ACtion Magazine - May 2013 - (Page 26)

Striking customer service gold 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. W 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 A ustin B aker I ndustries EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! AUSTIN BAKER OFFERS NEXT-DAY DELIVERY FOR $45! CALL FOR DETAILS! ABI Opens CALIFORNIA Warehouse Los Angeles warehouse provides great selection and expedited shipping to West Coast customers! ABI asks, “why wait?” ...and Welcomes Brad Partridge as National Sales Rep Brad brings 25+ years of experience and expertise to the Austin Baker sales staff, and he’s primed and eager to help you! 201 Exposition St, Denton, TX 76205 PO Box 1606, Denton, TX 76202 800.367.6834 | | Reader Reply 26 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
Freeze Frame
Virtual View
Under the Southern Cross
Leonard's Law
News & Updates
What Is Happening in the Auto A/C Industry?
New Equipment, Tools and Service Parts for 2013
Striking Customer Service Gold
Asociation News
Quick Check
New Products & Services
Last Watch

ACtion Magazine - May 2013