ACtion Magazine - May 2013 - (Page 26)
by Angie Kilbourne, AAM, Contributing Editor
The key to better revenues is better customer service. Let the experts show you how turning
your attention to customer experience can improve your bottom line.
hen was the last time you had a great customer
service experience? What made it so great? More
importantly, were you expecting to be treated that
well, and who did you tell afterward?
As an automotive service professional, wouldn’t you love to have those
answers from each customer who walks into your business? Answers to
those questions could be the key to clients naming you and your business
their greatest customer service experience, spreading the word to friends
and family — and ultimately, bringing revenue through your door. But
customer service success isn’t as easy as a simple formula or process to
follow. It takes hard work, common purpose and continual improvement
to earn a five-star award in customer service.
Are you delivering what they need?
“Do you know what a customer means to your shop?” asks Greg
Marchand, president of Automotive Aftermarket Training, who led the
session “Exceptional Customer Handling Skills” at the 2013 MACS
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ACTION • May 2013
Convention in Orlando. He notes that an increase in labor sales of just a
half-hour to each repair order can equal approximately $100,000 annually
in additional revenue for your business. “If you can build a relationship
with your customer, sales are going to come to you.”
How do you build that relationship? It comes with trust, says
Marchand. Imagine a customer that walks in the door, hands you the keys
to the vehicle and says “Fix it.” When you call to explain the problem
and tell him about extra work needed, he authorizes all the repairs without
question. How do you build that kind of trust with your customers? “By
creating an exceptional customer service experience for customers and
increasing your ‘fixed right, first time’ percentages,” Marchand explains.
“A satisfied customer will refer two to three new customers a year to your
shop. They are also easier to sell to, and they spend more money with
you, increasing your gross profits.”
Customers are unique when it comes to customer service needs
(see sidebar on page 30, “Managing Expectations”). To provide each
of them an outstanding experience, your job as the service provider is
to manage those individual expectations, every time and under every
circumstance. What do customers expect when they walk in your
shop? Well, obviously they want their vehicles fixed right the first
time. But, explains Marchand, it doesn’t stop there. They also expect:
To have their concerns addressed.
To be heard and understood.
That their vehicle will be respected.
That an effort will be made to alleviate their concerns.
To receive value for the money they are paying.
The place to begin is by treating each customer as your most
important one, says Richard Flint, an industry trainer and business
consultant for the auto repair industry, who led the session
“Achieving a Five-Star Award in Customer Service” at the recent
VISION conference in Overland Park, Kan. “Every customer
is important. When you don’t express that, you lose their future
connection with you,” he says. “Not every customer is going to
be your favorite, but you can still be polite and do your best to
make them feel appreciated.” This is an important point for every
employee to remember: Don’t let a bad experience with a customer
cloud your dedication to providing the best service possible the next
time he or she walks through the door.
Building a foundation of excellence
“There are three aspects of exceptional service experience,” says
Marchand. “It starts with understanding your customer.” That means
recognizing the type of customer you have in front of you, providing
a service experience that client appreciates, and addressing the
customer’s concerns — not yours.
The second critical piece is ‘process,’ advises Marchand. This
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - May 2013
Action Magazine - May 2013
Under the Southern Cross
News & Updates
What Is Happening in the Auto A/C Industry?
New Equipment, Tools and Service Parts for 2013
Striking Customer Service Gold
New Products & Services
ACtion Magazine - May 2013