Congratulations! You have persevered to the end. In our travels through the Service Advisors Galaxy, we have boldly gone where few have gone before.

In our discussions of the 7 P’s, we’ve covered the Purpose of the advisor, are you the right Person, Phone skills, the Process, the importance of the PMI, our customers’ Perception of us, and now our favorite part, the Payback or “what’s in it for me?”

Besides the feeling of accomplishment and warm fuzzies from knowing you have done the best for your fellow man that you could, we should receive some reward for our hard work and diligence.

Here are some of the “paybacks” that we should be getting for our hard work. Some are more easily recognized than others, and unless you are a “scorekeeper” it’s easy to overlook how your efforts have paid off.

Do you already have customers that just throw you the keys and say “Call me when it’s done”? If so, then you know how easy these people are to deal with rather than the new customer that has not yet been “wowed” by your amazing service. On the other hand, we have all had that customer that perceives that they will be taken advantage of if not diligent in watching and questioning every step you take. These customers take a tremendous amount of time and effort to turn around.

Once you have made that good first impression, a large part of the work is done prior to the next visit. If you have proven to the customer that you are honest, trustworthy, and are looking out for their best interests, they will need much less time and energy to keep happy than to make that new customer a believer.

All major and the most successful small businesses track the investment required to bring in a new customer. Advertising is an expense most shops have to deal with, but the question is always about ROI or Return On Investment. In other words, how much does each new customer cost? Tracking ROI on advertising can be a tricky thing. Some ways are more precise than others, but tracking word of mouth or how well your social media response is working for or against you is difficult at best.

Rather than spend additional time talking about the importance of social media in today’s world, let’s just agree that it is a big part of our lives whether we like it or not. If you have a customer that really seems impressed with your service, then don’t feel shy about asking for a good rating online.

Another no-cost/low-cost option is the call-back. I recommend at least 3 days but not more than 2 weeks to call back each customer. There are scripts out there and maybe you want to customize your own, but here are some basics:

  1. Identify yourself and ask “is now a good time to talk”. If they say “no” then ask when would be a better time.
  2. State that you are just checking on them, the vehicle, and just wanted to make sure they were completely satisfied and if there are any questions. NOTE: If they are NOT completely satisfied, then ask how can you “make it right”. Exercise caution here, there are some that cannot be satisfied.
  3. Mention any recommended services that were not completed during the previous visit and try to get an appointment for that service. If the last visit was an oil change and they did not already commit to the next appointment, ask when would be a good time for that next service.
  4. Thank them for their time and ask if they would be willing to give you a 5-star rating. If they say “no” then ask what you need to do to get that 5th If they say “Yes”, offer to send a link if they need it to rate you.

If you are not already doing some form of call-backs, you will be amazed at how many people will be surprised that you called them back. The call-back not only helps the customer feel that you care about them and their opinions, but it also helps fill your schedule to avoid some of the peaks and valleys in your business.

Email and texting is becoming more and more common in our industry, and we need to develop these as contact points as well as call-backs. You should already be asking your customers the best way to contact them. If they choose email or text, then create templates to maintain that communication. Personally, I prefer phone contact. It’s difficult to accent and use tonality electronically. Still, we are here to meet the customers wishes, not our own. If sending an email or text, don’t forget to include the link so that they can rate you. The easier you can make it for them, the better the chance that it will actually happen.

Have more questions about how best to handle individual situations? Is there a subject you’d like to know more about? Comment your question or suggestion below. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I believe there is an answer for every problem we encounter.

Article By: Bruce McDowell

Bruce is currently a Service Advisor for Garber Diesel Service Truck & Trailer Service Center

Bruce’s credentials include: AMAM through AMI, ASE Certified Service Advisor, Ford Motor Company – Master Service Manager, Master Service Advisor, Master Parts Manager, Master Warranty Administrator plus 2 Management Degrees, Stationary Engineer License, and Retired Navy. And above all… modest.