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Topic-Communication aspects in automobile sector Synopsis

Introduction Objectives Questions Flow-chart Detailed analysis Inference

Communication is the exchange of information from one person to another. Effective communication occurs only when the receiver understands the exact information that the sender wants to convey. The receivers intellectual level should be an important aspect in all communication. Time taken Method Interviewees : 45 days : Primary Data collection : General Manager, True Sai Works, Salem HR Manager, Mahindra, CBE. Senior Service officer, Mahindra, CBE. Customer Care officers, Mahindra, CBE. Maheswari Cars, Resale dealer, P.N Palayam, CBE Mr. T.Senthilnathan, Customer, Salem. Mr. M.Velmurugan, Customer, Kangeyam.

Questions were asked, Inferences were drawn. For the purpose of understanding, we have divided the sector into four.
A. Sales B. Service C. Resale

Communication problems faced by the sales team Communication problems faced by service personnel Communication problems faced during resale

D. Customer Communications problems from customer point

Identify the importance of communication To access the role of communication in automobile sector
To decipher and analyse the problems in communication in automobile

sector To find solutions for the problems Inference

A. Sales
1) How does the process take place? 2) What are the steps involved and how many people? 3) What do the customers generally expect? 4) Any problems in communication? 5) How do you convince and satisfy your customer? 6) Any feedback positive/negative from your customers?

B. Resale
1) What type of customers do you usually get?

2) How does resale take place?customers or middlemen? 3) What difficulties are usually related to resale 4) Once price is fixed/advance is given do customers go back on their word? 5) If so how do you deal with it? 6) How do you deal with the problems of theft/accident vehicles? 7) Are there any superstition issues related with resale? 8) Does miscommunication play any role in your business? 9) What are the legal qualifications required in re-sale? 10)What kind of problems happen immediately after sale?

C. Service
1) What is the process and various procedures involved in Service? 2) What are the types of service warranty available? 3) How is the customer approach when he comes for service? 4) Will there be any delay in attending a customer? How would he react during such times? 5) How would you get to know the problems in a vehicle? 6) What kind of miscommunication problem arises between you and the customer during the service period? 7) How do you reduce the communication problem between customer and company? 8) How do you satisfy the customers regarding the service and after sale service? 9) Driver and owner problems exist?

10)Do customers communicate their problems effectively to you?

D. Customer
1)How many vehicles do you possess? 2)Where and how do you buy your vehicles, first hand or second hand? 3)How do you decide your dealer? 4)how do you select the type of vehicle and the mode? 5)Do you expect any service or offers from your dealer? 6)Usually do you get all the specifications you have asked? 7)How do you communicate any dissatisfaction to your dealers? 8)How do you service your vehicle and are you satisfied with the service you receive?

Questions and Objectives

We have asked questions first to know the process of selling or resale and then the people involved in it .Through this process we have gotten to know the various communication aspects that are involved in the process and the importance of communication in the process.

After the above questions are answered we try to find out the various problems that arise in the business and how they solve it,how the system is designed to avoid problems,and the various problem solving procedures.

Through a detailed analysis and compilation of the collected data we have come across, we have dwelt upon the various communication aspects in the automobile sector, and how organised and informal channels have been developed.

1. Sales a. Customer Problems in first few days b. Employees Add-on a. Customer
Problems in first few days: In first few days, if the customer finds any problem with the vehicle, they lose confidence with the dealer. So it takes lots of efforts to retain the customer after that.

Solutions: All the vehicles sold are checked for perfection. If there is any malfunctioning part, it is replaced.

b. Employee
Add-on When a customer comes to buy a vehicle they expect all kind of discounts and addon values. They think that they are not getting their moneys worth. This makes it hard for a sales person to close the order. Because the customers will ask for the add-ons offered at one point of time in the past which is not applicable now. So the sales persons need to convince the customer about the current discounts.

Solution: They offer insurance or accessories as an add-on for vehicles purchased. Apart from the discounts offered by the manufacturer, the dealers also give discounts to promote sales.

2. Service
a. Customer Exaction Warranty Driver owner communication problem

b. HR Department Low satisfaction rate

c. Employees a. Customer Host

Customer retention is mainly based on the quality of service given to them. So at most care is given to service section. Feedback-Initially after the service before the bill payment customers rate them.3 days after delivery, the high end people call the customer. In case the customer is not reachable, time and date of the call is recorded. This process is repeated for each day until the customer is contacted. In case the customer is unable to be contacted after a month then the file is closed. Exaction: servicing can be done only when the service personnel have some idea about the customers exact problem. Most customers find it difficult to describe the exact nature of the problem. If the headlight non-functioning was a complaint then they are unable to describe when exactly it does not function properly,whether it had dimmed over the days. Solution- Here the service officer asks a number of questions to the customer, probing deep to find out the correct problem. Warranty: Most of the times the customer does not bother to check upon the expiry of the warranty period, and expect service to be done at low cost keeping in mind the warranty. Solution- The customers are called and informed about the cost of additional services before they are actually performed. Expense Handling- When a particular complaint is serviced, other related problems come to notice like a worn-out bush or thinning break lining. The customer is called and informed. If it is an expense involving amounts of 300-1000 the customers generally agree but in cases involving large amounts they prepare an information sheet stating the problems identified and estimates and get it signed from the customers. Reason for this is to inform them of impending problems, giving time for them to get the expense charges ready, and performing the service to them. The information sheet serves as a record assists in problem solving in case the company is questioned for not looking into impending problems earlier. Driver and Owner Problems: Sometimes the owner does not come in person to service the car but sends his driver/staff to do it, communicating to him the various

