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Through small interactions in the service drive and using “human language” in the service scheduler, service departments can make their customers feel appreciated and heard, increasing satisfaction and the likelihood that they’ll return.

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Tactical Tips Episode #18 Transcript

BRAD: All right, guys, it’s Brad back here with another Tactical Tip Tuesday. I have my good friend Kyle Mountsier here. He’s the Co-Founder of Auto Genius and he’s the Co-Founder of Contagious Auto, and some more stuff coming pretty quick.


KYLE: Yeah, I’m excited about it. We’ve got some announcements coming. 


BRAD: So yeah, so got some announcements coming. Kyle is one of my friends I talk to all the time. We have a big text group and you were telling us about an experience you had with your wife’s Honda that you took in. Now Kyle is the former marketing director from Nelson Automotive Group. But I wanted to take a live example of what we’re dealing with in stores and how most stores deal with things, and then I want to kind of break it down as we go through and figure out some tips where they could have done some stuff better. 


KYLE: So we’ll tell the story, we’ll try and break it down, but I want to start with this right because everybody on the vendor side, and now that I’m a vendor and you’ve experienced this over what 5 years? Everybody on the vendor side always gets a bad rap, like they just point fingers at the dealers, right. It’s like every trying to get everyone in trouble. That’s not our intention at all. Our intention is to draw conclusions from any business that we can go, “Hey, this is just like a way to look at things,” “Make sure you’re inspecting this, make sure…” you know all of that type of stuff. So I want to I just want to like throw that out here. 


BRAD: Well, I think it’s part of problem solving, right. It’s like we’re not going to be the guys that come out there and say “Look, there’s a problem.” We’re going to be like “Hey, there’s a problem, but here’s a solution for it too,” right? So if you’re not bringing the solution with the problem, then that’s a big problem. 


KYLE: Yep, you know exactly right. So let’s start from the beginning. Basically, we get a flat tire. It looks like it’s got a nail in it. I know I got to get a new tire. I’m the lazy guy that ain’t ever going to be changing the tire. So I had to, you know, call the roadside assistance. Got that done and knew I had to schedule an appointment. The local Honda dealership uses XTime, and if you’re in the industry you probably know what that is. I knew what it was. So I was like, “Oh, I can knock this out. 1, 2, 3, get an appointment.” But it was interesting. This was the first minor red flag to me and especially thinking about starting to come from the consumer side. So I get through like logging my car, get through like the first basic things, and then I had to select the service right, which I remember one of the things that, like when I was the marketing director, we are trying to do is figure out how to not have the dropoff points in the service scheduler, and that was a major dropoff point actually, was the going from finding your car to selecting the service, right? And you talk about this a lot. But I couldn’t find anything that was like “tire issue, flat tire, low tire.” I mean I searched everything. The only thing that I could come up with with “tire” in it in their ability to surf this stuff was “replace all 4 tires.” I was like that’s not what I want. That’s not going to cut it. And I know I can get there and explain myself, right, but in my head right then I was going, what if I don’t get the opportunity to explain myself, or what if they just miss that and it’s miscommunicated? All of a sudden, they’re slapping 4 new tires on it and I get to the point of checkout I’m like, “Whoa, I didn’t ask for 4 new tires,” right? So I added a whole bunch of notes to try and be helpful and when I got there I was like, okay, I gotta remember to, you know, tell them about exactly what I need. And so that was kind of like my first rub in it, and I know that there’s solutions there, but you have to be super diligent in working with your scheduling rep and your service scheduler rep to make sure that, like, opcodes are aligned, available searchable like human language, right. I think that that’s a really important thing when thinking about what are the things that are online that someone is using, you know, to dial in what they need from you from a human language perspective, right, like “tire issue”. Yeah, that should be an option.


BRAD: Right, and you think you know it all. A lot of those service schedulers were shop management tools that were adapted to be customer facing. So they don’t have the same language that you’re talking about. All you knew is that you had a flat tire, right? You did. You’re like, well, which path do I go down? It’s very muddy when you get in there. There’s a lot of bottlenecks and there’s a lot of things that can rub you the wrong way. And no wonder why advisors have to rewrite the whole work order when they get there.


KYLE: Yeah, so, and I know from my end, like that advisor was probably frustrated because he had to remove the op code and add a new you know, all this type of stuff, and so he was probably frustrated like this guy didn’t schedule it right. So I think probably first tactical tip, since we’re on Tactical Tip Tuesday, is figure out how to create common language for your service scheduler around like the top 20 most commonly scheduled things in your service. Alignment, tire issue, battery issue, brake issue, right, like just the general issue, and then maybe the actual code in the service scheduler says brake issue (please explain in notes) right? So what someone sees is like, oh, I have a break issue, oh I need to expand this, so I put it in notes right, and then all of a sudden that comes to the advisor. The customer feels confident that you’re able to listen and all of that type of stuff.


BRAD: So that’s perfect, because you could even track for a whole month of which are the most common issues that people come in that you have to rewrite as a service advisor. So there’s a couple ways you can do that to figure that out, pulling your top 20 ROs and then also having them track how many they’ve had to rewrite when they came in. So I think that’s a fantastic tip. So what happened after you got there Kyle?


