“Two-thirds of consumers (68%) are willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if they are assured they will have a better experience.” Podium
Time and time again, surveys and statistics show that great customer service is a huge benefit not just to the customer but also to the business. Here’s ten ways that you can make sure your workshop delivers a better experience:
1. Wash and Vacuum.
One addition to the workshop service that makes a hugely positive impact is to make sure all cars are washed, vacuumed, and ready to go, so the customer drives away in a vehicle that not only has been refreshed under the bonnet but looks and feels refreshed too. The customer will subconsciously feel that if the car has been well cleaned it will also have been well repaired, and the fresh smell that lingers in the vehicle days after the service is a constant reminder of your good work. A wash and vac is also a practical benefit for a customer because it saves them time.
2. Nothing’s too much trouble.
Customers can be frustrated if repairs take longer than they were told, so it’s important not to overpromise. Better to under promise and over deliver. But even if things do take longer than expected you can turn this to your advantage. For example, if the customer is waiting with you, you could offer to take them home and then drop the car off for them later in the day, which will save your customer a lot of inconvenience and leave them with a very positive feeling about your workshop.
3. Be open, honest and clear.
Customers trust and appreciate you more when you explain, both before and after the repair, what’s wrong with their vehicle, and you can reassure them further by showing them any broken parts that have been replaced. This will reassure the customer that the work you have done has been necessary and made their car safer - it also shows respect for the customer because you have credited them with some understanding. Some customers find garages intimidating and fear that they will be overcharged because they don't understand cars as well as the garage does. Even if these customers don't understand your explanation they will appreciate and trust you for offering it. And there’s a further benefit here. Other customers who come and go from your reception area will overhear the explanations you give and feel reassured that you are committed to offering good, honest advice with a desire to solve any problems at the least possible cost to the customer.
4. Be scrupulous on price.
If you are scrupulously fair on the quote this can pay you serious dividends. To ensure they are getting good value, customers will often compare estimates from two or more garages. Customers may therefore be coming to you having already been overcharged by another garage. A genuine and honest assessment from you may arrive at a price that is good for you and will seriously undercut the competition. By offering a fair quote, you may gain a customer who brings their friends and family to you too – far more profitable in the long term than charging the maximum fee for one job.
5. Undercut yourself.
Another thing that impresses customers no end is when the price is less than that quoted. If, on completion of the job, you find that you have quoted a price that is genuinely over the cost you needed to charge for the job, charge the customer that reduced price. Few gestures can reassure and please a customer more than being billed less than they expected.
6. Be available.
Some workshops are available for pick up and drop off of vehicles seven days a week, which customers love. Not all businesses can manage this, but if you can be available early and/or late it can give you a competitive edge.
7. Guarantee your work.
Make sure that all the work and parts you offer are guaranteed for at least one year. This is a service that most reputable garages offer and you should offer it too if you want to compete in today’s aftermarket.
8. Try to pick a quiet time.
If you have a customer with a more complicated problem, try to suggest they come in at a quieter time – late morning or early afternoon – rather than first thing when cars are being dropped off, or early evening when they’re being picked up. If there’s a specific problem that your customer wants you to look at, make sure you allow extra time. Overruns or unscheduled work can cause chaos with congested workshop schedules.
9. Get things straight from the start.
It's your job to know about cars, not your customer’s, so you must help them to explain clearly and precisely what they want you to do. It can help to write it down, particularly if they need a lot of work doing or the symptoms are hard to describe. This will avoid any misunderstandings later that may annoy your customer. Get as many details as you can from the owner. For example, a small detail such as, "I only hear the noise when the car is in reverse," can make a big difference to fault diagnosis. Vague, intermittent faults can be hard to trace and searching for them can cause your mechanics to fall behind schedule so ask customers to help you by providing all the information they can.
10. Offer a fully itemised invoice.
A fully itemised invoice, detailing everything done to the car, how long it took and how much the parts cost will give your customer great peace of mind, show that you are a very organised business, and may avoid any quibbles on cost.
All of the services above will inspire loyalty and trust in your customers and, as we said at the start, people are ready and willing to choose a workshop that can deliver a more satisfying customer experience. Put into practice as many extra customer service touches as you can and you will win and keep more customers.