your dealership’s service, then they can tell you exactly what’s wrong. It may just be a one off, but if you send these feedback forms out often and get a lot of the same comments, then you know that something needs to change.
If you get good feedback, make sure you ask the customer if they wouldn’t mind writing a nice review on your Google page or an online review site? The value of positive online reviews should never be underestimated.
Be proactive and make changes where required
If you do get negative feedback, and it is clear that you have a problem, it is very important that you don’t ignore what your customers are saying. It may be hard for you to put yourself in their shoes, and you may feel that the levels of service you are offering are acceptable, but if you are getting regular negative feedback, you must make a change to ensure that you improve your service.
The longer you stand by and do nothing, the more customers will come and go having received the same unacceptable levels of service. We would advise that you respond to those customers who have complained and apologise to them, thanking them for their feedback. That way, once you have implemented change to combat what they have said, you can contact them again to inform them of your changes. This shows these customers, who may think poorly of your dealership, that you do care about their feedback and proves that you are a serious, professional business.
Respond to complaints online
When asking for feedback from former customers, it’s easy to respond to their complaints. However, one thing that you also need to keep an eye out for is complaints from your current customers. You need to be monitoring your social channels, your Google My Business profile, and other online review centres, keeping an eye out for complaints about your service. And if you do see these, it is vital that you respond in a timely and professional manner.
“It is extremely important that you respond to complaints on twitter in a timely and professional manner. Don’t leave them unattended too, as people will be able to see you ignoring them!”
Adam Rowden – Spidersnet
Negative comments online should always be dealt with quickly because they are there for all to see from the moment they have been posted. You should always remain calm, when responding and try and get to the root of their complaint. If you can sort out the issue and leave the customer thanking you for responding, then you will improve your dealership’s reputation online greatly.
So, there you have it. A brief run-down of how important we feel customer service is to car dealerships. If you are a professional outfit, then we are sure that you are already aware of this. But hopefully this guide has been of some use to you and has highlighted some other things that you might not have thought of.
Here are a few notes to take away with you.
- Be sure to ask your customers for feedback – perhaps send them a questionnaire a week after they’ve purchased a car from you.
- Don’t ignore any negative feedback you might get from customers. Take it on board and use it to implement positive change.
- If you do receive postitive feedback from customers, be sure to ask them to leave a nice review on your Good profile page.