KYLE: So when I got there – and this is like super easy – tactical tip #2 is, if your advisors are not trained, like maybe you need to put a ding a bell or something that when a car rolls through the lane it’s like everyone’s butts are on fire and they need to get to the lane ASAP, right, because I pull in a big dealership, 3 lanes, and the advisors stay in their seats behind their computers all the way until I get to the front of a desk. And then I even had to pass the first desk because the guy goes, “Hey, how’s it going? Oh, he can help you over there,” and pointed me to the next advisor, which was another like 15 steps right? So I got no interaction, no engagement, no like “Hi, how are you doing today? Thanks for coming in.” I also had a scheduled appointment and they asked what they could do for me. I put the you know, year, make, model, color of my car in there. So, all that preparation, all of the opportunity to surprise and delight and make sure that I was cared for as a customer, broken down right there. So now everything that they were doing was recovery mode at that point, right.


BRAD: So it’s very, very hard. You have to hire nice people and people that are kind of outgoing in those positions to do that, because that’s very hard to teach. Right. It’s a very hard field to teach. So it usually comes naturally. So I know, after you got the advisor there and you got to stuff scheduled, what other issues did you run into my friend? 


KYLE: Well, I’m going to give you one good thing. After kind of like we got the name the advisor knew who I was. Every interaction following he used my name in common speech. He was like “Hey, Kyle,” and continued to use my name. So I really appreciated that. That felt good to me like he was paying attention at minimum, like looking up the RO before he came and sat to talk to me. But it was tough because he had asked, you know, “What’s the best way to contact you?” I said via text and I just said, “Hey, update me. We’re headed to lunch.” I had the family all there and we had our other car, so we’re ahead of the lunch and “Hey, I might come back, you know, after lunch to pick it up or see what’s happening.” Well, it was 1 hour and 20 minutes later. We went and got our food, went to a park, sat down, ate our food. 1 hour and 20 minutes later we still hadn’t heard from them. So I decided to shoot a text. “Hey, just want to see is there an update on what’s going on?” No answer. 10 minutes later, I pick up the phone. The other advisor answers the phone and says, “Oh, I can’t see in that advisor’s system,” which I think in this day and age, like every advisor has to be able to see everything, because anyone that answers the phone should be able to give answers. So he says, “Great, I’ll have him give you a call back.” We wait 10 minutes, let the kids play at the park. 10 minutes goes by, nothing happens. I’m like, shoot, so we decide to just go past the place. So now it’s another 25 minutes from when I sent the original text that I have no response from the dealer and I get there and the advisor is like, “Oh, he’s going to check on your car right now.” And so, you know, I get like things are busy at the dealership, things are constantly moving, but I also know that both times I went there there was no other car in the lane. So I kind of know how that feels and works. But like, let’s just say, things are busy. Even just a simple text like “Hey, it’s busy, get right back to you.” or “Hey, I’m going to go check on this,” right? It’s so easy to text in this day and age, like just give me some feedback in a 2-hour timeline. Please.


BRAD: Let’s stop there for a second, because if you didn’t see Brian Kramer’s article on the Domino’s pizza tracker on, you could go check that out. That’s what’s coming to automotive, to try to track and see how your car’s going through there. So I could definitely think that that’s super, super frustrating because you don’t know what’s going on and it like goes to this magical wonderland and you have no idea what happened to your vehicle, and they come to find out you needed a tire and they didn’t have it right? 


KYLE: And then he goes like, “I can’t get it until Tuesday, so you might want to call around and see if you can get someone else to do it today,”


BRAD: Which this is an ownership problem, right, that’s an accountability problem, where you brought him a problem. In the dealership I grew up in the automotive business in, if anybody brought you a problem, it doesn’t matter if it’s parts, service, sales, whatever, you own that problem. You’re the point of contact until that problem’s fixed. Right, it doesn’t matter if it’s your department, it doesn’t matter what it is. You own that problem until it’s fixed, because you only want one point of contact when there’s a problem like that, right? And so that guy should have owned that problem. Called around, found that found that tire for you, or at least had some options to do. I think this is all too common. I had the same experience with the local Dodge store here in Amarillo and had the same experience and I laid everything out and I went in there and I stayed there extra 30 minutes to train how I thought the process should be.


KYLE: Of course you did.


BRAD: Because I don’t want it to happen to anybody else! You know?


KYLE: And I was fighting that. I honestly was like, I can’t, like I didn’t want to overstep right, because like that’s just not in my place to be. But yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity, is what we’re trying to say. 


BRAD: So I know you guys are going to be out at NADA. I know Paul’s going to be hanging out with you a little bit. So if someone wants to reach out to you, I know you do a lot of great things with marketers and help helping dealerships raise up marketing people and looking through their marketing mix and their tech stack and stuff like that. How can they reach out to you Kyle if they want to reach out?


KYLE: Yeah, kyle@contagious (like a virus, but not a virus,), or you can find out what we do on or follow me on Linkedin or DM me or any of those types of things. So I love to have conversations at a minimum.


BRAD: And then I want to make sure we plug ASOTU. Go on there. It’s a great source of news to have some articles. It’s not your mundane like, oh God, this other newsletter. It’s fun, it’s interesting, they have really good information on there. So I want to plug that


KYLE: Yeah sign up for the free email! We send out a 5-day a week email and it’s super fun. It’s like bitesize content that you can kind of get that refresh at the beginning of the day, know what’s going on, keep your finger on the pulse and also, you know, if you if you read the Telling it Like it Is part so you can get a little laugh out of it as well. 


BRAD: There you go, man. I surely appreciate you coming on and you have a wonderful day. All right. 


KYLE: Thanks man. 


Haile Clifton

Haile Clifton

Haile is the Marketing Coordinator at Fixed Ops Digital. She has worked in Digital Media & Design for 6 years and helps with internal marketing and Drive Service Specials deployment at FOD.

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