You do a great job. You perform the services your customers need. You get them back on the road as quickly as possible. You warranty your work. What else could customers want? Well, it turns out they want a lot more. In fact, they demand it.
Today’s customers expect exceptional customer service. From restaurants to supermarkets to retail shops, most companies are differentiating themselves from the competition by providing a better customer experience. And while auto shops aren’t exactly known for their superior customer experience, that’s good news for you. After all, it won’t take much for you to raise the bar and make a name in the community as the only place to go for auto service.
There are three truths when it comes to customer service, and we’ve provided tips that will help you achieve them.
TRUTH: Service starts long before a car is on the lift.
People want to do business with companies they trust. But if someone isn’t a customer, what can you do to begin earning their trust? It starts with appearance. From your website to your shop’s curb appeal to what your techs wear, everything matters. These tips will help you start looking good to your customers—literally and figuratively:
- Use consistent colors. When the colors associated with your shop are always the same, it makes people feel like they’re going to have a good experience every time. Consistency makes people comfortable, so keep the same look and feel on everything you do—from your website and business cards to your paint scheme and techs’ clothing.
- Update your shop. This doesn’t have to be a major investment. Just a few thousand dollars can make a huge difference. Things that you should consider include:
- Fresh coats of bright-colored paint on your shop’s exterior and in your lobby
- New tiling for the lobby floors
- Updated and refreshed restrooms
- Comfortable sofas and armchairs
- Complimentary snacks and beverages
- Free Wi-Fi
TRUTH: It’s as much about the customer as it is about their car.
You provide excellent auto service. But if you aren’t providing excellent customer service, your craftsmanship may not matter. People want to feel welcomed and valued. That goes a long way past an oil change or new brakes. Use these tips to build lasting relationships with your customers and their cars:
- This seems simple, but it’s the most effective customer service tool you have. Not many people are looking forward to paying for car maintenance or repairs, but they mind a lot less if the experience is pleasant. And that starts with a smile.
- Ask them questions about their lives—and remember the answers. When you first meet a customer, you can talk about weather and sports. But true customer service moves beyond that. Get to know the details of their lives. What is their profession? How many kids do they have? What are their favorite teams? Keep those answers in a file or spreadsheet so that you can ask more specific questions when they return. And when they do, update their information with what you learned from that visit.
- Practice customer service at home. Small talk doesn’t come easy for many people. If that includes you, practice customer interactions with your family. Remember: The whole goal is to get customers comfortable and talking. Once they do, your job is simply to listen. And that’s the easy part.
TRUTH: Service doesn’t stop when the car is off of the lift.
Just because a customer leaves happy, it doesn’t mean your job is done. A good customer experience includes the experience outside of your shop too. Use these tips to keep customers coming back to you:
- Follow up. A few days after their service visit, send customers an email or give them a call. Tell them you just wanted to check to make sure they were happy with the services you provided and that everything is still running smoothly since they left.
- Send personalized offers. These could be anything from a birthday discount to a special price on an upcoming major service. It doesn’t need to be much. It’s just a way to remind them that you know them as a person, and you’re appreciative of their business.