In the automotive industry, trust is a must. No matter if you are a car company, car distributor or a car dealership, trust is essential for building a strong customer-service provider relationship. But it is not something given. You need to earn it. Show your customers that when they come to your dealership, they can expect to be treated fully with respect and that they can rely on you.
But, how to achieve this?
How to offer trust to your customers
There is more to trust than respect and reliability. Here are only some of the elements you can provide your potential customers with to get to a position of trust:
1. Be bright and upright.
Not only a smile and a, “hello” will do. While these are essential if you want your customers to believe in you, your body language must also reflect the same “can-do” attitude. In fact, researcher Amy Cuddy has found that “adopting the body language associated with dominance for just 120 seconds is enough to create a 20 percent increase in testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, adopting these postures makes a person feel more powerful.”
A dominant posture means standing upright, with your hands standing on your hips, back straightened, like Superman. Her point is that if you want people to trust you, you need to radiate warmth.
“Look for natural smiles, for body language that is inviting, positive, and that signals interest in the other person or people. Even a gentle touch — one that’s appropriate, of course — like when one candidate gently touches the other on the shoulder.”
If you are texting your customers, you can even add a smiley face at the end of the message. This will surely cause a positive reaction on the other side because emojis are no longer considered less professional, but rather amicable and cordial.
2. Ensure safety.
When you interact with your customers, either online, in person, or via text, you and your dealership should resonate with safety. Customers must know that they and their personal data (phone numbers, names, etc.) are perfectly safe.
Your employees need to be trained to keep sensitive information private, and if you are using a DMS with texting integration, it must comply with FCC and TCPA rules.
All information and all conversations must be safely stored (preferably in an online cloud) and you must ask for customers’ prior permission to engage in a written conversation with them (via email or phone messaging service).
3. Be there, always.
Being there for someone does not just mean that you are hitting it off. It means acting on many different channels. Of course, if you are a small or medium-sized dealership, you cannot be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, you can be present in places where your customers spend a lot of their time and where they ask for your advice. This may include website chat box, email, text messages, and social networks.
Having a chat and customer service representative can solve the majority of your woes, as they can answer emails, instant messages, and engage in oral conversations. On the other hand, the burden of texting can be shifted to service advisors and mechanics – experts and people who get dirty while performing the task for the client.
And finally, social networks today are of utmost importance. Today’s customers first go on Facebook and search for your dealership, and even engage in conversations via posts and messages.
After all, shifting your focus from traditional to digital channels of communication is very important as it may create a better picture of your business even after 5:00 PM.
4. Improve hospitality.
When customers enter your dealership or lot, they need to feel welcomed immediately. This means creating a comfortable, ambient, and pleasant atmosphere where they can relax and wait for you to do what you do best – fix or sell cars.
Having a customer service desk and a friendly operator is the first place they can turn to. When they hand over their car keys, a waiting room area is where they head to next. The waiting room area should resemble a typical living room – with a couch, coffee table, fruit basket, TV, and a pleasant view to your lot.
While they are waiting, customers can read magazines, play on their phones or watch TV. The waiting area is a perfect place to utilize any form of digital advertising. Banner TV advertising or digital signage software can present special offers, social media buttons, etc. and improve overall business by making deeper connections with your dealerships. If your customers are cozy, they will return.
5. Be clear.
Clarity of expression is something everybody aspires to, even though this may be the most difficult task of all. If you and your employees are clear and concise, and if they give only exact information at the right time, if their advice is useful, then the world is your oyster.
Even when sending texts, you need to make sure that the customer on the other side will get the message. This means no false promises, no double meanings, and no sarcasm via texting. Only crystal clear information.
Over to you: what do you think are essential trust factors every dealership must employ in their customer service? Tell us your experience on our Twitter or Facebook company pages. We would love to hear and learn from your experience!