A new decade finds Americans in an uncomfortable and yet familiar position: running scared, says a recent USA Today (www.usatoday.com) article. And, the tension between optimism and pessimism is particularly relevant as their financial stability remains uncertain.
Consumers, who account for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, are exhausted after the binge of the past decade fueled by credit cards and home equity loans, continued the USA Today article.
What this says to me is that consumers will strive more than ever to get the most “value” from any purchases they make. They will be looking for more ways to stretch their dollars. They will try to gain every advantage before selecting where they’ll make their purchases.
So when you’re holding your morning meetings, a major part of your conversation should emphasize how every team member can deliver the most value to customers during their vehicle repair experience. Since perceived value differs among customers, you’ll need to cover all the bases.
For example, using highest-quality parts might be very important to one customer, while another customer might place more value on ASE certifications. Yet another may place a clean, welcoming waiting room (with good coffee, Internet connection, a nice selection of magazines) high on their list of criteria for selecting (and revisiting) a repair shop.
Knowing the hot buttons on your customers’ perceived value list would guide you in knowing what to emphasize every time they come in for repairs.
Customer retention will be a huge factor in your shop’s overall success. While it’s a great thing when you get new customers, repeat customers provide an added element of security. And their word-of-mouth referrals will speak volumes of the importance of taking good care of your customers.
Here are some customer service imperatives, courtesy of a seminar I attended, conducted by $ale Away LLC (www.saleawayllc.com):
There is one boss the customer! Customers can fire everyone in the company by spending money somewhere else.
A 5% increase in customer loyalty will impact your bottom line between 25 and 125%.
The cost to get a new customer is five to six times more than retaining an existing one.
Every employee needs to be a “customer relationship manager.” Motivate employees to provide outstanding customer experiences and deliver beyond your customers’ expectations.
Customers always buy benefits; not features. For example, don’t sell tires; focus on what the customer wants from the tires. Show the value of making a purchase, rather than the expense.