I noticed the headlight was out on my 2002 Jetta so I took it into the dealership to replace it. My car has 130k miles on it and like all of us with a few miles on us Ms. Jetta requires a little more upkeep than a newer vehicle. While I was there they pointed out several other issues that I need to address soon. I’m about to leave for a long road trip and asked the folks at the dealership to help me prioritize what should be done before the trip to ensure that I don’t break down en route and what repairs can wait until I return. They told me I’ve got a ball bearing that needs to be replaced and several belts that are on their last legs. When they mentioned replacing the serpentine belt - my eyes glazed over. What is it, what does it do, what happens if it breaks and how much will it cost me to fix were my questions. What I don’t have is a fat bank account nor am I an expert on car repair. What I needed was a good explanation of what needed to be done, when it should be done, why and how much will it cost me?
The dealership did something I applaud. They provided me with a complete written report of what my car needs, what should be high priority, what can wait and a cost estimate for each. The best part is that with each suggested repair came a written description of what it is, what it does, when and why it should be done - in plain English! It’s great customer service to explain to your customers what needs to be done in terms they can understand and tell them exactly how much it will cost them. This not only applies to auto repair shops but is applicable to any service business - the doctors office, the landscaper, the salon, furnace repair business, you name it!
Too often customers leave a service appointment more confused than when they arrived and in some cases leave feeling as though they have or are being ripped off! The skeptic may say that the auto repair dealer is just trying to get me to spend more money at their repair shop. No doubt it’s good for their business for me to take my car in for repairs and I will because they have built customer loyalty with me. They have not steered me wrong yet (excuse the pun) when it comes to maintaining my vehicle and have not tried in the past to force repairs on me that were unnecessary.
Building customer loyalty is critical to business success especially in these times. You can do the same by selling your customer what they need, what they can afford and explaining things to them in terms they can understand so they can make informed decisions. Eventually I will have to replace Ms. Jetta with a new vehicle and you can be certain I will purchase my next vehicle form this dealership because of the service I have received. In the meantime - she’ll be looking and driving fine with her new serpentine belt.