As an automotive dealer, building great customer relationships is crucial to keeping CSI scores, high, building trust with your customers and making them loyal for life – even after their warranty is up.  

Here are some of the major moments during a customer’s loaner experience where focusing on great communication can help you build stronger relationships with your customers.

Learn about your customer while contracting

Starting at the beginning of the loaner process, you can create strong relationships with customers by using active listening skills to cater to their preferences and personalize their experience.

Do they have kids or pets? Maybe mention that you’ll provide them with an SUV for their loaner vehicle, so they’ve got room for the whole family.

Even if SUVs are all that’s left on your lot, don’t miss an opportunity to show your customer that you understand their needs. This creates a level of mutual respect between the customer and dealer which will make customers less likely to be difficult when it comes time to return their loaner vehicle.

Are they busier in the morning or the afternoon? Asking your customer when the best time is to get in touch with them can help you ensure your calls, texts or emails come at a time when the rest of the days’ stresses are at a low point – it could help you get approvals for more work, or just get your loaners back more quickly.

Setting expectations before they leave the lot

Most customer issues that arise at the end of a loaner contract center around costs. For the most part, these disputes can be avoided by clearly expressing all charges a customer should expect from the start… and yes, confirming (and reconfirming) that your customer understands their agreement can help a lot, too.

Dealerware’s contract acknowledgement section – more commonly called our Agreement Toggles – you can easily list charges that customers should expect to pay. And using the Agreement Toggles tool within a mobile contracting flow will also reduce the need for dense paper contracts and the likeliness of “fine print” charges impacting your customer’s experience.

Dealerships using Dealerware can very easily add or remove items to the list of Agreement Toggles, so customers must acknowledge that they’ve read and understand those charges. Having your customer accept those charges with our Agreement Toggles helps make sure that they know exactly what they will be charged, without any confusion.

Contrats mobiles sans contact Dealerware
Dealerware's Agreement Toggles give customers easy-to-read agreement details so they don't sign without looking.

During their loaner

Research we conducted with J.D. Power found that 57% of customers would trust their dealership more if they could view work being done on their car via videos or images. 

Click to download the white paper based on J.D. Power research into customer experiences.

While it can be time consuming to capture video or images when the service department is busy, it could be worth the time if you need to clear additional work with a customer – adding transparency to your communication may make them more likely to approve a larger R.O.

That research also found that most customers – 75% – view loaner vehicle experiences as test drive opportunities. When talking with service customers, it can be a good idea to ask them how they’re enjoying the loaner. Not only does it give them a reason to give you positive feedback, but it could provide intel for your sales team, too.

When they return

When it’s time to return a loaner, customers probably want to get in and out of the dealership fast. If you’re using Dealerware, you can review any charges for their loaner and settle the transaction with the click of a button.

If you set their expectations at the beginning of the loaner process, there shouldn’t be any surprises on either side.

One powerful customer service tactic that some dealers use is greeting their customer by name when they pull up in the service drive. Dealerware provides this information in the mobile app or on our Web app, and we also partner with MDL AutoMation for seamless guest recognition.

When a customer drives back into your dealership lot, the integration between MDL AutoMation and Dealerware alerts service advisors that it’s time to get a customer’s vehicle before they pull up to the door. When customers pull into the service drive, their name is displayed on TV screens out front, and their service advisor can be waiting with keys in hand to get them back on the road fast.