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Easy Customer Service Solutions


In Pet The Dog: Simple Customer Service Solutions For You we’ve compiled the best tips we’ve spent years learning and testing in order to provide you with these user-friendly, real-world examples of lines you can use immediately with your customers. Whether you’re starting a new company or you’re already managing hundreds of employees, if you want instant trust from your customers this is the guide for you and you will see immediate results!



Lessons to Improve your Customer Experience

By Chris Collins

My name is Chris Collin and with eighteen years of proven success in one of the toughest industries around, I’ve built a reputation of being the #1 Expert in Fixed Operations and Service Trainer. People call me a consultant but I am more of a Fixer, Trainer and Coach. My passion for this industry helps produce RESULTS my clients never dreamed possible. In this E-book I’m going to write about customer service and why it’s so critically important to connect with your customers, or as I like to call it, pet the dog!

If your business has customers, you need great customer service and there’s absolutely no way around it! Yes, there are parts of the customer service job that can be annoying—explaining the same thing again and again is not always awesome. But, customer service can also be the best way for your team to learn about your customers!

Changing your employee’s attitudes around customer service can take a job that might have been considered insignificant and makes it a priority so your company can connect well and learn about the most important people in your business model – your customers!

A little bit of foreplay is always a good thing before jumping right into an act of intimacy. Whether you’re a lover, a surgeon, or a service advisor, a person needs to be able to relax around you, trust you, and feel comfortable with your motives before they feel good about surrendering their body, their loved one, or their beloved car to your care. Or their sick dog.

So let me start with start with a story that will explain why I use the title, “Pet The Dog.” When my first Bulldog, Rocky, was six years old, he got very sick. The Vet found a mass and after a biopsy he came back to my then-wife and I, and he told us, “Rocky has lung cancer.” My first reaction was I should have made him quit smoking cigars sooner.

The vet went on to explain, “That’s a very serious thing for a bulldog to have and it isn’t a surgery I would do. It’s a terminal thing and he has a very fast growing cancer.” “Is there anything that I can do?” I asked. He said, “There’s one Vet who comes in from the east coast three days a month. He can do the surgery and he’s had great results.”

After waiting weeks to meet with this Vet we finally we got an appointment. We were nervous as we arrived at the office at 10am. Well, animal hospital waiting rooms are even less fun than waiting for your car to be serviced. Your only entertainment is watching smelly, ailing, and unfriendly animals come and go and there’s certainly no free cappuccino machine. Two hours on pins and needles was disconcerting enough, but it only got worse when we finally met with the surgeon.

At 2:45pm, yup 2:45pm after arriving at 10am, they finally came out and ushered us into this little room. So you had Rocky sitting there, my ex-wife, Satan, next to him and then me and an empty chair.

I was expecting a warm and friendly pet-lover to come in and break the ice with Rocky and do a little hands-on assessment of his subject – the way a service advisor does a walk-around of a customer’s vehicle before turning it over to the technician. Boy, was I wrong. Rocky’s attempts at greeting the new guy in the room were completely ignored; this doctor was all business. He gave us a very professional rundown of the procedure and the risks, answered most of our questions, and then sent in the nurse to answer our questions about price and scheduling.

So Satan turns to me and she says, “That man is not going to touch my dog with a knife. He’s not a dog person.” I go, “What do you mean he’s not a dog person?” She retorted, “He came in here and sat down and never once acknowledged Rocky, petted him, nothing. He just came in and left. He’s not a dog person.”

Now I know from being in business that the best mechanic isn’t the guy that you want talking to customers. The best lawyer is rarely the guy you want talking to customers. But in this scenario you’ve got a doctor who flies all over the country, he’s at the top of his game, he’s constantly training and he’s on the edge of technology as far as surgery goes for animals. He’s away from home most of the month, he’s up all night, gets barely any sleep.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Rocky is a beloved member of the family who my wife and I love very much. This is where some romance, a little interest, a little concern would have been appreciated. We needed something that would comfort us and reassure us that he understood the emotional value of what we were consigning to his care.

