Shaun Belding wrote the books.
The president of Belding Skills Development Corp. authored the series “Winning with the Customer from Hell,” “Winning with the Employee from Hell,” “Winning with the Boss from Hell” and “Winning with the Caller from Hell.”
Belding consults with dealers internationally, including those in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe and Asia. Based in Ottawa, ON, Canada, he advises dealers and other businesses on developing strategies and techniques for dealing with difficult people.
“Dealers are still feeling the hangover from the way business was done 30 years ago. Very few dealers have sound strategies for dealing with problem customers,” he tells Ward's. “People still walk into dealerships with trepidation. They don't have an instant degree of trust needed to have a customer relationship.”
The payoff to cultivating customers is evident, he says, since each one potentially refers about five other people to a business they are happy with. Conversely, some customers tell 20 people about their bad experiences at a dealership.
His main points for winning with disgruntled customers:
- Remember customer perception is the key. Customers may perceive they're being taken advantage of or not understood.
- Adequately prepare customers and set their expectations at each contact point.
- Empathize with the customer. Too often the vehicle comes in for service and the customer is treated indifferently: “Oh, your car broke. Sorry.”
- Build loyalty in the service center, when the car is under warranty. Customers often defect after the warranty expires unless efforts are made to keep them.
- Hire the right people.
- Have a long-term plan for winning with customers.