Auto Service World
News   April 11, 2023   by Adam Malik

How service advisors can build rapport

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Customers would rather buy from a service advisor who is warm and welcoming, rather than one who is cold and disinterested.

Seems like a no-brainer but it’s a common customer experience to find the latter, said Darrin Barney, president of Elite, a training company for the automotive aftermarket.

“If you treat people like they’re human beings, if you actually care for them, they can feel it,” he said at the recent Midwest Auto Care Alliance Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo.

Spend time getting to know your customers, Barney recommended. They’ll appreciate it.

“When they come in and you don’t you don’t know their first name and they’ve been coming to you for a couple years, you got an issue,” he observed. “Learn their names. Watch what happens when they walk in the door and you’re like, ‘Hey, Steve, how’s it going?’ All of a sudden, he’s beaming because you knew his name.”

People who think they’re bad with names can easily overcome the challenge, said Tom Amero, a certified elite trainer at Elite. During the same session, he recommended repeating the name often early on in the conversation. Use it and use it often, ideally, three times within the first 15 to 20 seconds. And that seems ridiculous, but it’s not.

Barney further emphasized doing the little things in being nice to your customers. You may be surprised by their response.

“When you’re nice to people and you genuinely care. It’s amazing what they do for you, too. And they feel that you care for them,” Barney said. “You actually remember their birthday and you call on their birthday, or you do these little things, it really adds up.”

Remember, Amero pointed out, the customer isn’t buying from ABC Automotive — they’re buying from you.

“People don’t buy from companies; people buy from people,” he said. “So you have to realize the influence and the impact that you have and how you treat them has everything to do with that decision.”

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