Think about how it feels when you’re on the receiving end of great customer service. It feels like you’re being treated with respect, that the people you are dealing with are really trying to be helpful and that they take a pride in what they do.
Is this kind of thing just common sense? Is it easy, something you don't even have to think about? Obviously it isn’t, because we can all think of times when we haven’t felt satisfied. Did we then keep going back to that service for more? Chances are we went elsewhere and never used that unsatisfactory service ever again.
Your garage business needs to get customer service right every time, because you need to keep your customers and win new ones to keep your business strong.
Here are ten recent statistics that show just how important customer service is:
DID YOU KNOW?
- 68% of customers say they’ve switched service providers because of poor customer service. – Accenture
- 59% of 25 – 34-year-olds share poor customer experiences online. – New Voice Media
- 95% of dissatisfied customers tell others about their bad experience. – Zendesk
- Maximising satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to lift revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%. – McKinsey
- Customer experience leaders have more than a 16% advantage over competitors in willingness to buy, reluctance to switch brands, and likelihood to recommend. – Temkin Group
- 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. – Aspect
- Customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand. – Harvard Business Review
- 60% of UK consumers prefer a balance of price and service and will not accept low service levels in exchange for a lower priced product. – UKCSI
- 97% of global consumers say that customer service is very important or somewhat important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand. – Parature
- 60% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service now than they did just one year ago. – Parature
So let’s break down what good customer service is and see what matters most to your customers.
The garage environment
Here’s a checklist of things that are welcoming and appreciated by the customer. They may not be possible for you and your business, but they are a good target to aim for.
- A comfortable, clean and spacious waiting area with plenty of seating
- Magazines and newspapers. Car magazines for customers who are interested in automotive, lifestyle magazines for those who aren’t, and comics to keep kids busy so the parents can concentrate
- Free coffee and tea and maybe a fridge stocked with cold drinks
- Free WiFi
- A TV to watch while you wait
What customers want above all else is to feel that you are more concerned about getting their car into a good, safe, working condition than in maximising your profits. Profits of course are important and are what keeps your business alive, but a trusted service is worth more in the long term than a higher return in the short term. Never try to upsell more expensive parts or parts that do not really need to be replaced – but by all means offer options for replacements that will soon be needed as it may make this visit to the garage a more efficient and cost-effective one for the customer.
What matters too is the manner in which you are greeted. If you introduce yourself to the customer, shake hands, address them as Mr, Mrs or Miss X, this makes a huge impression and presents your garage as a highly professional business. Your customer will feel that if you take such care over customer service you will also be taking good care of their vehicle.
The same goes for whoever answers the phone or sits on reception. If this person can remember regular customers and take an interest in their lives, even with a simple, “Hi, how have you been since we last saw you?,” this can make a hugely positive impression. Indeed, there is no reason why the whole team shouldn’t be encouraged to do this when appropriate.
This friendly, caring image can be enhanced online. A website that shows pictures and names of team members demonstrates an honest and open business – if you can add any customer testimonials you have a web page that acts not only as a guide to your services but also a promotional tool that reassures and attracts old and new customers alike. It’s an inescapable truth today that people judge you online before they judge you offline – you can make a great first impression every time by getting your online image right.
After the customer has dropped off the vehicle and you have evaluated its condition, call to explain the work that needs to be done and double check that the customer is happy for you to go ahead. This is an excellent way to reassure them that your primary concern is to give them a good service. Follow this right through to the end of the job by meeting with customers at the garage to run over everything that’s been undertaken.
You may think that all this stuff is quite normal, yet many businesses do ignore such advice, thinking it will all just happen naturally. This is your opportunity. You can stand above your competitors and be noticed by doing such apparently simple but important and effective things. Ask yourself, how often have you received really great service recently? Service that you would tell people about? Or write about? Probably not all that often, which is why when you do experience it, you really notice.
Make great customer service a priority for your business and your customers will notice you.