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Report: Saying ‘No’ to Customers is Costly for Service Shops

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July 2, 2018—A recent study shows that saying ‘no,’ or negative comments long those lines, to customers during phone calls can hurt a service department’s bottom line. The findings were performed by Marchex, a company that works with dealerships to track phone call communication with customers, and were based on more than 1.8 million calls placed by customers to nearly 5,000 auto-service stores across the country.

The study showed that even a hint of negativity can hurt a business’s bottom line. Marchex measured 50 phrases and variations that implied a negative response to customer questions, along with how frequently those phrases were uttered, as noted in a WardsAuto article.

For example, customers tended to be turned off if a service department employee said the facility had “no appointments” available for a vehicle. The average auto service operation lost $23,000 in annual revenue per location just by saying ‘no,” the study says.

The findings showed that employees said “no” nearly 6 percent of the time. Employees tended to say “no” more often on the weekends.

“Companies need to take a closer look at why they’re saying ‘no’ to their customers, consider the revenue loss that results from that and determine what steps they can take to say ‘yes’ more often,” Marchex senior vice president Matt Muilenburg noted.

The study indicated that service departments should strongly consider avoiding negative phrases like “I don’t think I can,” or “that’s not right.”

A previous Marchex study noted that agents with lower sales rates say “no” twice as often as top performers.

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