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Christine talks about the challenges techs face and how to overcome them, notably communication between the customer and technician, and suggests focusing on slowing down to get all the information.

Tactical Tips Episode #6 Transcript

BRAD: Hey, Driving Sales. It’s Brad back here with another Tactical Tip. I have Christine Mitchell. She is THE Car Lady Canada, and she’s a good friend of mine. She actually runs a room on Clubhouse also every Tuesday, so she’s fantastic. She actually used to be a technician, and so I really wanted to get her on here to give some perspective from the technician’s point of view and then maybe even talk about a little bit of a new concept that we’ve been discussing lately. So Christine, can you share a little bit with us on the technician side of things?

CHRISTINE: Thanks so much, Brad. It’s my pleasure to be here today. Yeah, what I wanted to say about the technician side is that, as a former technician, I can tell you now – we want to fix your car properly the first time, but so many times, a work order would come to your bench, and it just doesn’t have enough information. Now that could be twofold, right? A communication challenge between the customer and the advisor or a communication problem between the advisor and the tech. Typically everything’s put in the computer. So that’s usually not one or the other, but a lot of customers, when they come in, they see service as such an inconvenience and a pressure on their time that they drop the keys off, the advisor wants to do the walkaround, wants to get the questions, wants to get the communication. The customer could be in a hurry for whatever reason, jumps in your shuttle. He’s gone. Now I get the work order on my bench. The customer’s got a leak or a squeak or a rattle, not a driveability issue, but a sensory problem. Right, smell it, see it, feel it. We get in the car. We can’t duplicate it. There’s nothing worse. At the end of the day, I’m sure you’ve been there, you go and pick your car up at the end of the day, “oh, we couldn’t find anything. There’s nothing wrong with it.” And you know there is. But if we take the extra bit of time, because if the technician has the information, we can diagnose and correct. But we got to get that communication piece going. So to slow down a little bit, slow down in that drive-through, right, welcome your guests, communicate with your guests. I love a good walkaround. If the customer doesn’t have time for that, at least some sort of a test drive maybe with them. What do you see? What do you feel? What speeds? How was the temperature like outside? And you know, what’s the smell like? Is it when you’re just on the highway or all the time? These kinds of questions, if you can get that answered, a tech can get a lot farther in getting the vehicle fixed properly the first time.

BRAD: I think that’s beautiful because, you know, we’re taught when we’re selling cars, slow down so that you can speed up. So if you slow down and you ask those quick questions, but let the customer know what you’re doing. 

CHRISTINE: And when it’s gonna be done!

BRAD: Yeah! So, be transparent about that. “This is part of the process so that I can get this done as quickly as possible for you. I’m looking out for you. I want to make sure this vehicle is safe when you leave here. Right, that’s my job. My job is to make sure this vehicle is safe for you.” Now get as much information about this and ask as many questions as you need to provide that story. You know, we’re looking for a story. Just like we’re looking for a story on the sales side. 

CHRISTINE: And if you have an intermittent problem, give us a chance to make it right.

BRAD: Yeah. So, so I think that’s a beautiful thing. That kind of goes into what Damian Boudreaux was talking about today, is that advisor’s job is to be a bright light in that person’s day because they’re already there for a reason that they’re not happy about usually. Right. Yeah, so you have to have that friendly person that’s going to make sure you’re safe when you’re leaving there. 

CHRISTINE: And that brings us to marketing, right?

BRAD: Exactly. And you said something that we were talking about a statement. That’s pretty interesting. So drop it on these Driving Sales guys.

CHRISTINE: Are you ready? Now it’s not very PC. So that’s why I didn’t post it on LinkedIn, but here it is: service isn’t sexy. Showroom sales are sexy. Here’s what got me thinking about this, watching commercials on TV of vehicles, you know, they’re driving at night on a road. There’s nobody else out there. You know, you’re just alone. You’re Matthew McConaughey, you know what I mean? You’re camping, you’re this, you’re that. Service is a guy standing there with a wrench because service isn’t sexy, right. It’s harder to sell, and when that person has any type of emergency or mechanical issue, they’re going to be right back to service. But we need to position ourselves in a way that’s transparent, informative, and educational. Preventative maintenance, first and foremost, retention, right, but we also want to make sure that we’re transparent with what exactly we’re doing, when the car is going to be done, and how you’d like to be communicated with. So if you could market those things in service, it would spin it in a different light than, “Oh my God, I need an oil change.” Right. We want to make it more attractive, let’s say.

BRAD: I have a saying that the people make fun of me for, but no one gets upset when they’re in line at Krispy Kreme because they can see the little donut go down to the conveyor tray, they can see what’s happening, they know that it’s getting taken care of, and so I think if we can figure out how to add more transparency. You look at companies like Speedy, who are adding cameras in every bay of their old change places. So that’s why Jiffy Lube, in those places like that, you can watch your car get worked on right. So I think what you’re going to see down the road is OEMs start to take notice of that and start to redesign dealerships to provide more transparency when it comes to that. Now there’s some things you know, you don’t want to see a technician banging on something.

CHRISTINE: Well, people don’t know what they’re looking at. Here’s what people want to know. You and I both know what people want to know. When can I bring it in? How much is it going to cost? When am I going to get it back? If you could make that attractive, because service isn’t sexy, it’s essential. If you could make those three things attractive, you do better than getting, currently, I think it’s only like 30% of customers who buy from a dealer return for service, which is why when we do the events, we try to make it sound great. 

BRAD: Yeah, if you take a look at it nationwide in the US, it’s a $642 billion industry, and dealerships capture 12%.

CHRISTINE: 12?! Yeah, it’s sad, right, because I’ve serviced for a dealer in my whole life. I believe in that experience, but you have to sell the experience right. People don’t care that it’s a tie rod end. They just don’t. When is when can you get it in? How much is it going to cost? When am I going to get it back? You can highlight those things like we do at our know your car night events when we host them for dealerships’ after-sales seminars. You do more service. It’s a guarantee.

BRAD: Yeah, I think that’s spot on. Christine, if someone wants to reach out to you and get in contact with you, we’re going to put your contact information on the bottom of the screen. I know you’re more than happy to help. You and I’ve talked multiple times about different things, so I’m going to put your contact information down there. Please reach out to her if you want to talk to her. I want to thank you for jumping on here and taking a little bit of your time, I know you’re a busy lady, to share with us today, and I appreciate it. And hello from Driving Sales. Hopefully, next time you can come out here.

CHRISTINE: I’d love it. I’d love it, and thanks so much for asking me today. It’s been my pleasure.

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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