Perhaps nowhere in your dealership is the element of trust as important as in the service department. When customers drop off a vehicle for maintenance, they’re entrusting you with one of their most valuable possessions, as well as their future safety, once they get back on the road. They’re also trusting you won’t take advantage of them by recommending unnecessary additional work, charging them more than you should, or taking too long to complete the job.
Every time a customer sets foot in the service department, you have the opportunity to either strengthen your customer relationships or destroy them. The outcome depends on how you handle two things: reliability and efficiency.
Reliability in the service department means delivering what you say you’ll provide for your customers and doing so in a way that makes them feel secure and taken care of. Efficiency means achieving those things in a reasonable time frame and at minimal cost — of time, effort, and money — to the customer.
And as it turns out, one area where reliability and efficiency intersect and where too many dealers continue to get it wrong is key control.
Boosting Reliability and Efficiency with Key Control
Poor key control can destroy a customer relationship and damage your reputation in an instant. If you rely on a publicly accessible pegboard for key storage and a manual logbook for recording who is checking out keys and when, you’re depending on the honor system as the only safeguard for your customers’ vehicles.
That’s a disaster waiting to happen and a recipe for vehicle theft, abuse, or damage. There can be no reliability without accountability, and without a key control system that tracks and reports key status, you’re at a serious disadvantage in holding your employees accountable.
In terms of efficiency, consider that, without a proper key control solution in your dealership, there are probably numerous unaccounted-for keys floating around the sales floor, the lot, or the service department at any given moment.
How much of your time (and, more importantly, your customers’ time) do you waste searching for lost keys? Every minute wasted lowers customer satisfaction and boosts the perception that your dealership is incompetent. Bad perceptions of your business too often translate to negative word of mouth and bad reviews online, damaging your reputation and potentially costing you future revenue.
With a system in place to track and account for keys, you won’t be left scrambling to locate a key long after work on a vehicle has been completed.
The Value of Trust
Customer trust is intangible, hard to win, and easy to lose. But it also carries great value. Consumers, especially vehicle owners, tend to stick with a service department they feel they can trust.
Implementing a proper key control solution is an investment, but it’s an investment that will quickly pay dividends in your service department by boosting reliability and efficiency.
If you can nail down those two aspects of the customer experience, you’ll be on your way to building long-lasting customer relationships — not destroying them.