3 Ways to Help Your Service Writer Leave a Good First Impression on Customers

As we’ve stated on numerous occasions, your Service Writer, by far, has one of the most important jobs at your dealership. That’s because they communicate with more customers in your dealership than anyone else.

In fact, according to dealership industry expert Chuck Marzahn, your average Service Writer makes about 20 touches per day, which impressively, amounts to 5,120 touches per year! In comparison, your sales rep may only make three touches per day, which equates to only 768 touches per year.

This means that ensuring your Service Writer can make a good first impression is vital for the well-being of your entire business. To get them to that stage, Marzahn recommends establishing a thorough appointment-setting process that your Service Writer can easily follow in order to leave a good first impression.

He suggests including the following steps:

1. Collect Customer Information

Customer communication and collect informationWhen a customer initially speaks with your Service Writer, it’s imperative for the Service Writer to collect as many details about the necessary service work as possible. That way, they can make sure everyone on your service team meets the customer’s expectations.

In many cases, whenever a customer calls your shop for the very first time, they do it primarily to find out your price – because they want to compare it to the rates offered by other shops in the area. That’s why they’re very likely to hang up and call someone else by the time they learn the magic number. So, it’s within your best interest to ensure that they don’t hang up.

Your Service Writer’s job then should be to turn the customer’s question about pricing into a conversation about the actual repairs that need to be done. To make this shift, your Service Writer could simply start by asking: “What problems are you experiencing?” And go from there.

After asking all the necessary follow-up questions to get a clear picture of what needs to be done, your Service Writer should conclude the conversation with a sale: “Would you like to set an appointment for this problem?” By that point, the customer should answer with a “yes.”

2. Request a List of To-Do Items from the Customer

Request a List of To-Do Items from the CustomerMarzahn recommends that your Service Writer requests a list of to-do items from the customer. That, way, you can collect all of the information up-front, so it can be easily scheduled.

Your Service Writer can either ask the customer for this information on the spot, during the initial call – or they can email the customer a short questionnaire (if they agree to it), so that the customer can provide these details on their own time. The latter approach is arguably more beneficial because it allows your Service Writer to accomplish the following:

  • Gather more information from the customer and ensure greater accuracy
  • Continue the dialogue with the customer following the initial phone call, establishing a stronger relationship with them
  • Get the customer to write down the exact services needed, in their own words, giving them more control over their appointment; with more time to think, the customer may request additional services from you that they might’ve otherwise forgotten

3. Ensure Information Accuracy and Expediency

Ensure Information Accuracy and ExpediencyTo provide your techs with as much information as possible, your Service Writer needs to be able to capture customer information quickly and accurately.

  • Accuracy. When taking notes during the initial conversation with the customer, your Service Writer should feel comfortable to ask follow-up questions, so that everything they write is as clear as possible. To ensure further accuracy, they should email customers the previously-mentioned questionnaire.

For additional clarity, all customer requests should start with “Customer states” and end with “Inspect and advise.”

Finally, your Service Writer should include labor lines for each job, so that they can be scheduled ahead of time. This will also make estimates easier and give your technicians a target as to what needs to be done.

  • Expediency. For best results, your Service Writer should enter all customer information into some form of dealer management system (like IDS Astra G2, for example). If you keep well-managed, up-to-date info in your system, your techs and everyone else in your dealership would be able to access it at any time, whenever necessary.

Give Your Service Writer All the Tools They Need

At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility – as the Owner or General Manager – to make sure your Service Writer leave a great first impression. As such, it’s also your responsibility to give your Service Writer the tools needed to succeed, including a solid system for retaining customer information. If you want to learn more about helping your Service Writer thrive, download this guide.

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