Auto Service World
News   December 1, 2022   by Adam Malik

From the magazine: It’s Your Turn: Casual communication challenges

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Automotive service providers are becoming too casual in their communications with customers.

Those who communicate with clients via telephone and other non-personal methods should think about how and when to throw in some humour or casual expressions into these conversations.

Better yet, ask yourself: Should you at all?

By doing so, you risk creating more personal instead of professional relationships. Furthermore, this behaviour comes off as ineffective or, worse, outright inappropriate.

Say you have a client who requested that texting was their preference for receiving updates. With their much-awaited road trip just days away, they barely get seated in their office when they receive a text from your service manager.

Since this client has exchanged personal stories and always jokes around in person, the service manager assumes there’s a comfort level established. The message is about their 2016 BMW 3 Series and it reads: “Hey, the front lower control arms are s*&#. Not road trip ready LMAO.”

Would you interpret what should be serious advice as a joke if you were a client in this case? If you were receiving a message from your doctor, you expect professionalism, not ridicule. The same standard should be set among ASPs.

In person, the same phrase would be accompanied by some supporting tone and body language so the client’s reaction would be better gaugeable.

In a text, however, these cues and visual observations are missed, leading to disappointment in the findings or the service manager themselves.

No doubt, every shop has varying reputations as an ASP in their market, regardless of how big or small the operation. Any local business has some degree of social media, and word of mouth is still in play. Shops need to be aware of the consequences.

Madhu Dardi is the operations manager at Andersen A1 Autohaus in Langley, B.C.

This article originally appeared in the September/October issue of CARS

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1 Comment » for From the magazine: It’s Your Turn: Casual communication challenges
  1. I agree with Mathu
    Texting can be risky in any situation
    I prefer a text that asks client to call shop at earliest convenience to discuss our recommendations
    However at times one on one with established clients can be more casual in certain situations
    The key is building a relationship with your clients this evolves into trust
    Once that relationship is established there is no doubt a comfort level that can lead to lighter discussions .
    I have no issues calling a client a friend and still keeping it professional
    I joke with my Dr. because we have a long time relationship

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