Whenever I am in public places, I am entranced by the behavior of others. I dial into what they are saying, how they interact with others, their body language, even down to the smallest things like the modifiers they choose to use in conversation. (I studied psychology in college, it’s what I do).
This past weekend I was flying back from my sister’s wedding in New Yorkand experienced quite the bout of travel problems. Amidst delays, mechanical problems and arriving at a different airport than originally intended, a swift 4-hour trip turned into a 12-hour all-day marathon. While there were a multitude of problems, I eventually arrived home safe and sound.
As I sat listening to my fellow passengers as we waited to re-board a different plane, their frustrations were not that they could have rented a car and been back to Iowa faster, it was that no one was keeping them apprised on the flight’s status.
I just wish they would tell us what’s going on.
The gate attendant is laughing. I wish she’d share what’s funny.
We’ve sat here for 30 minutes. Are we going to re-board anytime soon?
These were the main sentiments I heard throughout the hour and a half we waited on the plane and in the airport.
Finally, the gate attendant explained via loud speaker that she was waiting to have us board until our luggage was transported so we did not have to sit on the plane longer necessary. Once she told us this news, people were happier. They understood the reasoning behind us sitting at the gate.
The need for clear, open and honest communication with customers during a time of change or crisis is not just advisable, it is necessary to ensure customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Whether your dealership is undergoing new ownership or renovation that affects business hours, keeping your customers in the loop is paramount to maintaining them as customers in the future. It’s all about inclusion, a human desire needing fulfillment immediately after our physiological and safety needs. When it’s not fulfilled, it causes dissonance and frustration in our lives.
While it might not seem important to let your customers know about a minor renovation being done to one area of your service bay, if a customer is surprised by a longer wait time for their oil change, they will likely feel slighted. A simple email or postcard detailing the expected renovation would not only give customers a heads up, but it would likely make them feel appreciated and acknowledged. And, in turn for your honesty and transparency, they will likely transcend into more loyal customers, and ideally, vocal advocates of your business. Why? Because you are doing something many businesses fail to do today despite it being one of the first things we learn to do in life – communicate.