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It’s not about price or money — it’s how you show up in the relationship with your customers

The number one reason a customer will leave you is for lack of appreciation, and the vehicle final delivery and invoice is critical in raising customer satisfaction

In parts one, two, three and four we looked at labor rates, parts pricing, value package pricing, all to increase cash flow, and finished with selling what your customers really want to buy. Now that we’ve sold it, completed the work and the customer is coming in to pick up their vehicle, we may not see them for another three to five months — how do we make sure they “love” us when they leave?

The vehicle final delivery and invoice is critical in raising customer satisfaction.  This is the part of the repair order process where we actually want to “wind the customer up” and get them excited. This is where we turn on the final WOW factor, creating excitement about who we are and what we’re about (our identity as a repair shop).

“What you do and say just before the final thank you is the most important time with your customer.”

— Dave Schedin

This process is what I call the “Active Delivery.”  When followed, and tailored to your shop, including having loyalty, retention and referral programs in place, this will set the stage for continued ongoing relationships, which is a fancy way to say “cashflow.” If your customers don’t return or refer you, you only created profit and not cashflow.

Part of the wow factor is to genuinely be appreciative of the customer. The number one reason a customer will leave you is for lack of appreciation. With that in mind, ALL transactions with that customer should be woven with the phrase “thank you,”, said in such a way that shows you actually mean it. It should come from the heart and not the head.

Each customer should hear your appreciation in gratitude from you, a minimum of six times:

  1. Thank you at the initial phone call greeting.
  2. Thank you for the appointment.
  3. Thank you for coming in when they arrive.
  4. Thank them for the initial authorization.
  5. Thank them for the second phone authorizations.
  6. Thank them at the end for making you their repair center of choice.

Real-world gratitude is a result. My very first coaching and training client was a young man of only 24 years of age and had moved his shop three times in a three-year period. When I met him he was in an old Honda dealership shop that had 10-12 bays and only two techs: the owner and one other. The advisor wasn’t working out very well so as my first client I wrote service for a few weeks until we hired a rock star.

At the end of the week on Friday the young owner said two things to me:

  1. Was all this money coming in the door before? YES!!! They went from .67 hours per RO to 3.87 in 3.5 days.
  2. I have never heard my customers thank me so much for what we do. They reached out to shake my hand!

Genuine gratitude resulted in higher hours per RO and a grateful customer. Think about that: they spent more money and were happier. It’s not about the price or money. It’s how you show up in the relationship with your customers.

The first five “thank you’s” set up the final “Thank You” in the Active Delivery. What you do and say just before the final thank you is the most important time with your customer. The following is an overview from our nine-page Active Delivery E-book (see below for how to get it for free, and of our training we do live on-site or in webinar form).

Prior to customers coming in, ALL paperwork should be done and completed and printed out. Here is where your customers get a final experience of your value and it needs to be interactive with the paperwork. I understand the whole “paperless” mindset, but you will lose human interaction that can’t be done in cyberspace.

So here are the bullet points to review with them:

  1. Call/text that their vehicle is done and set their active delivery pickup time. Active delivery can take 3-10 minutes or more depending on what was done or if they are a new customer. DO NOT RUSH through this process. Having two to three customers coming in all at 5 p.m. is a frustration bottleneck.
  2. Thank them for coming in again
  3. Have all paperwork easy to get at including any supporting paperwork such as warranties, loyalty, rewards or referral cards.
  4. Review the work done in story from:
  5. Prime item(s) they came in for
  6. Diagnostics, repairs, supporting services, and final repair validation and fixed right.
  7. Disclaimers of the vehicle system repairs. Should be triggered to print with canned jobs.
  8. Warranties
  9. Deferred work: items the vehicles revealed but not completed this visit.
  10. Book next appointment: if you don’t book next appointment you just shot your cash flow in the heart.
  11. Give final price but DO NOT END the sentence on the dollar amount and take payment and stamp their invoice paid. Don’t take payment and then wait to print them a final copy showing paid. Don’t force your customers to stand and wait for your admin time.
  12. Dessert time. Here is where you mention extra value: “Hey Mr. or Mrs. Jones, Do you like dessert?”
  13. Loyalty or rewards program: current point/dollar amount and how it can be used the very next service visit or on deferred work.
  14. Referral program where they can earn $1,000- $1,200 annually for sending in 20 new customers to you. The ROI is huge for you.
  15. Final thank you with a certificate with a local ice cream shop that is willing to give you a price break or give a free treat to your customers to drive in business to them as well.
  16. Stage the vehicles so you can walk them to their vehicles and pull the floor mats and protective covers. Hand them their keys and thank them one more time.
  17. Call three days later to check up on them and the vehicle.

All these stages need focus, intention and practice. Done right, your customers will be launched into your community singing your praises, happy to give referrals and would only ever think about having all their vehicles serviced by you.

** Forward this “Aftermarket Matters Weekly” to another shop and cc Coach Dave (copy and paste the email below). CompuTrek will email you Coach Dave’s e-book on Active Delivery for free.

Next from Coach Dave in the Workflow to Cashflow Series: Part 6 – Cash reserve strategies to overcome a pandemic.

Dave Schedin can be reached at 800-385-0724, dave@computreksystems.com, and www.computreksystems.com. A complimentary 30-minute discussion is available for the asking.

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