Having the unique experience of working in multiple departments of a dealership in my career I have been able to see both sides of the coin when it comes to sales and service. I have also experienced the relationship “breakdown” of both. Some dealerships can really struggle with the relationship that the sales department and the service department have with each other.
At the end of the day our mission is the same, which should be to sell cars, retain customers and complete service on said sold cars. Some associates however fail to understand that the relationship they have with their fellow co-workers is a crucial part of that mission. Some dealerships create a policy where the customer purchasing a vehicle should be introduced to the service department before their vehicle is delivered. I believe that this is crucial and should be a valuable experience to the customer as the handoff from sales to service shows that the dealership cares for the customer as a whole. The problem you run into though is when Sales Associates and Service Advisors, let’s just say, have a “rocky” work relationship.
From experience, when there is a lack of respect and understanding for what each position does, it can be hard to communicate a proper transition. It takes one salesperson who thinks they run the dealership to come down to the service lane and bark an order at an advisor to put a wrinkle in the fabric. It works the same way when service sends a customer blindly up to sales and says, “that’s a sales problem”. These occurrences may have nothing to do with a “Sales to Service Handoff” however they still create tension between departments. Staff needs to understand that they are all working together for a common goal which is an exceptional customer experience.
When an advisor takes the time to greet the customer with a smile and has a good relationship with their sales team members the customer can feel it. The same works for when a customer comes in with an issue to service and the advisor listens and communicates that – this may be a sales issue, however they will get the ball rolling and speak with someone for them. The advisor should make the customer comfortable with the fact that they have a solid working relationship with the sales department, and they will all work together to find a solution.
This type of atmosphere will always create a better Sales and Service relationship, as long as, each staff member holds up their end of the bargain and respects the roles and duties of their cohorts. It will create a sense of ease with the customer, and they will most likely continue to come back because they know everyone is there for them (which is all anyone wants today). We know that when there is a communication breakdown, everyone suffers. My point being to sum it up is that the handoff is important, but the professional relationship between the two departments is really the KEY.