As a dealership, it’s important to train your service advisors just as much as your sales reps on how to create customer relationships. In this training, the focus should be on using gratitude and positivity with the customer, as well as creating intentional processes to make the customer feel welcomed.
Tactical Tips Episode #19 Transcript
BRAD: All right, Tactical Tip Tuesday. We’re back again. We’re here with David O’Brien. He’s the president and CEO of Quantum5. I’m super excited to have you here today man.
DAVID: Hey, no, that’s awesome and I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for finally having me on.
BRAD: Yeah, so we’re going to talk about some really neat stuff that you have kind of planned for us today. We’re all about tactical tips and trying to figure out how’s the best way to have an experience in the service drive. So you were telling me that really starts with choosing what experience you want.
DAVID: Yeah, I think we have to make conscious decisions, right, because let’s just acknowledge a couple of things that are really easy to admit to right? In service we don’t have lots of downtime, so we’re busy people and you know, it’s not like we’re dealing with customers that walk in with roses and chocolates when they come to visit us. Sometimes they’re on a tow truck, sometimes they’re just frustrated. So I think you have to make a conscious decision really early every single day that says you know, “I’m going to find my positivity today,” “I’m going to find my attitude of gratitude,” because here’s the deal – we get to do this. We don’t have to do this. So every day I get to go take care of customers because I get to create an experience for them that makes them go “okay, this business is getting better. It’s not like it used to be. You’re different,” and I love it that advisors are at the front of that.
BRAD: Yeah, I think that’s a fantastic point. You just allowed me to drop this – so there’s a Texas country singer and he’s one of my favorites. His name is Ray Wiley Hubbard and he has a little saying that says “the days I keep my gratitude above my expectations, those are pretty good days.” So I think that’s kind of funny that that’s the first time I got to drop this on the podcast. But excellent music if you’re interested in that. I think one thing that we don’t take into consideration is that’s an opportunity to change someone’s day, right, when they come in and they’re frustrated and they’re coming in there. What’s the ROI of you changing someone’s day like that? You can’t really measure that, right, but it could be massive. There’s massive potential on that side.
DAVID: Yeah, I know you’re right on Brad. I mean seriously, you know, I think sometimes I try to try to put myself in their place, but for me, it’s a visit to a pharmacy and you know what happens after I get through that long line, or it’s a visit to the golf course and I leave a club behind and somebody actually goes way out of their way to make sure I get it back. The littlest things when you’re in moments of automotive ownership frustration can be the kind of thing that makes all the difference in the world to a customer. And it changes retention, retention to the dealership, and retention to me, the person that takes care of them.
BRAD: So what are some different structures of processes that dealerships have to kind of, you know, help with that whole customer experience?
DAVID: Well, you know, that’s the first thing I always suggest to dealers right when I talk to them is that you’ve got to have a process and then you got to know how you’re going to make it work, and the process has to be intentional versus accidental. Right. So, by the process being intentional, I think that in any dealership we’ve got to take the time to go “what do we want the customer experience to be when they come to our dealership?” And that helps you then sit with a whiteboard or flip chart paper or whatever it is, right, but it helps you lay out “okay, do I want to have somebody out there that’s greeting all my customers? Do I want to let them just drive up and advisors go out there when they’re available? What do I want that experience to be? Do I want my advisors to meet them out there? Do I want them to come inside?” Let’s tell a quick story, if I can, about a Mercedes dealership here in Phoenix that is the #1 Mercedes service CSI dealer in the nation. Okay, and their little claim to fame that makes this experience is wonderful: Valet meets you outside, brings you into your advisor’s desk, you go through the process of understanding your concerns and everything. But what’s really cool is when it comes time for your loaner. They look at you and they go “so Brad, you’re normally driving SUV. Would you like to have a convertible for the day?” And they open up this folder that’s got like key hooks on it and there’s the keys to the loaners that they have available and they put it in front of you and they go “or would you like to have a sedan for the day, but if you want to convertible? Do you want to pick something up at the store today? Would you like to have an SUV for the day?” Right, and the littlest thing of I’m going to make giving you your loner a choice and I’m going to make it this experience with this velvet-back thing with little hooks on it that stands on my desk and I kind of present it to you and you take the key, all right, and then it’s given to the Valet who brings the loaner up for you while you sign the loaner paper. It’s just if we think intentionally about what’s my process right, who knows what we might do.
