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Service is an "elbow to elbow" people business. As I (we) have traveled and observed so many Dealership Service Operations, there is still one overriding factor that every Customer Service Organization must understand and adhere to. This is people business.
You can have perks, loyalty programs, free coffee, wifi, marble covered floors and chandeliers... and none of that makes a difference if you fail to take care of your most valuable asset... the Customer.
To be clear, I am not saying that Customers do not want perks. We all do. CRM companies sprang to life and have done very well since the industry recognized the need to stay in touch and recapture Lost Souls and Lost Sales.
Loyalty and Rewards programs have filled the gap between "have a seat and a cup of coffee" to "for every visit you'll get_____ and _______." Customers get it.
The reason we have seen a defection of Customers (even though there are Factory Sponsored Free Maintenance Programs) is the People they do Business with coupled with the Professionalism in How they Deliver said Service.
You can't train Friendliness or Caring.
Here is the proof. When was the last time you went somewhere...say a local dry cleaners or a restaurant...and were treated poorly...maybe you weren't greeted properly...or the clerk or waiter didn't smile, answered all of your questions with grunts, one word answers and frowns...all the while staring at the computer screen or order pad...and then said to you "Come back and see us again. We have a rewards program...here is a brochure."
That brochure hit the round file the second you had a chance to do so and for good reason. There is no way (EVER) you would go back there.
Things do not a great Service Experience make!
People do make the Service Experience!
By Leonard Buchholz