November '19

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116 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S Customer Service in the Service Department To survive and thrive for the long term, dealerships must put a priority on the service operations in order to keep customers in the cycle to become repeat buyers. By Don Tipton Don Tipton is president of DTC Retail Consulting based in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. He is a speaker, trainer and consultant with almost 35 years of RV and automotive experience. Tipton has conducted training workshops for many state and local associations and is often an invited speaker for 20 Groups. For information, call 803-917-9991. With all of the pressures of running the service department, it's too easy to lose focus on the purpose of having a service department in the first place – to keep customers happy so they will want to buy another RV at some future point. Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series on customer service in the service department. Part 2 will run in the upcoming December issue. I 'd like to start off this month's column with two important definitions: Customer: A customer is an individual or business that purchases another company's goods or services. Most public-facing businesses com- pete with other companies to attract customers. Service: An act of helpful activity, to help or aid. Useful, to make fit for use, repair or restore to condition for service. With all the pressures of running the daily activities of an RV service department, it is really easy to lose focus on the primary reasons for having a service department in first place. Several good years of sales, a booming economy, decent fuel prices and many folks retiring early (and not ready to sit at home) have people on the move, living out their dreams to see the country and beyond, carrying their temporary (or full-time) home with them. Couple this boom with a real shortage of technicians and it creates a near- impossible task of the service department trying to please everyone. Make no mistake, the service department's primary function is to keep customers in the "cycle" to become a buyer again for the second, third or fourth time. This is referred to as the "life cycle of a customer". The focus cannot be all about the first-time buyer. Next, the service department is a great source to bring a new customer into the cycle by pur-

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