Department to Department handoff: How to properly set up a sold customer to talk with Service (now they need to pay for something in the shop), i.e., the Sales to Service handoff…

The department-to-department handoff at a dealership is something that can be overlooked during the sales process. However, it’s a crucial step to creating a stronger bond between the dealership and the customer as a whole. Hearing, “I’ll buy a car from you, but I’ll never service my car here,” is something that should not be coming out of a customer’s mouth during the sales process. While that statement is heard often, it’s also the same in service but about buying the vehicle! 

While both departments operate separately, the end game for the organization as a whole is to have both departments serve their entire customer base holistically. So how does that happen, and how can dealership staff ensure that it happens more often than not?

Sales needs to make an effort to introduce their customer, whether their customer is purchasing a new or a pre-owned vehicle. This is sometimes a policy put in place by management, which is a great way to go about it. However, what should happen is that sales and service understand each other and respect each other’s position within the company. When that happens, you get a sincere handoff from sales to their favorite service advisor for the customer’s benefit, and that advisor receives this customer with open arms. When there is a palpable positive relationship between sales and service, they are also strengthening a trusting relationship with their customer. This works 10-fold when the customer and sales associate have a great rapport. However even if the salesperson and customer don’t see eye to eye 100% of the time, the professional manner of the sales associate should still shine through to create a good relationship with the advisor as well. 

A good salesperson will keep up with their customer after the sale, to the point that a few years down the road, if the customer needs something in service, the salesperson should have no issues saying, I’ve got a guy for you to see that will help you in any way they can. This kind of relationship creates longevity in a direct customer relationship with the store. Then the advisor needs to take that ball and run with it. Sometimes it takes both the advisor and salesperson to work together to determine what is best for the customer based on the condition of their vehicle and present this neutrally and factually to the customer. This allows them to make a decision based on their own circumstances and with all of the proper information they need to do it. 

We seem to forget between departments that it’s about the business as a whole, not just one department or the other. So, when departments collaborate to create the best CUSTOMER SERVICE experience possible for each and every customer, there can be no losers. Some jobs in the shop will be sold, for others, their vehicles will be traded, and a sales transaction will occur instead. The advisors need to remember that the potential job has a high likelihood of coming back through the shop during recon and that customer will be back with their newer vehicle as well. Sales is the same way; some jobs in the shop will not be “big” enough to produce a sale, however when the customer is presented with their options properly, and communication is accurate across the board, the customer is very likely to come back and purchase from them in the future. 

A team effort will always rule over individual departments running their own show. If we can remember that and work together, we cannot lose! 

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