problems. Mr SenthilKumar says The owner states 10 problems, the driver due to distractions or careless listening report only 8 problems to us. Once the job is completed the owner questions the company as to why all his complaints are not dealt with properly, while the driver insists that he has communicated all the problems to us .A perfect example of miscommunication. Solution- Here the JOB SHEET comes in handy as we record all the problems communicated and get it signed by the communicator. So any false accusations on us is cleared.Thus the communication gap is bridged. Sometimes it even happens that the driver and the owner both face different problems while driving. One may move the vehicle in half clutch and the other in full clutch. At such times only if both the problems are communicated the correct treatment CAN BE GIVEN

b. HR Department Low satisfaction rate of customer: Customers are not satisfied with the quality of service. And they convey this news even months after the service.

c. Employee
Host When a customer brings their vehicle for service, they expect immediate response. Sometimes the trial-run personnel will be busy with another vehicle. So the customer care officials need to make the customer wait. In such times the customers lose patience and start shouting.

3. Resale
a. Buyer

Problems in advance

b. Middlemen c. Seller Omission of facts Exaggeration

d. Legal restrictions

Bank Papers

a. Buyer:
At times the buyers come,select the vehicle give the advance and promise to come back and collect the vehicle.But they dont turn up,or respond to calls.At such times they cannot sell the vehicle for five days. Solution- They do not return the advance. c. Middlemen: When middlemen bring the seller and buyer together, they exaggerate about the vehicle to the interested buyer. And when the vehicle has been bought and its not upto specifications they come back to the resale officer and demand a refund. Solution- Suggested-Before the deal is closed, it could be got in written from the buyer

The seller while selling hide facts like mileage,omits facts while selling. Solution-A thorough check could be done before the seller is handed over the cash. Mileage problems could also be avoided by taking the vehicle to the service station.

d.Legal Restrictions:

During selling, in case the bank has any dues with the seller the bank his papers relating to the vehicle will be held back by the bank. And that will create difficulties while selling for the R.C papers have to be transferred to the buyers name.

Once during resale the seller wrongly informed, the buyer about the mileage. And since he was a trusted party the resale person failed to check the mileage. The party to whom it was sold, after sale went straight to the service station discovered the real mileage and threatened to sue the company in court. The company settled for an out of court settlement.

a. Bank loan
b. No on-time delivery

a. Bank Loan: The dealers say that they will arrange loan free of cost. But there will be hidden costs. The rate of interest told by the dealer is different from the original rate charged by the banks. The dealers say that the interest rate will be the same as the interest rate of nationalized banks. But loans they arrange from private banks is higher. b. No on-time delivery The dealers ask the pre-booking of the vehicle. Once the customer makes the booking, dealers attitude changes. They seem to think that, since the customer has paid advance, he is left with no options except to buy the vehicle from them. So, they

come up with all kind of excuses such as The variation you have asked for is not available yet etc., This leaves the customer disgruntled.

One of the customers left vehicle for service with the complaint of engine problem. After the service the vehicle was returned to the customer. The next day he came back with the complaining that while he was in traffic signal, the engine went off. The vehicle was serviced again. Only after 3 services the service personnel realized that the problem is not with the engine but with the battery. So the battery was replaced. If the communication is proper in the beginning it couldve saved both the customer and the dealer.

Learning as a Team
As a Student: 1. To be ready with questions when we go for interview 2. To be on time 3. To structure the interview 4. Show right attitude at the right time 5. To be patient 6. To have basic knowledge of the industry

Professionally: 1. Listening to the customer intently.

2. Even when the customer is not communicating properly, it is our duty to get the correct information from them. 3. We need to prod the customer with various questions( which may sometime sound irrelevant) to locate the problem. 4. Confirming what the customer told by repeating what he told. 5. Follow up is a part of customer service.

Key findings
1. Customers expect more of an informal relationship with dealer. When they

feel that special care is being given to their vehicle when they leave it for service, they will be less bothered about delay in delivery of vehicle.
2. Automobile sector does not have a saturating point. In todays life nobody can

survive without an automobile. In this sector everything is done using documentation which in turn reduces communication problems. ommunication is much organised in this sector. 3. Survival and growth in this industry will hinge on developing technologies for reducing environmental impact of products and operations as well as vehicular safety. Mostly 80% of the customers prefer purchasing from their first dealer, rest of them only move to other dealers due to the miscommunication with their first dealer.

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