By Mary DellaValle
There are a lot of buzzwords to describe how businesses strive to retain existing customers and gain new ones. Recall how many times you’ve read or heard the terms “exceeding customer expectations,” “top-quality products and services,” “gaining customer trust,” “integrity," “reliability,” “expertise,” “professionalism,” and the list goes on.
The ever-important goal of delivering outstanding customer service, the hook that ensures repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals, hinges on the level of emphasis you place on giving customers reasons to come back to your shop; reasons to want to do business with you.
Typically, it’s a combination of things fixing your customers’ vehicles right the first time; diagnosing an intermittent or particularly difficult problem; greeting customers in a welcoming manner; educating them on what’s wrong with their vehicle and why certain parts need to be replaced to restore system integrity; making follow-up calls to gauge customer satisfaction with the repair; keeping your shop and customer waiting area clean; using high-quality parts that prevent comebacks; paying attention to the details and going the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction with their repair experience. You know the drill.
Not every shop has the same resources, as it relates to customer service. But thinking outside the box, regardless of the level of your efforts, produces quantifiable results. One shop is reaching to the next level of customer service with great success. In doing a recent shop profile, the owner discussed ways that he’s creating “raving fans” and achieving great CSI scores. In an effort to better communicate with customers, “silent communication” was achieved via an on-line process that allows customers to see at what stage of the repair process their vehicle is at on any given day. Customers can check their vehicle’s progress when it’s convenient for them.
This system not only helps build customer confidence in the shop’s ability to perform the necessary repairs, but it also gives customers some control over the process. For one thing, it gives them enough information that they don’t have to call the shop to check on the repair status. This benefits the shop as well with a significant reduction in the number of calls coming into the shop. The owner commented that customers not only appreciate this benefit, but they think it’s a great idea, so much so that they make comments about it on CSI cards.
Beyond delivering high-quality repairs, this example demonstrates how one shop is letting customers know they’re getting exactly what they’re paying for. Think about innovative and exciting ways you can enhance your shop’s customer service. Feel free to e-mail me ([email protected]) with successful ideas that you’ve implemented at your shop. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!