In today's world, first impressions are everything and surely an important part of any retail business. In an age where car owners are more savvy and discerning than ever, your facility needs to look right to augment the entire customer service aspect of your operation.
In the past 10 years or so, I have seen lots of dealers spending millions of dollars on high-end facilities that look more like restaurants than service departments. In the past, if a waiting area had a water cooler and an old pot of lukewarm coffee, that was high living. But, now there are dealerships out there with massage therapists on site, a cafe with food and beverages, big screen TVs, free Wi-Fi access and interactive kiosks--even a hair salon and get this--a health club! That's right, dealerships are going over the top to provide their customers with the finest amenities available as they wait to have their cars repaired.
So, why are dealerships investing so much money into their service departments, waiting rooms, showrooms, shops and collision centers nationwide, because it surely isn't inexpensive? In simple terms, it's all about creating an image that will impress your customers. Some call it that "wow" factor.
Now, we all know that looking good is important, but it's surely not enough. If you have a facility that looks top-tier, your customers are going to expect exemplary customer service across the board. In a way, you are now obligated to do everything first class, because you have created expectations in the minds of the customer by the way your service department looks.
If a customer comes into a service department that looks like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, they expect that you will answer the phone promptly and correctly, welcome customers punctually and with zeal, repair their vehicles right the very first time while keeping them in the loop during the entire process. If your-your facility say high-quality, you need to do all of these things, because the customer service and the facility go hand-in-hand.
The ultimate goal for sprucing up or modernizing your service department and waiting room is to get customers to talk about your facility, in addition to your amazing customer service. You want them to brag enthusiastically about you after the experience and tell their friends about it in glowing terms. In today's world of social media, a bad reputation will travel faster than a good one, so looking good and impressing your clients as a result should be a major priority for any service department.
Co-Founder and CEO, AutoBody-Review.com
Curtis has over 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. He is regarded as a leader of innovation with expertise in consumer experience, consumer engagement, and CSI analytics. Follow Curtis on Twitter, Facebook,, and LinkedIn