With the current economic climate, when people spend their hard earned money, they want and expect a good service.
When that service fails, complaints can arise which may then lead to litigation which can have a serious financial impact on your business.
In the Automotive Industry, since any purchase is substantial, customer service is crucial. A potential customer is not only purchasing the vehicle from you in the first instance, but if they have a great experience then this will assist you in retaining that customer for future business such as on-going maintenance to the vehicle and future sales.
Set out below are a few ways to protect, develop and maintain your business. Many of the points may seem obvious but I am still surprised at the frequency of problems which occur and the motor dealer complaints which could be easily avoided by following the guidance below: –
- Keep good records
Maintain and keep a good paper record of the sale or transaction including any financial paperwork for credit, including the names of the sales people involved in the transaction.
Detailed records should be kept for at least 12 months (in respect of satisfactory quality claims), although a claim can be made anytime within 6 years from the date of the contract.
- Signing of paperwork
Ensure that the customer signs all the relevant paperwork in connection with the sale on your site.
- Physical inspection
A vehicle check list, signed by the customer when the customer takes the vehicle from your site is always useful, and can be used as contemporaneous evidence should the customer later claim unsatisfactory quality.
- A nominated “customer care” manager
Customers hate being passed from person to person, particularly if they have a complaint.
Have a nominated system with a customer care manager in place who deals with all complaints and customer issues.
Always listen to the complaint, without interruption, even if you think that the customer is wrong. Using active listening skills signals value and importance to your customers and incorporates a relaxed atmosphere.
- Body language
When speaking or listening to your customer, look them in the eye and be attentive. This makes the customer feel important and that you are seriously listening to their concerns with a view to resolving them.
- Honesty is the best policy
Be honest with the customer. If a mistake has been made by your dealership, own up to it. A quick and simple remedy may defuse and resolve any complaint instantly with little cost to your business. This will avoid the matter being dragged through months of expensive litigation which will result in you losing the customer for good.
If you are asked a question that you don’t immediately know the answer to, say so, explaining that you do not have the answers right now but you will investigate and get back to them.
- Return to the customer with any complaint promptly
Also ensure that any complaint is dealt with promptly, but do investigate the matter thoroughly in the first instance. You need to make sure that the answer you are providing is the correct one, so your position is then maintained throughout any complaint should the customer decide to take this further.
If you are unsure of your dealership’s legal rights on any customer complaint, BHW can provide you with a bespoke telephone/email helpline service tailored to your business which would enable you to obtain the necessary advice on any motor dealer complaint, together with your options.
Please contact Lisa Wanwright to discuss your dealership's needs on 0116 281 6223 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.