The New World of F&I - Phase Five - It Goes Beyond the Delivery
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
Like a golf swing isn’t complete once you hit the ball, the F&I advisor’s involvement requires a follow through.
The contracts are submitted and the deal is funded. For successful dealerships, the sales consultant and financial services advisor continue to build trust through positive customer relationships in the coming months and years.
These five key steps will guide your follow through:
1. Confirm Customer Satisfaction with the Process
The car is prepped and the contracts are signed. At the point of delivery, the salesperson keeps the conversation on the customer and their satisfaction.
Ask the customer about their experience with your dealership. Offer assistance with any concerns or questions they have. As well, provide an overview of the sales satisfaction survey the customer will receive in the near future and explain its importance without coaching answers.
2. Facilitate Contract Approval
It’s the tedious, behind-the-scenes work that is so necessary. The financial services advisor must quickly process the contracts and paperwork with the lender and facilitate funding with the business office. Getting deals funded quickly is crucial to avoid a backlog with lenders that can delay future approvals.
Emphasize with your team just how important the flow of documents to the lender and business office truly is. Most lenders such as the nation’s largest auto lender, CU Direct, can fund loan in under 20 minutes when all the T’s are crossed and the I’s dotted.
3. Send A Follow-Up "Thank You" Card
Three days after delivery, the sales consultant sends a follow-up note or card to the customer. The follow-up simply thanks the customer for their business and reminds them that you care. It also reinforces that you are concerned about their satisfaction with you and your dealership. It’s a nice touch for the financial services advisor and sales manager to also sign the card.
4. Place a Follow-Up Call
Within two to three weeks of delivery, place a follow-up call with the customer. Ideally, the sales consultant will make the call although a customer relationship manager could also be involved. The call must be prior to the first payment due and is simply to make sure that the billing information has arrived and is accurate.
If there are any concerns at all during the follow-up call, it has to be a priority to address them quickly. Problems early in the ownership experience are an opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service.
5. The Next 18 Months
From 30 days to 18 months, regular contact with the customer should be made by the salesperson and F&I advisor to offer the products and services they opted not to take during the sale. A call should also be placed three months prior to warranty expiration to offer a final chance to purchase an extended service plan.