When Should You Kiss Your Customers?
Yes--KISS your customers.
Would they get freaked out?
So, thankfully I am talking about KISS as the acronym. Go ahead and put your chapstick away.
Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Now, I am not in love with the stupid part, but keeping it simple is necessary when talking to customers--especially customers looking to purchase a car.
How many times have we potentially talked a customer out of a car because we sent an email with too much, overly complicated, overly specific information. OR we were on the phone with a customer and over-answered questions which introduced new, more complex questions. It is time to apply KISS to our connections and conversations with our customers.
Here are some steps that will help guide your BDC or Internet Department towards the simple and effective way to communicate with your customers in an honest, transparent, and positive way.
There is always the discussion of whether scripts make your BDC sound….well scripted. That is why it is so important to have good scripts that are conversational and ask questions. On almost every forum or discussion group I am a part of, there are new as well as seasoned BDC managers looking for quality, interactive professional scripts. They are out there--some much better than others. Regardless of where you get them, you must always:
Make sure they reflect the tone of your dealerships and your customer. If you are in NYC, ya’ll would not fly like it does here in NC
Introduce the script to the rest of the BDC. Don’t only hand the script to your team and say “Go!” Train them on inflection, pace, and tone. And most importantly, train them on the importance of the “pause and listen.” How can you help your customer find the perfect car for them if you won’t listen to their needs and desires?
While scripts are important, it is never good to sound like you are scripted. Sounding natural always trumps reading off a paper. That is why the next step is so important.
Keep Conversation Practiced and Simple
No one wants to hear this, but the most effective way to Keep Things Simple is to practice your craft. If your only job is to converse with potential customers, you need to practice what you are going to say in any scenario. Trying to find words while attempting to set an appointment with a customer is the least effective way to communicate--and it makes you look unprepared. Take time every day to rehearse possible scenarios and conversations that could take place. The more rehearsed, the more confident. And confidence is very evident over the phone.
Practice your script until it becomes part of who you are. Then, practice answering potential questions. Brainstorm with your fellow co-workers to discuss all of the possible objections or questions, and then create excellent responses. This way you are prepared for 80% of all conversations. There will always be that 20% where you have to think on your feet. But the practicing will help prepare you for that as well.
Educate Educate Educate
In a past life I was a teacher. And we had a saying. “You can’t expect students to do it if you don’t teach it. And model it. And teach it again.”
If you want High School students to learn how to enter a classroom without acting like a pack of wild animals, you teach them how to walk into class. And you keep teaching it until everyone gets it. The same can be said of adults learning new concepts. How can you expect a behavior without explaining and modeling it first?
After a while, they get it. They know what is expected and they do it without thinking.
Makes sense, right?
We need to do the same in our dealerships. Teach your team exactly what you want them to do, practice it, evaluate it, and then remediate when needed. They are the front line of your dealership--they are the reputation, the voice, and the possibly the first point of contact with potential customers. The conversation they have, and how they react to and with customers, could make an amazing experience or turn a customer away.
Invest in your team--and invest in best practices. This investment almost always comes in the form of training.
This may seem overly simplistic, but these are the foundations for our communication skills. With so many new and innovative ways to interact with our customers, there are some basic realities that cannot be ignored. Innovation is awesome and exciting, but the basics are necessary to push innovation forward.