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Delivering the Goods

Developing a “show-out” checklist for products can help customers have a better experience, reduce calls and visits to the dealership for operational issues, and build customers’ confidence in a dealership’s expertise and quality of service.

What does “Delivering the goods” mean to you? Handing someone their new tow bar? Giving them a set of keys to their new coach? Successfully installing a taillight wiring kit?

While it’s true these are examples of delivering the goods, there is another definition I’m going to concentrate on. The definition we’re concerned with reads as follows: To attain success or reach a desired goal.

What is your goal? Every dealership has different goals but they probably all revolve around creating a profitable and successful dealership. How do you attain it? In a nutshell, you cultivate loyal and knowledgeable customers that keep coming back...for all the right reasons.

Educating Consumers

Many dealers know how profitable it is to sell aftermarket towing accessories. Unfortunately, some dealers also experience how expensive and frustrating it is if the customer is not armed with a complete and thorough knowledge of how to properly use their new toys.

Customers may show up on your doorstep with damaged goods or call you with questions on the operation of the product. A lot of calls may stem from the customers expectations of what the product “should” do compared to what the product was actually “designed” to do.

All of which cost you money, but more importantly diminishes consumer confidence in your dealership and the product itself. Demonstrating and explaining the product and setting the customers expectations to match the products abilities is crucial. Above all, you want the customer to operate the RV and any aftermarket products in a safe manner to protect themselves and those around them.

With that in mind, I suggest all dealerships implement a “show-out” checklist for all products. It is even more crucial concerning aftermarket items such as towing products because there are so many important things that one cannot afford to overlook. Having a checklist to follow will not only ensure all information given is consistent no matter who trains the customer, but will also ensure critical information is relayed.

Most of you may already have something similar to this in place for the RV itself to demonstrate how to run the furnace, stove, refrigerator, generator etc. Do you do that because you are required to? Maybe, but more likely you do it because you want the customer to be comfortable with the operation of the RV and all of its components.

This will allow them to operate it on their own, reducing questions and “customer inflicted” issues that may result in a trip back to your service bay, quite possibly at your expense. If you show the customer you’re willing to take the time to educate them, it will reflect very highly on you and your dealership.

The Show-Out Checklist

Let’s visit what should be included in a show-out checklist, how they should be utilized and by whom? What should be included? Everything that is necessary to ensure the customer has a positive experience using the product. Of course, you include the “how to” stuff, but just as important are the “what not to do’s” and the little tips that make using the product easier and safer. 

A lot of what you will demonstrate to customers is in the product owner’s manuals, so it is still very important to instruct them to read the manual after you’ve completed the show-out. I’ve included a sample checklist which, if followed, will arm the customer with an understanding of how to use their towing equipment.

As you can see, it breaks a towing system into parts and gives a step-by-step of all the things that you should demonstrate or explain to the customer. These checklists need to include an explanation on hooking up or setting up the product prior to towing. They should include any adjustments that the customer can make, things to check and watch for, and maintenance they can perform.

The checklist also should include answers to questions that they may have after they leave the dealership. This is where you tap into the people that answer questions on the phone at your dealership to find out what the most common calls are concerning, then add those answers to the checklist to train the customer ahead of time.

Good examples of things you can demonstrate to your customer regarding tow bars, so they do not learn the hard way, are how to properly connect their safety cables, orientation of the attachment pins, the possible need for a drop receiver, how to service the tow bar, and the fact that one should NEVER back up while towing.

Anyone at your dealership can use this tool, but it is most beneficial for the parts or service manager or the technician that does the installation work. It not only gives these individuals the opportunity to educate the customer, but also to get to know them. This personal connection between the customer and you builds your customers’ confidence in your knowledge and the quality of service your dealership provides. After all, who are they going to call if they have a problem or a question on something?

So, about now you are thinking, “This is going to take too much time. When am I supposed to find time to do this?” I can understand that initial reaction, but let’s look at it in a different light. Consider it an investment in your future. It only takes a few minutes, but the benefit realized will pay dividends for years to come.