Automotive Customer Service in the Digital World

In today’s world, where customers (us included) receive quick turn arounds on basically anything they want, (including overnight shipping of the craziest of things), it feels almost impossible to meet the expectation of executing superior customer service within your automotive facilities, would you agree?

I remember many years ago, superior automotive customer service was heavily focused around how you treated your customer while they were on-site at your facility, or even when you spoke to them over the phone.

Today, although in-person and phone customer service are still important, it’s equally as important to make sure that your customer service via texting, email and social media are given the same importance!

Making this a very big adjustment for our industry, and most industries to adapt to.

One thing that does stay true though, is that superior customer service is an important part of making sure your customers are as comfortable and happy as possible with the service they receive from your facility.

So, let me ask you, when was the last time your business took a look at the bird-eye view of the execution, success, and overall service of your Automotive Business?

Perhaps, today is a great day to start!

The good news is that there are things you can do now to improve the way your customers view your business, share your business, and, ultimately, trust your business for all their current and future automotive needs.

Everything from how we interact and speak to our customers to how we reach them and share our brand has changed. A solid automotive customer service plan aims to communicate often and effectively and provide continual value and support to the people who trust us with our business.

Now, let’s break down the walls around automotive customer service.

On-site customers are part of your everyday business operation in the automotive industry. Those customers that come to the facility most often with a particular auto-related issue that they hope you’ll fix. Although a lot of the world has gone remote, the automotive industry still requires a great deal of on-site visits and in-person interaction.

coffee service

Some of the best ways to foster positive customer service in an on-site setting are to:

  • Set up a coffee and snack bar for them to enjoy during their wait
  • Leave on something to watch and have various magazines and books nearby for something to read
  • Freely share a guest WIFI password for them to connect for easy access to their phones, laptops, and other electronic devices.
  • Provide hourly check-ins and updates on their vehicle progress so they know that you’re thinking of them and respecting their time.
  • Acknowledging customers upon entry
  • Ensuring they understand their visit requirements
  • Answering any questions they have right away
  • Discussing payments in advance

We encourage you to follow these best practices to see an instant boost in customer satisfaction.

Although many may think of phone calls as a thing of the past, they are still very much alive in various industries, including automotive. Sometimes, a quick and simple phone call can get your customer an answer faster than an email, text message, mailer, or social media reply. Frankly, even if it’s not faster, some customers enjoy a phone call more.

When thinking about phone support in your automotive business, here are some essential tips:

  • Use proper phone etiquette
  • Nix long wait times by having someone readily available and knowledgeable to help customers when they call in
  • Take care of customer questions and concerns promptly with the goal of giving them a solution on the first phone call.
  • Use appropriate resources to help customers with more complex questions or issues.
  • Personalize the call by using their first name and asking them basic questions about their day to make them feel cared for
  • Follow up with after call questions or surveys to make sure their needs were taken care of

 One of our favorite and easy tricks is to smile when you answer the phone. This simple gesture instantly boosts the kindness in your voice, making a customer feel warm and welcome upon being spoken to.

In our current world, many companies are learning how to navigate multi-generational customers. While some customers still enjoy a phone call, most younger clients prefer texts and emails.

Automotive Customer Service

If most of your customer base prefers texts and emails, here are some key tips on how to navigate this new form of communication with them effectively and efficiently.

  • Keep the message direct, short and sweet.
  • Always include a call to action.
  • Giving customers the option to opt-in or out of email and text updates
  • Use texts and emails to provide valuable updates on their services, such as wait time, the due date for an upcoming service, and specials you may be running.
  • Use email marketing to connect with your customer periodically to stay top of mind, even if you don’t have anything specific to discuss. It could be something as simple as “We’re thinking of you… Here’s what we have going on.” Or sharing a kind and heartfelt holiday message.

In order to determine how often you should use text and email, you can poll your current customer base and see what they prefer. Customers enjoy providing their opinions on business operations, especially ones involving how you communicate with them.

According to JD Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service. This means that almost three quarters of the people they surveyed, referenced social media.

Which indicates that if your business does not have an active social media presence online today, you’re missing a massive opportunity to capture more customers and build strong loyal relationships with your customers.

Over 80% of your local community is actively on social media every single day, so it’s important to not only be active on social media yourself but constantly be replying to reviews and comments as well.

Automotive Customer Service

Customers can become upset at any time for any reason. Knowing your customers well and building long-standing relationships will mitigate the frequency and severity of upset customers but will never eliminate it completely.

The biggest reason customers get upset is due to lack of communication. They feel lost and left out when they don’t feel seen or heard.

To boost communication and decrease your chances of an upset customer:

  • Listen more than you talk
  • Discuss the problem and provide a few viable solutions so that the customer feels in control of their next choice/experience with you
  • Offer them sincere apologies.
  • Do your best to solve their problem before walking away from the discussion.

On the flipside of an upset customer are happy customers who help our businesses thrive. Providing reliable and consistent customer service will lead to more satisfied customers who will share the love they have for you and your business through:

  • reviews
  • word of mouth
  • Increased business by coming back to you for all services

The best part of happy customers sharing your business with others is that there is no extra marketing cost to the auto shop as good business is shared with others for free.

Customer service is essential for building trust, loyalty, and business longevity. If your customers feel cared for consistently, you can build long-term customer relationships that increase sales, better customer retention rates, and a steady uphill climb for your business’s bottom line.

Because customer service is constantly changing and evolving, it is important to keep this key business pillar at the top of your mind and business goals. From how you train your employees to how you lead by example in providing optimal automotive customer service, it all matters.

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