BRAD: You know, you just made me think of is – I’m so crazy – I would have been like “you got that red dress on. Let me give you this red one right here.” It’s magic. We want everything matching, you know. So yeah, that’s how my brain works. Because I think it’s about thinking you really want, whenever you’re looking at the service advisors, you really want to hire nice people, number one, right? It’s a big bonus if they’re creative on top of it, right, and creative about being nice to people, and I think it’s important some of those things like you can’t train being nice. You can’t train creativity, but there are a lot of behavioral stuff and people skills and stuff like that that you can train. So what sort of like training regiment do you focus on in the service drive, because they’re usually the last ones to get training out of the whole store.
DAVID: Isn’t that crazy. They talk to more customers in a day than the sales rep does in a month and we put them at the lowest place on the totem pole of who could get development. You know, specifically, I love to help advisors really dig deep into understanding people, right, because advisors have to get past that first layer of “this isn’t my favorite place to be bringing my car for a repair.” And so, as we help advisors, I like to have them think about okay, what if I could understand the psychology? Like I’ve met you on 2 or 3 different occasions now, right, and anybody who watches this knows that people-focus is not something you choose. It’s just you are naturally a relational person. You naturally want to focus on how do I connect and build relationships? Well, guess what, if I present you with a whole lot of analytical and facts during the service experience, as opposed to being relational and some facts, I do better. If I only present facts and I stay too serious, you go “yeah, I’m servicing my car someplace that doesn’t even seem to really want to have a relationship with me.” Does that makes sense?
BRAD: Might as well be doing it with a robot, right.
DAVID: So, yeah, and the other thing I think we have to do is I think we train advisors to be really good at diagnostic questions, but I think it’s important to do some relational questions. Let me give you an example. Earlier you mentioned to me we both had our dogs in the area today as we were getting ready to do some filming. Right, you said “I had my lab in here, but I sent him away”. Well, if I’m with a customer and he says, “yeah, I have a black lab,” one of the things I want to do is look at that customer and go “wow, those are beautiful dogs. Is that your first one? I’d give you always had labs. Is that your favorite dog? What’s its name? Tell me a little bit about it.” Right, and when I seek to create that, I ask some better questions, and build relationships. Think about the deposits I make so that 2 or 3 hours from now, if I have to make a phone call about their MPI results, how much more comfortable are those MPI phone calls for advisors? So I really try and dig into what do those human connection skills look like, because in today’s digital world, I gotta tell you, it is just critical, in my opinion, that we have to help those advisors with that.
BRAD: You know, that’s a great point, because I can’t tell you like if you figure something like that out, that is such valuable information, especially if that customer’s upset, because what you’re able to do then, if they’re upset. When I worked in a Volkswagen store, we had dog leashes, dog collars. If I drop a little dog collar in with your service ticket on the way home and say, hey, this is for so-and-so or for, you know, my dog Cash, if this is for Cash, I just wanted him not to be left out or something like that. You think that person is not going to tell everybody that you did something like that when they come there? And I think at the end of the day that’s the thing is we lose a lot of service business after those first initial appointments, and so the only way to retain people is to strengthen relationships and I think that’s what Quantum5 is really good at – help us strengthen relationships with their consumers. I surely appreciate you coming on today. If someone wants to contact you, how do they reach out David?
DAVID: You know what? I’m that guy who’s like the guy from LifeLock right. I’m not going to give out my social but I still give out my cell phone number. So anybody, anybody that wants to just get better at what they do, no strings attached, can call me at (480) 452-6868. I’m happy to help anybody in the business, as you know.
BRAD: What’s your email too? Just in case.
DAVID: DOB (like Date of birth) @quantum5.ai.
BRAD: All right, perfect. I appreciate you coming on today man. I hope you have a great day and we’ll catch up.
DAVID: Hope the dog snoring didn’t make anybody crazy.
BRAD: It was perfect. We’ll see you at NADA.
DAVID: Look forward to it.