I’ve never been scared off by those “some assembly required” labels. I guess I just have a gift for knowing how things work. And since I’m so mechanically inclined, I’ve always fared well without directions — that is, until I don’t.
Yeah, like some of you out there, I’ve been known to take a quick scan of the parts and start assembling without taking the time to read the instructions. Sometimes things go smoothly; sometimes you have bolts and nuts left over. Sometimes, a part is installed backward.
"Listen, it only takes a few minutes to sit down and read those enrollment forms. The knowledge you’ll glean from those few minutes can save you a major butt chewing from a customer. But more importantly, you’ll learn some really cool things about roadside service and towing your product delivers in those emergency situations. And that knowledge should actually improve your penetrations and customer satisfaction."
Ugh, right? Something that seemed so easy to assemble wasn’t. Next thing you know you’re digging into the trash to retrieve the instructions that are now covered in mayonnaise from the sandwich you tossed into the garbage before you started. It wasn’t my skills that failed me; it was my own stubborn pride.
How many times have you assumed you were an expert on a particular product, only to find out later something you thought was covered wasn’t? Usually, this discovery occurs on those days when you’re three deliveries deep. Your sold customer finds out the repair you said was covered isn’t, then marches down to your office for an explanation. Now you have to stop what you’re doing and handle the heat while hoping your next three customers aren’t within earshot.
With all the various and numerous products we’re tasked to present, it’s only reasonable that we know each one like the backs of our hands. Perhaps the reason we don’t is we just can’t seem to find the time. Perhaps the best time to do a little reading is when we’re having a slow day, because there’s never a wrong time to learn something new.
The following are a few things I learned about my products that opened my eyes and might even surprise you:
1. Tire-and-Wheel Protection: Most contracts state that a tire must have at least 2/32 inches of tread depth remaining. And some companies won’t cover aftermarket wheels, even if they are the same size as the OEM tires.
Some of the better programs have an option for cosmetic damage. Just make sure you know if the offering is for alloy wheels and not the chrome-finished wheels, because the recon vendor can’t replicate the latter. And customer complaints await you if you don’t read the invoice to determine what the vehicle comes equipped with. At the very least, walk out to the car to confirm the equipment.
2. Key Replacement: This handy little program can really go a long way in satisfying customers, especially those who have a history of losing keys. There are a couple of things to remember, however, when administering this product: First, make absolutely certain the customer gets two keys at delivery. And if a claim is filed, the first call should go to the provider for authorization, not to the locksmith. If the locksmith is the first person called, it’s a good chance your customer will foot the bill.
3. Service Contracts: This is the one product we know like the back of our hand, right? Yet, how many times have we introduced the benefits of a comprehensive program as “bumper-to-bumper” coverage? And how do you respond if your customer asks if the product can be used at every service department, regardless of the franchise? If you write a third-party contract like most dealerships invested in a reinsurance program do, you’d better have a more informative answer than a simple “Yep.” Because the service writer is going to tell the customer he or she is responsible for tearing down and inspecting the suspected part. And heaven help you if the VSC you’re writing has a one-day waiting period for a rental car to be arranged while the repair is being performed. Just make sure the customer is aware of that waiting period, too.
You’ve heard me say plenty of times “readers are leaders.” It’s a saying I picked up from Mrs. Marv years ago. It’s gotten my attention plenty of times over the years, especially after attempting to build a new piece of furniture without the instructions.
Listen, it only takes a few minutes to sit down and read those enrollment forms. The knowledge you’ll glean from those few minutes can save you a major butt chewing from a customer. But more importantly, you’ll learn some really cool things about roadside service and towing your product delivers in those emergency situations. And that knowledge should actually improve your penetrations and customer satisfaction.
Nobody likes surprises. So dig up those enrollment forms right now and bone up on the great coverage you’ve been offering customers. You may be surprised by how much greater and beneficial your products really are.
Good luck and keep closing.
Marv Eleazer is the F&I director at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Ga. Email him at [email protected].