So even though that surgeon is the best of the best and prides himself on being exceptional at what he does, he had a customer who didn’t want to do business with him because he didn’t connect to a loved one.

That’s what happens in our businesses every day. We don’t connect with customers about the stuff that matters, many times because we don’t pet the dog. It’s not about the commodity. It’s not about selling the hamburger, the car, the computer, whatever it is in your in the business of selling – it isn’t about that. It’s about the connection with people.

So Pet That Dog!

When a vehicle rolls into your shop, you need to think about it like it’s somebody’s sick puppy or their firstborn child and you’re the surgeon who is being entrusted with the life of their loved one. Now, there’s no need to be morose. In fact, to the contrary, you should have an upbeat and optimistic bedside manner! After all, you’re the one who is going to have this baby running better than ever when you give it back to them!

7 Tips to boost your CSI and build long-term relationships!

  1. Admire their vehicle. This isn’t rocket science. A few complimentary words will create good feelings from the start. “Great car! It won the Golden Calipers two years ago.” Or, “That wood grain dash is something I hardly ever see on this model and it’s really stunning with those leather seats.” Take an active interest. Even if they have a ’99 Outback with 300,000 miles and you can smell the oil burning at 20 paces, you can still tell them what a great car it was in its day and let them know some of the service issues they may face in the future.
  2. Engage customers and make them part of the process. We know it’s vital to acknowledge and greet customers cheerfully right away but don’t stop there! Invite them along for your walk-around and keep the conversation going, whether it’s about the car, the weather, or the ballgame. You’ll find when you show people that you’re interested in their car they’ll think of other questions or concerns they’ve been wondering about, which may lead to more service options or just a happy customer. Either way that positive connection is a win-win!
  3. Actually, pet the dog. Touch the car respectfully and tenderly run your finger along any scratches or other “bruises” and “injuries.” Do a thorough and gentle walk-around, the way you would want a doctor to examine your little girl. This will not only give them the comfort and feeling that you care, but it will also give you an opportunity to point out all of the little nicks that they don’t even know are there. They could have a cracked tail light from being clipped in a parking lot three weeks ago and still not be aware of it in which case they will think it happened while it was in your service department. My service advisors will sometimes even offer to buff out minor scratches for free or offer to throw it in if they get the brake job too. When you pet the dog, you put customers at ease with your TLC and professionalism, eliminate their skepticism about service departments came, and make them receptive to additional benefits and services you can offer them.
  4. Open the hood. Look over the engine, check the fluids and filters, touch the belts and hoses, and get them interested with some little maintenance tips from the expert. No one else has does this for them so this will set you above the competition in their hearts and minds and they will remember that!
  5. Ask questions. Open-ended and direct questions are excellent for educating car owners and giving them trust and confidence in you. For example, you might ask, “What P.S.I. do you keep your tire pressure at? Do you use the same pressure in the front and rear, winter and summer? Do you check your tire pressure every time you fill up?” Never make them feel incompetent if they don’t know the answer. Take that as another opportunity to help! Tell them, “You’re not alone, most people don’t. But you can increase the life of your tires and the safety of your family if you just think about it every time you fill up.”
  6. Look for hints about their personality and interests. When you’re walking around their cars look for clues that can give you a personal connection. The car might have vanity license plates or big chrome rims you can inquire about. A bumper sticker might reveal that your kids go to the same school as yours or indicate some of the places they’ve traveled to. Jump in: “So you’d rather be fishing, huh? Me too. Where do you like to fish?” It’s just that easy.
  7. Look underneath the vehicle. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll find plastic bags, ropes, dragging skid plates, and who knows what else. The customer will be very glad that you found it and it’s a small effort, but it’s one more thing that sets you apart from all of the mediocre service departments that are mostly all suffering from the same “roll ‘em in, roll ‘em out” mind set.

That’s all it takes to blow away the competition and watch your CSI soar. It doesn’t cost you a dime and you’ll save yourself the expense and bad will of customers thinking you scratched their paint, convert some small sales into bigger ones, and build a stable of loyal friends that will support you for a lifetime. So, go ahead…pet the dog!

-Chris Collins and Rocky

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