How To Get A Great Service Experience Every Time

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Online reviews of dealerships rarely shed light on anything positive because most people tend to just take personal enjoyment in a good experience, but when expectations aren’t met, that’s when the horns pop out and fire and brimstone are breathed upon anyone and everyone to give an audience to you. Thus most feedback online is going to highlight a negative response. (This is actually kind of a personal beef I have with some sites, especially Yelp!) <<<<<{prime example right there}

To ensure a fantastic experience each and every time, make sure that you’re managing your expectations up front.

What do I mean by that you ask? 

Simple. Take the necessary steps to prepare yourself and your vehicle to be ready for your appointment.

Actually, that’s the first step!

  1. Set the appointment! Call ahead and schedule your visit with a service adviser. Write down the necessary information such as date and time, but also the adviser’s name, and make sure to give a complete overview of what you would like done when you bring your vehicle in. Make sure that the adviser reads this back to you to ensure that you were heard properly. If it is just a routine oil change or tire rotation, you may have the option to schedule with the dealership online, but if you know there is a specific issue that needs to be addressed, be sure to consult a service adviser.
  2. Make sure your vehicle is presentable inside and out. If you’re expecting someone to deliver extraordinary service, make sure that the interior is manageable to maneuver around in for anyone else driving your vehicle and that any items of particular importance or value are removed before leaving it. (Nobody wants to be accused of stealing if your tablet goes missing and then you realize a week later that it was buried in a pile of papers in the backseat.) It’s also recommended that the exterior is relatively clean as well. Most service lanes will actually walk around the vehicle prior to you leaving it to have you sign off on a visual inspection, but don’t be surprised if you have a scratch that you didn’t notice prior if your vehicle was filthy when it was serviced and once cleaned that area shows clear and bright! Several dealerships offer a wash and vacuum prior to pick up, but most don’t or offer it as an added fee with your service.
  3. Review your warranty coverage prior to your visit. It saves tremendous time and energy when you have your warranty documents with you when checking in for your appointment.  If you’re out of warranty, call in to the service lane again to your adviser and see if they can offer anything of value to you or if the dealership’s warranty or F&I office may be able to offer you peace of mind prior to your visit. (Your best extended warranty option should have been made available during the original sale of your vehicle to you, but if you didn’t take advantage of the offer then, one may still be available to you.) Also, it might be a good idea to check on programs that offer financing for repair work. There are some programs now available that many people aren’t aware of that will allow you to finance service work if needed, but the term of the loan is usually very short (for obvious reasons), but could be a great alternative to stressing over major repairs when money is tight.
  4. Arrive at your appointment a little early. This gives you time to go through that exterior walk around we were just discussing and listen to the adviser’s suggestions if they may offer added value in recommending replacement of wipers or burnt out bulbs, etc. You should also make sure again that anything you’d like to have examined is explained thoroughly to the adviser and/or the technician that will be working on the vehicle.
  5. Manage your time expectations according to the recommendations. Nobody wants to wait around for anything in today’s world, so if you’re expected to be in and out within a specified time frame, be ready. Make sure you’ve already eaten and won’t start getting hungry half way through the appointment. Bring a book or some other project you can be productive with or entertain yourself with. Know ahead of time if shuttle or loaner car service is offered and schedule that accordingly. Oftentimes, you’ll get a good indicator of how long your visit may last based on the call you made to schedule the appointment, but all too often things will be discovered that need to be addressed and usually faster and less expensively due to labor costs during this visit as opposed to bringing it back later. Be mindful that this can occur anytime for any reason with any vehicle. Don’t be alarmed. Do be prepared!


In addition to these five steps, being a sales professional, I like to know that my clients don’t have bad experiences, so I think it’s also a good idea to also let your sales pro know when you’ll be stopping in for service. We can be a difference maker sometimes when the service dept. is really busy in helping you get the most out of your visit and we can use the time to catch up and perhaps even offer additional input or find an alternative vehicle to meet your changing needs with trade in options you may not have considered.

This is a strategy I’ve advised on for years and those customers that have followed this advice, have been very happy and loyal to me in return with repeated business and a growing number of referrals.