Customers like to feel important. (Don't we all?) That's why it's vital that they have the opportunity for feedback after they visit a dealership.
Dealers often fear the low numbers they might get from the Customer Service Index, but there's a better way to look at CSI scores: as a big opportunity. 70% of consumers will do business with you again if you resolve their complaints, so low scores are really a chance at redemption. They're a way to discover areas of the dealership that need amending and turn those disappointed customers into your best advocates.
OK, you say: challenge accepted. But what's the best way to win these budding advocates? It’s all in how you deal with the feedback. The secret lies in the Four A’s:
Acknowledge: First, respond quickly. It’s time to show the customer they have been heard and listened to. Tell them that you understand where their experience took a negative turn, and what caused it. Most importantly here, show them that you will now review and rectify the issue at hand. You'll ensure it doesn’t happen again. Take responsibility for the issue and you've started to turn the negative situation into a positive.
Alert: This is where you keep your promise to the customer. It's also where you start to fix the dealership issue that created the bad experience in the first place. Research and identify the issue, then alert the troops: escalate it to the customer service department or to the appropriate manager to be reveiwed and resolved.
Act: What does this captured issue tell you about your dealership? Does it suggest a change needed in business processes for your dealership or your DMS? Once you answer those questions, you can begin taking the appropriate actions to fix the hole in your processes and prevent a repeat in the future. Once changes are in place, be sure to follow up with the customer and share with them the steps you've taken.
Automate: You've solved this problem: now prepare to fix others by integrating your complaints process with your CRM. Because it helps you see survey results in real time and capture all information from each customer, automation is the real key to turning your negative customers into advocates. Negative feedback can be flagged instantly, with management and corrective actions put in place quickly. Fast, coordinated action is your best chance to regain a lost sale before that customer disappears forever.
To really make your customer feel important, show them added care from everyone in your shop who interacts with them in the future. That's another good reason to add your complaints process to your CRM: every department can see the customer's record and know their history. The next time Mr. Smith calls, he can be handled with a little more care as you go the extra mile to make him happy.
Acknowledge, alert, act and automate: That's how you turn disgruntled customers into lifelong advocates.