Providing great customer service to your current clients has a very nice snowball effect. Not only will they be satisfied with their experience now, but they’re also much more likely to return in the future. On top of that, they’re more likely to recommend your shop to friends and family. That’s good for business. To keep the good times rolling, here are some tips for improving customer service:
Be Honest and Informative
No, we’re not suggesting that you’re sometimes dishonest. What we’re getting at here is the need to spell out exactly what’s going on with a repair. People are inherently suspicious about things they don’t understand. Don’t shy away from something or try to gloss over it because you don’t think your customer will understand. There’s a good reason repairs cost what they do and take the time that they do. So tell your customers that. When you break down what actually goes into a repair, they’re more likely to get on board. Education is key:
- Consider putting together an outline of the steps needed in a standard repair.
- Don’t be afraid to physically show the customer what’s going on.
- Inform customers right away if a repair plan changes, and give details about why.
- Own up to mistakes. Is the delay because someone forgot to order a piece and now it’s held up three states away because of a snowstorm? Give them the whole picture, apologize, and don’t try to pass the buck.
Make Customer Satisfaction a Shop-Wide Priority
So you know that happy customers are good for business, but is your whole team on the same page? You probably have very high standards for the quality of repairs that come out of your shop, and you ask a lot of your techs in that regard. But do you emphasize customer service at every level? Your employees will follow your lead. You should:
- Make customer service a topic of conversation in meetings and a priority in training
- Give techs permission to offer reasonable “bonuses” like buffing out an extra scratch at no charge or offer guidelines about when it’s ok to offer freebies
- Hire with customer service in mind – from the person who answers the phone to management
- Consider customer interactions in performance reviews
Take Cues from Your Everyday Experiences
As a consumer yourself, you have plenty of your own experiences to draw on. Think about what works and what doesn’t. Did you appreciate the free snacks while you were waiting to speak with a banker? Maybe those above-average toys in the pediatrician’s office made your child’s visit just a little less painful. How can you apply those types of things to your shop?
Similarly, look to customer service leaders outside your industry. What are they doing right that you can mimic? Zappos has based their company culture around customer service. Amazon.com knows exactly what makes its customers happy (faster service) and makes that a priority. For more inspiration, FenderBender has a great article about lessons you can learn from other industries.
You won’t know how your doing if you don’t ask. After a repair, circle bak with customers to gauge their experiences. Design a survey for them to fill out (consider including a coupon or other thank-you), sign up with a service to gather the info or even call a few of them yourself. Gather the data and then use it. Take a look at what’s going well, and capitalize on it. Explore what isn’t going well and think about how you can improve it.
When you pay attention to customer service, your customers will take note. And they’ll keep coming back.
Better repairs means better service, too. Download our repair training checklist to make sure you have your bases covered.