The First Call is the Turning Point
You won’t find the question on a Customer Satisfaction Index survey: “Who made the first phone call during your service visit – you or your service advisor?”
The results would probably tell a story very much in line with the overall CSI score. If the customer responded that the service advisor made first contact during the service visit, the CSI score is likely to be above average. If the opposite is true – that the customer had to call first – you’d probably see that the CSI score on that survey tanked.
The initial repair order write-up set the tone for the visit. A friendly, personal greeting combined with an interactive walkaround with the customer sets the stage for an excellent service visit. The turning point comes a couple hours later when the first call is expected.
Make the First Call – Always!!!
Some service departments discuss when to make the first call with the customer. Others set a time frame when all customers should receive an update. Whatever your process might be, it should always occur before the customer calls you.
Think of it from a customer’s mindset: the moment they place the phone call to you, you’re late. At that point, they’ve already been thinking about their car’s status for a while, waiting for an update from you. They’ve gone from curious to concerned to irritated, all before they pick up the handset and dial your number.
What If Nothing Has Happened?
Maybe the car hasn’t gone into a diagnostic specialist yet and is still sitting in the parking lot. Perhaps the tie rod ends are seized and the wheel alignment is taking twice as long as expected. Or maybe there’s a long estimate being written and it will only take a few more minutes. Regardless of the circumstance, the customer wants to be informed.
The car hasn’t gone in yet? At least the customer isn’t worried that their hourly diagnostic charges are racking up. They may be a little irritated but they are informed.
The wheel alignment is taking forever? Perhaps the customer is happy to know it’s being done right and is satisfied to be patient for the best results.
A long estimate is coming? Call the customer and mention that it won’t be much longer until you have more information, but you’re calling now as promised.
That first call can make or break the service visit for CSI scores. It takes planning and discipline to adhere to a calling schedule, but it pays dividends in satisfied customers.