Dealership Delivery and Customer Satisfaction

Understanding Attitudes

Higher customer expectations

Having spent between $15,000 to $50,000 dollars on the average new car, it’s only natural that a customer would expect their vehicle to be in near perfect condition at delivery.

And because they own it, customers will often be looking at their car with a more critical eye.  

The finance experience

Customers also can be a bit up tight after leaving the finance office. They can be experiencing the early stages of buyers remorse, or the experience in finance could have left them with a bad taste in their mouth. No matter the case, you’ll need to be at your best if you are offer a great delivery experience to your customers.

Issues that impact your attitude

As a salesperson on commission, several factors can impact your attitude about the delivery. For example:

You only got a mini commission so you don’t care as much about putting extra effort into the delivery

You have another appointment scheduled in a few minutes so you tend to rush

There’s a lot of traffic and other opportunities for selling are a higher priority to you or your management

Delivery and future business

Customer focused delivery

When a salesperson rushes through delivery or fails to put the same type of effort into it that he/she put into the sales process, the customer feels it. And they interpret it as if you are saying to them, “Now that I’ve got my money, I don’t care about you!”

Customers expect and want to have their vehicle features explained to them before they leave the dealership. If you don’t provide them with the time they need, you can forget about referrals or repeat business. So be sure to:

  • Set aside about 30 minutes for every delivery
  • Always deliver your own customers
  • Stay focused on your delivery, even if another customer comes in
  • Cover all the key equipment and safety features
  • Provide a full tank of gas (if within dealer guidelines)

Setting the stage for success

Pre-detail inspection

We’ve all had customers return to the dealership to point out damage that they didn’t see at delivery. Had we inspected and presented the vehicle properly, we could have avoided this conflict.  

A pre-detail inspection is meant for you to look for real damage. You may find repairs that can be made before the customer gets there, and you’ll be prepared to offer options if a service appointment is required. Pre-detail Inspections can help you avoid customer concerns by revealing:

Imperfections or scratches in the paint (note that some scratches will come out during the detail)

  • Dents or dings on panels or wheels
  • Pits or scratches on glass or chrome
  • Stains or tears on carpet or upholstery

There will be times when repairs are needed. Some repairs may be completed quickly and others may require you to reschedule the delivery. You’ll need to work with vendors, service personnel and management to complete these repairs.

Post–detail inspection

It’s important to understand that customers are people, and people are trained by the media to look on the surface. By making sure a car is detailed properly, you will not only set the tone for a great first impression, you will also create a positive outlook for your customer. Seeing the strong effort that has gone into cleaning the vehicle will make the customer less critical and simplify your process.

Most of you have heard the saying that “love covers a multitude of sins.” In the same way, a properly detailed car will eliminate the focus on minor imperfections. Likewise a poorly detailed car will enhance the appearance of imperfection.

So after the detail is complete, be sure to look for things like:

  • Excess tire dressing splashed on fenders
  • Excess wax in trim lines and jambs
  • Film or waters spots on windows
  • Boot or shoe marks on doors

If you get a car that is detailed great, it’s also good to know that a simple “thank you” can have a tremendous impact on morale. Detailers don’t get paid a lot and they appreciate the praise. They will also do a better job for you in the future if you show your appreciation!

Provide an overview of the delivery process

Setting the expectation

As discussed earlier, customers usually want you to provide them with a complete delivery experience. But if they happen to be in a hurry, or if they have other plans, it’s always a good idea to provide an overview of the delivery process.

Once the customer is turned back to you following the finance process, provide them with an overview that includes:

  • The items you’ll be covering
  • The amount of time it will take
  • The benefit of the delivery process to them

That overview could sound something like this:

“What I’d like to do know is go over a few things regarding the ownership of your new car. This includes how to use your owner manual, a brief warranty and maintenance explanation, and an introduction to our service manager. We’ll even set up your first maintenance if you’d like. Finally, I’ll provide you with a complete orientation of your vehicle, and you’ll be on your way. This will only take about 30 minutes. Is that okay?”

Introduction to Service

Opportunity lost

One of the greatest opportunities you have to drive repeat business to your dealership starts with the service introduction. Unfortunately, very few salespeople take the necessary time to perfrom this important step.

Provide an orientation

It’s pretty simple to do. Begin with, “This is our service department! We’re open Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm for your convenience.”

You’ll also want to include:

  • How to set an appointment
  • Explanation of express drop off if available
  • Where to bring the car and who to see
  • Servicing of all vehicles if applicable

Finally, you’ll want to make an introduction to the Service Manager, or a Service Advisor if the Manager is unavailable.

Using a Delivery Checklist

The Benefits

Here are some of the benefits of using the delivery checklist:

  • A well designed checklist organizes your delivery process and vehicle explanation. It ensures you don’t miss anything
  • Both parties have a written record of the vehicle condition at the time of delivery so any future disputes can be minimized
  • Service department has a record of corrections that need to be made so repairs are more easily accommodated.
  • It helps the customer follow along and adds peace of mind

The Checklist

If your dealers or manufacturer doesn’t provide a delivery checklist, make your own. Be sure to include the following sections:

  • Place for VIN Number, Stock Number and Customer information
  • Note: The first thing you should always do at delivery is compare the VIN number to the legal documentation, especially motor vehicle documentation
  • Interior is clean and free from damage
  • Exterior is clean and free from damage
  • All accessories and equipment are as ordered

During the delivery, the salesperson reviews:

  • The engine compartment and fluid levels
  • The driver area gauges, controls, and safety equipment
  • The trunk area spare tire and jack
  • Tire pressure check
  • All passenger seat belts and convenience operations
  • Sound system
  • All lights and signals
  • Special equipment
  • All manuals and maintenance information was reviewed
  • The customer was introduced to our service department
  • The customer was offered an orientation drive of their vehicle

The Delivery and Future Business

Review your process

Delivery is a great opportunity to review the process with your customer and address any customer satisfaction issues before they leave the dealership. Here’s what to do:

Say: “Here at Your Dealer USA, we’re always looking to improve our process. So is there anything we’ve done that would cause you not to be completely satisfied with your experience today?

If the customer says yes, you have an opportunity to make it right before they leave. This not only helps to improve SSI, it also shows you care. If they have no concerns, it makes the next question even easier to ask.

Asking for referrals

There’s an old saying in an ancient text that says, “you don’t have because you don’t ask.” So here is a suggested way to ask your customers for referral business at delivery:

“I want to thank you for your purchase and I’d like to follow up with you in a few days to see how things are going. Would Monday or Tuesday be better? (agree on day and time)

Great! And as you can probably guess, a great deal of my business comes from satisfied customers like you. So if you don’t mind, I’d like you to think about who you might know  – among your family or friends – that may be in the market for a new or used vehicle right now or in the near future. May I check with you on that when I follow up on Tuesday?”


You’ve just gained tremendous insights into a customer-focused delivery experience. By following these concepts, you’ll be sure to generate satisfied customers and more repeat business.

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