How Should You Greet a Service Customer?
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
A friendly and efficient walk-around is undoubtedly a best practice in the service drive.
The service advisor should greet the customer with a smile, welcome the customer by name, and be genuinely engaging with every customer they meet. But the question is…how and where?
The service department is an extremely fast-moving machine. It can seem overwhelming, especially to first-time customers.
Multiple lanes of cars in motion, hoods open, engines starting, and tires turned to the side is a barrage to the senses at first.
At some dealerships, the practice is to let the customers exit their cars at their own pace and approach the service advisor. That can be an effective method at slower, quieter dealerships such as those with a single-lane service drive, where there’s no question who the customer will approach. But in bustling dealerships across the United States, it’s a mistake to NOT greet the customer immediately.
Greet Each Customer at Their Door
Imagine driving into a busy service department with all the hubbub happening around you. Although you’re in the car biz, picture that it’s your first time doing so. Would you know what to do?
It’s a way to provide the best customer experience possible, according to Ted Ings at the Center for Performance Improvement. “Service departments stress customers out. Take the stress out of bringing the customer’s car in for maintenance by adding one step to the write-up – greet the customer at their door, every time.”
You need to treat each customer like it’s their first time in your store. This is an opportunity to make a fabulous first impression – one that lasts so long, you have a service customer for life. Here’s how it’s done well:
• Run the customer’s license plate as they pull into the service drive. If their name is in the system, remember it!
• Walk up to the driver’s door while they’re still inside. When they open the window or door, say, “Welcome here, Mr./Ms. So-and-so. We’ve been expecting you.”
• Extend your hand for a handshake as you greet the customer by name.
• Next, ask the customer, “Will you please join me outside your car?
It’s the perfect segue from a flustered car owner in the driver’s seat to a comforted customer besides the advisor. Now you can continue on with your walk-around and RO write-up.
To greet or not to greet – it isn’t even a question. Make greeting the customer at their driver’s door a solid start to every work order.