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Ways To Boost Customer Service And Drive Referrals To Your Dealership

By Expert Author: Eric Strauss

As the recession slowly continues to mend, automotive sales have seen a marked increase over the last few years. However, what many dealerships now face is the knowledge that most business comes strictly from referral as opposed to direct advertising. Since the crash of the market in 2008, consumers have grown weary and distrustful of large corporations, and have come to rely heavily on the quality of a particular dealership's customer service reputation.

To ensure that your dealership isn't losing valuable customers to poor customer service, you should take the time to read internet reviews and update the customer service policies of your dealership. Here are a few tips that dealerships could use to promote customer service and generate much needed referrals.

1. Understand the Customer's Schedule

One of the biggest reasons that customers visit dealerships is to have their car serviced. However, servicing can become an issue when customers don't get off work until after a dealership closes. To help offset this, many dealerships are beginning to offer extended evening hours to allow customers to better fit maintenance into their schedules.

2. Connect With Them

Most dealerships are familiar with the promotional e-mail link and offers. However, this can go a lot deeper than just offering them discounts on new cars. How about linking with them to offer reminders for oil and filter changes, recalls, and other updates that are valid to them personally. Customers, particularly busy professionals, often greatly appreciate a dealership that takes the time to send polite and friendly service reminders. Small gestures such as this make customers feel appreciated and catered to, and those feelings are the ones that customers will share with their friends.

3. Offer WIFI Services

In today's highly technological age even fast food restaurants offer customers free WIFI access. Nearly every customer who comes through the dealership will be carrying a smart phone or tablet. Allowing customers to check e-mail, stream videos, or browse online while they are waiting for their car to be serviced is a great way to set yourself apart. WIFI is also a great tool to generate traffic from parents who are seeking to buy a new car. Parents who are car shopping will be overwhelmingly thankful to be able to shop while their kids watch movies or play on YouTube. This allows them to shop without having the problems of calling a babysitter or worrying about their kids running around the car lot.

4. Maintain an Active Online Presence

Dealerships must understand that customers talk online and will share their experience, particularly if it wasn't a good one. More and more companies have realized the importance of having an active online presence that replies to customer complaints or expresses appreciation for accolades. Most online consumers recognize that dealerships can't please everyone one hundred percent of the time, however, what they do recognize is that an active online presence signals a dedication to customer service.

5. Keep Things Clean

Part of getting referrals for your dealership is understanding that customers regard cleanliness as an important part of customer service. If your dealership is unorganized with dirty bathrooms and a musty odor, customers will not only stop coming, but will warn their friends, families, and online connections to stay away from your dealership. A clean modern dealership looks professional and profitable.

6. Establish Customer Service Training Courses

Proper employee training and skill development are a huge part of making customers happy. There are hundreds of jokes about car salesman and many of them are created out of bad experiences. Having employees take customer service training courses can really help to break the car salesman reputation of your dealership and turn it into a reputation for professionalism, friendliness, and commitment to customer service.

However you decided to update your customer service policies; simply understanding that excellent customer service will lead to referrals for your dealership is a step in the right direction.

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