In Lab - Archive

Returning the vehicle and follow up

Cesare Soresina

At the end of my previous article, I mentioned courtesy vehicles and the need to remind customers about tyres held in storage.
The estimate, job order and the copy for administration have all reached their destinations. The technician begins his work. Administration starts to prepare the invoice. The customers are either on their way with the courtesy vehicle or, more commonly, they have stayed in the waiting room until the job is done.
There is more than one aspect to promotion and it can be very sophisticated nowadays. Specifically: local and national newspapers, technical magazines, men's and women's weeklies, preferably about nature, the environment and travel. And don't forget to provide two or three children's comics. There should also be a TV for playing videos from tyre or vehicle manufacturers, or for showing national news programmes and specific sporting events, especially at particular times. More necessary now than ever before is an Internet connection with a password to be requested. One company even installed CCTV in the workshop so customers could watch the work being done on their vehicles.
You can ask customers about some things while they are waiting. For example, information for the invoice, a list of reminders, not just about maintenance, but also about due dates. However, remember that the privacy section of this form must be signed and, above all, that the promise must be guaranteed. The database must be updated with the requested due dates and it should also have a visual reminder function.
Additional questions you can ask include information about any other cars in the family so that you can offer better terms, or about other maintenance requirements that all your workshops can provide (external and internal cleaning, underbody, programmed mechanical servicing and/or repairs, insurance, extended guarantees, etc.).

The invoice is now ready and you explain what has been done according to the job order and give a breakdown of the cost of each service. You then write out a memo for the next stage, confirm that tyre conformity and the service provided are both guaranteed.
You accompany the customer to his/her vehicle, which is already conveniently parked at the exit ready to go. You remove the protective covers from the seats, hold the door open while the customer gets in, thank him/her and close the door.
If handled well, all these operations in sequence will ensure that the customer has a positive impression, a competitive advantage that you gain every time.

When at least five days have passed since the work was done, it is a good idea to make a follow-up call to the customer's cell phone. The aim is to "understand" the impression of the service in terms of satisfaction.
Of course, "you must not" ask how things are going with the car and tyres: this would create doubts about the work done!
The call should be along the following lines:
Greeting, personal introduction, presentation of tyre dealer
Reason for the call: "I'm calling because it is important to us that our customers receive the best service possible and we would like to know how you assessed the work carried out a few days ago on ... tyre replacement ... wheel rotation ....
Possible questions:
How do you feel about the way you were received? Dissatisfied, satisfied, completely satisfied?
Did you have to wait more than three minutes before speaking to the person who met you? Yes or No?
The preliminary checks of the tyres and vehicle were carried out completely? Yes or No?
Did the estimate meet with your requirements? Yes or No?
Was the time spent in our waiting room pleasant? Yes or No?
(was the courtesy vehicle in order? Yes or No?)
Do you think the explanation of the work done and the invoice was thorough? Yes or No?
Do you think our recommendations and due dates were useful? Yes or No?

If you are able to call all your customers you will be close to 100% loyalty. You will have the chance to remedy any negative or weak answers about satisfaction. This is what tyre specialists must do if they are not to lose customers but, on the contrary, acquire new ones.

The next time, I'll be talking about contacts during the life cycle of the customer's tyres.


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