Auto Service World
News   April 19, 2022   by Adam Malik

Why communication is key to building customer trust

Always stay in touch with your customers, an automotive aftermarket trainer urged shop owners.

Bryan Stasch, vice president of product and content development at the Automotive Training Institute, is a big believer in the ’10 and 2’ rule. Not the driving technique, but for contacting your customers in the morning and again in the afternoon.

“At 10 a.m., where they’re at; at 2 p.m. where they’re at,” he said during his presentation Master the Chaos — Art and Science of a Successful Service Advisor at the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo in March in Kansas City. “And then when they’re finally ready; it’s finished. Just to keep them informed.”

He used an example that many shops have probably experienced. A customer, who he dubbed Mrs. Smith, said they need their vehicle by 5 p.m. But the car is still in the bay at that time. She shows up at 5:15 and is livid because her car isn’t ready. Did anyone call her to let her know it was going to be late? Or, as Stasch pulled out his phone, what about texting the customer?

“How many of you utilize this — texting? Quick information. Quick communication. And you don’t have to deal with all the pleasantries of a phone call. Pretty cool tool,” he said. “They have the ability to quickly update Mrs. Smith on progress.”

The service advisor is essential for that customer returning in the future, Stasch stressed.

“You’re also responsible to make sure that Mrs. Smith walks out of that door not feeling price tag, but feeling value of what they just spent their hard-earned money,” he said.

“When you have customers drop off a car the night before, how many of you give them the ‘It’s in good hands’ call in the morning or evening? ‘Just to let you know, I got your car, Mrs. Smith. I just want you to know it’s good hands.’”

When you are keeping the customer’s vehicle for a few days — whether it’s a big job or because parts are delayed — tell them that you will contact them in X number of days to keep them informed on the progress of their vehicle. Or better yet, he recommended, ask them how often and at what time they would like updates. They might say to just let them know when the job is done or they want a call every day at noon to let them know what’s happening, even if no work has been done.

Furthermore, the task of keeping customers informed extends beyond just telling them what’s going on with their vehicle. For example, Stasch recommended keeping on top of recall information. When the customer brings in their vehicle, look up if there are any announcements. Better yet, when you hear of a recall, look through your list to see who owns that vehicle and give them a call.

“Share everything you know. Everything. All the good, as well as all the areas of concern,” he said.


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