Running a Shop Customer Service

5 Phone Call Mistakes

Order Reprints

The way an employee handles a phone call with a customer can either make or break the sale; it’s true. Even ask Kevin Levi, vice president of marketing for OrecX, a phone recording company aiding in customer service.

“These days with the customers being in charge and so many different industries out there, you have to focus on customer service,” Levi says. “It builds tremendous goodwill, it builds additional revenue, and it helps you retain your customers.”

And even when an employee makes the sale, that doesn’t mean they used the call to its full potential when it comes to providing the best customer service and hitting revenue goals.

To ensure your employees make the sale and promote a good company image, here are five phone call mistakes and how to correct them.


Mistake No. 1: Letting Anyone Take Calls

Technicians working at your quick lube should be well-trained as a technician, but not customer service, and that’s the way it should be. Levi says those that are trained to have the right disposition, the right phone skills, and know the ins and outs of customer service should be the ones taking the phone calls. Having a designated employee at your shop with their sole purpose of all things customer service will help techs focus on what they were hired to do.

But what if a customer asks a question to the person manning the front desk and they aren’t 100 percent certain of the answer? 

“When it comes to answering a question you aren’t sure about, you should never guess,” Levi says.

Levi says the designated person at the front desk should put them on hold or call them back. If it’s something concerning policies, look it up. If it’s something that has to do with the vehicle itself, go out and ask the technician themselves. It all comes down to liability.

“You’re protecting yourself and you're protecting your customer,” Levi says.


Mistake No. 2: Not Establishing the Details

First thing’s first. The employee should always provide the necessary information for a customer right off the bat. Levi says it’s a bad business practice for an employee to not identify themselves over a call. On the other hand, employees also need to ask for a customer's information: their name and their phone number. That way if they get disconnected, they will easily be able to call them back.

And before the call has ended, the employee should always confirm all of the details of the appointment as well. This includes the date, time, what services are being performed, how much the bill is, even who is working on their car that day. It will help avoid any confusion or mishaps.


Mistake No. 3: Sounding Scripted

It can be hard for employees to remember everything to cover on the phone, so some customer service providers use phone scripts to fill in the gaps. But truthfully, customers want a personalized experience, Levi says, so what’s the best compromise of the two? Creating a go-to checklist. Instead of a word-for-word phone script, a bullet-pointed list will help create a more personalized experience without forgetting certain questions or steps in between.


Mistake No. 4: Selling vs. Advising

As an employee manning the front desk, it’s their job to provide the necessary services to the shop’s customers, which may include recommending other services to add on. But sometimes, customer service employees are apprehensive about making the move to sell, scared that the customer will think they are just trying to rack up their ticket. Instead of viewing it as selling, view it as advising. You can tactfully make a sale without doing it in an obvious, and corny, way, Levi says. 

For example, if a customer calls to schedule an oil change, the employee can simply ask, “When’s the last time you got your air filter changed?” That way, it makes it sound like the employee is trying to help the customer instead of selling them something.


Mistake No. 5: Not Following Up

A follow-up call may sound like too much, but it’s just the opposite. Following up with a customer after a service does many things. It allows the customer to give feedback on how the service went. It gives the shop an opportunity to correct the problem, and it gives them the opportunity to schedule a future service.

Most customers won’t go out of their way to report a small complaint, like not getting the free inspection check that comes with every service, for example. By following up on the service, it gives the customer the opportunity to bring up any issues, big or small, from their service so the shop can do better next time. And if it’s a problem, like forgetting to change the air filters, for example, the shop now has the opportunity to fix the problem and give the customer and incentive for all of the trouble.

And while you have the customer on the phone, the employee can then bring up the car’s next service due date and schedule a future appointment.

Related Articles

Pit Stop: Responding to Reviews

Three Questions for a Fresh Shop Facelift

The Dos and Don’ts of Messaging Customers

You must login or register in order to post a comment.