Make the connection
From greeting customers when they drop off their vehicle to explaining what repairs need to be done to their vehicle, communication is a key part of your daily activities. How you communicate with your customers can make or break your shop.
It’s not enough to be good at repairing vehicles; for your shop to flourish, you also need to be good at communicating with your customers. Effective communication can pay off handsomely, leading to increased sales, repeat business and referrals. Make sure that nothing gets lost in translation when speaking with your clients; check out these tips that can help you connect with your customers more efficiently.
When talking with a customer, be an active listener. Make eye contact and concentrate on what he or she is saying. Avoid the temptation to let your mind wander and think ahead to what your response will be.
Be in the moment and let yourself understand what your customer is telling you. React to what your customer is saying verbally or with non-verbal cues like a nod. Restate what the customer has told you to ensure that you fully understand what they’re saying. Customers will appreciate this engagement.
A major part of being an active listener is not interrupting your customers. Interrupting is extremely rude and a sign of disrespect. Even if you know the answer to your customer’s problem, resist the urge to interrupt. Let them complete their thought before responding.
We all know that the shop atmosphere is busy and that you want to get customers processed as quickly as possible. However, in your haste, don’t forget your manners. Look at it from your customer’s point of view: being interrupted is a dismissive act that can leave them feeling marginalized. Take the extra few minutes to make your customer feel valued.
Avoid technical jargon
Leave the technical jargon and acronyms behind when explaining repairs to your customers. Break concepts down into terms that they can understand. As you’re talking with the customer, gauge their knowledge level so you can talk in terms that they’ll recognize without talking over their head or talking down to them.
Think of it this way: when you consult a professional in a field that you don’t have a lot of knowledge in, you want someone to take the time to explain things in an easy-to-understand manner. Your customers are the same way; they want to understand what is going on with their vehicle. Take the time to help educate them.
Maintain a positive and upbeat tone when talking with customers. Remember that a customer can feel apprehensive when facing the prospect of a car repair, so your positive attitude can be contagious.
Focus on the positive outcome of having the repair completed – a safe and reliable vehicle to transport them and their family. This can change their attitude from one of annoyance to being pleased that the repair is getting taken care of before the issue gets worse.
Keep them in the loop
From arranging rides to worrying about the cost, a car repair can be stressful for your customers. Make it a bit easier by keeping them informed throughout the process. For example, a phone call when the diagnosis is made with an estimate of how much the repair will cost will put their mind at ease.
If it’s taking longer than expected to get to the bottom of the issue, a quick call to let them know you’re still working on it and haven’t forgotten about them will be appreciated. No one likes to be left wondering what is going on with their vehicle, and keeping customers informed is a great way to show that you’re transparent and trustworthy.
Make good on promises
We all want to deal with businesses that we can count on. Ensure that your clients see you as a reliable partner by following through on your promises. Making good on your word helps you strengthen and build trust with your customers.
To guarantee that you’ll be able to live up to your promises, avoid making commitments that you know will be difficult to keep. A good strategy is to under-promise and over-deliver. When you manage expectations at the onset, your customers won’t be expecting you to deliver the world to them and will instead be thrilled if you over-perform by getting their vehicle done early.
Show a little understanding
Conversations about pricing and other sensitive topics can be emotionally charged, leaving you feeling like you’re walking a tightrope. Customers may become anxious and confrontational knowing that their pocketbook is about to take a hit. If a customer pushes back on price, empathize with them that you understand that it can be costly to keep a car in good working condition. Take a sympathetic tone but don’t negotiate.
Be honest about the repairs – tell the customer which repairs can wait and which need to be completed immediately to avoid a compromise in safety. You want to build a relationship with your customers where you are seen as a valued partner in keeping their car safe and on the road.