Is providing great customer service and a great customer experience the same thing? The two couldn’t be more different! In many F&I offices, the effort is focused on getting better at what we do instead of how we do it.
As an agent, the ultimate goal of your dealership’s F&I teams should be to provide great customer experiences. When that happens, customers buy more products than we could ever sell them. And they are glad they did.Remember: Customer service is what you do; customer experience is how you do it. With that in mind, here is the first installment of 10 commandments to provide memorable customer experiences:
I. Listen to Learn.
Research suggests that we remember between 25% and 50% of what we hear. That can be catastrophic in a needs-discovery process. Take the time to identify your customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. That includes listening to their words, tone of voice, body language and the level of their emotional attachment to a need or product.
The best listeners are the best producers. The ability to listen to learn separates the best from the rest. It divides managers from leaders and professionals from amateurs.
II. Diagnose Before You Prescribe.
Customers buy solutions to problems, not products. You must uncover the problems this particular customer might face during their ownership experience. In the F&I office, understanding a customer’s wants, needs and concerns must always precede any attempt to sell them something. Never attempt to sell a product because a lot of your customers buy the product. It must be specific to each customer to be consistently successful.
III. Make Customers Feel Important.
Customers understand that you value them when you demonstrate that you genuinely care about them and their needs. Every customer enters your office with a sign around their neck that says “Make me feel important.”
When your efforts clearly focus on helping customers make good decisions instead of trying to sell them something, they know the focus is on them. That’s exactly where it should be! The most important person in your world is the customer in front of you and your words, actions and focus must elevate their importance, not yours!
IV. Study the Art of Body Language.
Start with what your body language says to a customer. From the first interaction, smile, show genuine excitement about the car-buying experience, and assure that every word and action conveys a consistent message: “I’m glad you’re here!” Customers will reflect your level of excitement, comfort and energy. Give them a great example to emulate!
Next, learn what a customer’s body language is saying to you. If their arms are crossed and they keep looking away from you, frustration and resistance is building. Stop what you are doing and focus on collapsing the confrontation. If you ignore their body language and proceed to attempt to sell them something, then you are headed to a confrontation that you will always lose.
V. Go the Extra Mile.
Anyone can do what is expected of them. However, it takes commitment to go the extra mile. Enterprise became the nation’s No. 1 car rental company by telling its employees, “You can rise through the ranks and make remarkable money, but only after you demonstrate an ability to knock the socks off every customer that comes through the door.”
Knock the socks off your customers and your value will increase. Remember, great companies and great F&I managers provide great customer experiences by doing what others don’t!
We are halfway through the 10 commandments. Improving our efforts in these areas alone would provide an increase in our ability to help customers make good decisions. These are the traits you need to instill in your F&I managers to provide great customer experiences and great profits!
I look forward to seeing you on my next post! Visit www.go-reahard.com to learn more about how we can help you help more customers. Also feel free to contact me. Exchanging ideas with agents and F&I professionals is my passion!