How Communication Impacts The Customer Experience
Have you ever stayed at a Ritz-Carlton? If you have, then you’ve experienced their Gold Standards service—the framework of how they deliver amazing customer service.
Employees pledge to provide “the finest personal service” to their guests. Check out this cool story that highlights the type of customer service this organization has come to be known for.
What does the Ritz-Carlton have to do with a dealership? When creating a legendary customer-experience culture, it is important to look at other organizations that understand and model great customer service.
After the ups, the test-drives, presenting numbers, selling finance products, delivering cars, trucks, & SUVs we are left with two words that either make or break a dealership: customer experience.
To dependably deliver an experience that will produce repeat customers and referrals, a BDC & a sales manager must effectively communicate with one another.
When a sales and a BDC manager synergize, their collaboration overflows on to their teams. This combined effect is developed when leaders share a vision that is then executed on and delivered to the customers by BDC agents or reps and the sales team.
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” -Mother Teresa
This type of professional relationship geared towards delivering legendary service is more conducive to the dealerships success than if the 2 managers individually worked to achieve the result. The management team is stronger when unified.
A disconnect between the BDC and the sales department equals a disconnect between the dealership and the customer.
Sam—sales manager at J’s Auto Group—is a legend in the car business. He’s been a smooth-talking closer since the 80s and he steadily makes the dealership a ton of money.
J’s Auto Group just installed a BDC and the new BDC manager, Juan, has only been in the automotive industry for 18 months. Juan is very good at bringing people into the dealership.
At the weekly sales meeting following the Labor Day sale, Sam voices his opinion about the quality of appointments that have been coming in since the BDC was installed. His concern is that customers have unrealistic expectations and shouldn’t be shopping for a vehicle—bad credit, no money down, upside-down on their trade etc.
After the meeting Juan is frustrated. He’s worked hard at getting people on to the showroom floor and he feels attacked.
The friction between the two managers grows and by the end of the month, communication between them has come to a halt.
The conflict between the two department heads overflows to their teams. Salesman start criticizing the competence of Juan and his staff, and simultaneously, the BDC team nit-picks the Sam’s leadership and his team’s ability to close.
Guess who suffered the most in the month of October? Jason—owner and GM of Js Auto Group—and his customers.
How Were Customers Impacted?
Customers, scheduled to visit the dealership, have been invited in for a specific reason—the vehicle they’re interested in is available, they’ve been offered top dollar for their current vehicle, finance rates are at a low, biggest sale of the year, etc.
Juan and his team have painted a picture to clients that motivated them to visit the dealership. When they show up for their appointment, they have certain hopes.
Sally comes into the dealership and expects to get a better APR so that she is not “throwing away money.” At least, that’s what a member of Juan’s team told her.
Unfortunately for Sally, no one told Sam this essential tidbit of information. So, when he tries to seal the deal her at a high-interest rate, guess who blows out and leaves the dealership?
When Juan calls Sally back to find out why she didn’t purchase a vehicle—which happens to be the next day because the sales team didn’t update her status in the CRM and didn’t notify Juan that she had left—Juan finds out that she bought a car elsewhere. She said she got a better interest rate on the same model a year older at the other place. She also mentioned that she didn’t have any more time to waste at Js. Auto Group. She didn’t feel valued, so she took her business elsewhere.
What Happens Next
Change—either for the good or for the bad. Change can be intimidating but is necessary for growth and progression.
What would happen if Juan went to Sam and together they came up with a plan to put the past behind them and move forward? What would that look like?
Envision Juan getting together with Sam in the morning and saying, “Sam, we have Sally coming into the store at 1 and she is hoping for a lower interest rate. We told her that as long as she’s made her payments on time, this shouldn’t be an unrealistic expectation, and with the big sale going on, we know we can get her a good deal.”
Then, when Sally visits, Sam tells her about the sale and shows her payments with a lower APR. I wonder how that scenario would unfold.
How many Sallys have the dealership lost because a Juan and a Sam failed to communicate effectively?
Communication is the lifeblood of an organization and a failure to effectively communicate leads to losing customers, unhealthy interpersonal conflict in the dealership, higher turnover, and can ultimately lead to a dealership closing its doors to the public.
If you want to deliver a legendary customer experience that keeps customers coming back to you and encourages them to invite their friends and family into your establishment, then you have caught the “Gold Standard” customer service vision.
Do you want more cohesive teams that deliver a higher level of customer service that will result in more revenue for your dealership?
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