October '19

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60 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2019 the bad review. They may forget they put it up out of anger and may take it down, or, better yet, give you a good rating. They may return for further services because you listened and took action. There are simple strategies for adding positive feedback, which help combat a bad review. Encourage your customers to fill out a survey before they leave that you can use on your website. If they were very satisfied with your work or an employee at your shop, tell them you'd appreciate it if they would take a moment to share their experience on your Facebook page. Another way to add positive feedback would be to have your customers fill out a survey and ask if you could use them on the testimonial section of your website. If you don't have a testimonial section, it may be a good time to add one to display all the positive feedback when a customer is browsing your site. If you're both retail-based and service dealerships, understand that you have a taste of what hoops dealerships must jump through to keep certain customers satisfied. If your shop fails to return a car on time or screws up an install, the dealership will take the heat. They'll get dinged on their CSI, receive negative web reviews, and could quite possibly give you the boot. This could very well trickle down to the manufacturer rep as well, which could cause them to send an email blast and a scary letter to dealerships, telling them not to install certain products. If shops around the country actively work on addressing issues, it could help us grow as a whole. Remember, if a customer Googles an accessory they want, they can see reviews from all over the country. Aside from all the negative, there's an optimistic way to look at a bad review. Someone is voicing their opinion about your company and bringing an issue to your attention. Read what they're saying and do some digging on how to fix the problem so it won't happen again. Address the problem and be responsive so people can see you are actively taking responsibility. If you have a lot of positive reviews and address the one negative review, this will stand out to potential customers. It shows that you take your business seriously and are very involved in keeping a customer happy. People can spot when a certain bad review is unfair, especially when a business has nearly a five-star rating. And addressing the unfair review may make the person posting the review think twice. They may be happy that you listened and, again, may remove the bad rating down the road or once their issue is fixed. FIXING IT WITH THE DEALERSHIP When an issue arises from an unhappy customer coming through one of your dealerships, you'll have to implement a strategy, because the dealer doesn't want to play middleman. If you're not proactive here, you will not only hurt the dealership- customer relationship, but put future busi- ness from that store, or even the entire dealer group, in jeopardy. The first thing you must do is communi- cate what's happened to their sales rep. The sales rep must make it a priority to talk to the service department, managers involved, salesman or even all three and get as much information on the issue as possible. Work as a team to resolve the issue for the customer. The dealer doesn't want to be left alone in a time of need. They sold your product with confidence—even if they gave the customer the wrong info in order to make the sale. The customer doesn't know this, as they just want the product they paid for. You can't point fingers as most likely you're already looking like the bad guy, so you have to work together to find a way to make the customer happy. If you're in a bind from the sales depart- ment relaying the wrong info on your product, set up a sales training session. This shows you're taking responsibility on your end. Most will want to listen to what you have to say so that they're not stuck in the same uncomfortable situation again. If the situation at hand deals with a scheduling error, visit the service depart- ment and get a copy of the "we owe" form before you walk into the front. The "we owe" is what the front end turns into ser- vice, which will likely help head-off the potential for several people playing phone tag by the time it reaches you. There's also an optimistic way to look at these uncomfortable situations with dealer- ships. First, this is your salesperson's golden opportunity to show their dealership that they will be there when they need them. Even if the customer who bought the car refuses to be satisfied—there are some people who will never be pleased, no matter what—you were there to make it right. Remember, issues happen in every busi- ness. It's how you handle them that sepa- rates the strong from the weak. The weak fear conflict and avoid tough situations, while the strong approach the situation in person, if possible, knowing there's a solution to every problem. Courtney Leigh Pahlke and her brother are second-generation par tner s of their father's 44-year-old company, Top Cov- erage. Their locations service nearly 350 dealerships in Chi- cago and throughout Illinois, where they work hard to grow their father's empire. Learn more at Keeping Your Customers Satisfied When an issue arises from an unhappy customer coming through one of your dealerships, you'll have to implement a strategy, because the dealer doesn't want to play middleman.

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