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5 Simple Customer Perks to Increase CSI

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A look at small, modern amenities that can keep your customers happy

A while back, Mark Leutzinger’s boss made some uncommon investments in customer amenities. At first, Leutzinger, the fixed operations director at My Auto Import Center in Muskegon, Mich., was a bit dubious.

Massage chairs? A free arcade video game? How, exactly, were those amenities going to drive customers to the service department?

These days, though, Leutzinger is no longer skeptical.

“People actually come in as couples and get a massage,” he notes. “And it’s amazing. We want them to come in. That’s why we have Big Buck Hunter and things like that.

“We want this to be a destination, so to speak.”

These days, he notes, consumers expect the businesses they utilize to provide stellar customer service, whether that means being open on Saturdays, communicating with them via text messages, or even investing in $1,500 massage chairs.

And, so many businesses concern themselves with providing impeccable customer service that dealerships have no choice but to try and keep pace.

“You know, for 99 percent of the people, [a vehicle] is their second-biggest purchase, with the first being a home,” Leutzinger says. “I think they deserve great customer service.

“It’s something I feel has been needed in dealerships for a lot of years. I think we’re just now getting up to speed with it. … People expect more from us, in general.”  

Leutzinger—whose employer’s CSI scores typically range from 95 to 98, depending on brand—breaks down some of the small ways dealerships can keep their clientele happy.

Offer Free Rentals With Service.

At My Auto Import Center, which has six vehicle brands under one roof, Leutzinger wanted to go beyond standard complimentary offers like roadside assistance or multi-point inspections. As a result, the dealership offers complimentary rentals with most service work (“anything from a wiper blade to a transmission,” Leutzinger notes), which customers seem to value.

“They’re late-model rentals, so when they’re done being rental cars they’re now certified used cars, so that kind of works both ways,” says Leutzinger, whose facility services roughly 3,100 vehicles per month.

Provide Loaner Pick-up and Drop-off.

In this day and age, consumers can have their meals, laundry, or packages delivered to their door. So, it only makes sense that dealerships should offer amenities like the convenient delivery of loaner vehicles. Leutzinger’s employer provides that service to what are considered “elite,” loyal customers that have purchased vehicles with the facility for years.

“I have a gentleman that oversees that,” he says. “He has a cellphone with a number that only the ‘elite’ customers have, and he’ll answer that up until 10 o’clock at night. He’ll pick up and deliver their cars—at their place of work, their home, or their country club, wherever. He’ll exchange their cars, get it fixed, and bring it back to them.”

Create Customer Spotlights.

In another effort to show appreciation for loyal customers, My Auto Import Center turns to its service advisors. Once per month, an advisor will write an article that illustrates a specific client’s loyalty. The write-up, which mainly appears on social media, is typically accompanied with a photo of the valued client, along with family members, and with their My Auto vehicle in the background.

Leutzinger says the social media posts help with customer engagement at the Michigan dealership, which generates $3.9 million in service department revenue alone.

Be Pet Friendly.

Years ago, while on a business trip, Leutzinger noticed that the hotel he was staying at offered dog bones. That simple gesture stuck with him.

Lo and behold, the concept of catering a business to pets eventually made its way to Muskegon.

“I thought, ‘That’s a great idea,’” he says, “so now I have dog bones in the dealership for customers when they bring their pets” along with multiple water dishes.

If Needed, Give Personalized Gifts.

As exemplary as the CSI scores are at Leutzinger’s workplace, he acknowledges that the occasional customer will be displeased with service. And he is well prepared for those situations, with a treasure trove of gift certificates, or tickets to sporting events.

“If we have a customer that has a bad experience,” he says, “we’ll kind of study that customer and give them dinner for two somewhere; we always make sure it’s a $100 gift card. Or, maybe a movie night. … or baseball tickets to a Detroit Tigers game, or maybe a local hockey game that we’re sponsoring.  

“The biggest thing is we try to make it personable—if it’s not [viewed as being] valuable, what good is it, right?”

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