The May 2019 issue of Canadian AutoJournal is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of Canadian AutoJournal, Jack Kazmierski.
Educating the Customer
I recently visited Pfaff Subaru in Guelph, Ontario. It’s a new store, with a new look and a completely different and fresh approach to doing business. You can read all about them on page 22 of this issue of Canadian AutoJournal.
One of the things the GM and I spoke about is their approach to the service department… more specifically how they book appointments for service. While customers are always welcome to call the store to book an appointment, the dealership is encouraging them to book online instead.
The idea of booking service appointments online isn’t brand new—but it is new enough that some customers just aren’t comfortable with it. Given the choice, they still prefer to call the store, speak to a human being, and book themselves in for an oil change, for example.
When I asked how online bookings were going, the GM uttered a phrase that stuck in my mind: “We have to educate and train our customers to do so.”
Build it and they will come
That in itself is an interesting thought because dealers may assume that customers will take advantage of a service, a product, or a convenience simply because it’s being offered. But the truth is, some customers need to be taught how to use whatever it is you’re offering before they’re comfortable with it.
And while younger consumers may be perfectly comfortable booking a service appointment online, older customers may need you to take them by the hand, explain how things work, and maybe even book their first online appointment for them. Show them how it works, and that there’s nothing to fear or worry about, and you’re bound to see more uptake.
If that philosophy applies to booking online appointments, it certainly applies to other initiatives you’re embarking on around your dealership. So stop and ask yourself, “What have we introduced, or what do we plan to introduce, that seems second nature to us, but that our customers might be hesitant to try?”
In other words, where do you need to take the time to train and educate your customers? With technology changing so quickly, we can’t assume that everyone will catch on or embrace new services as quickly as we’d like them to. So take the time to figure out who might need help, and how to best help them. The few minutes you spend with them now can help you save a lot of time in the future.