you are like most car wash or fast lube operators, you invest significant
time and money attracting new and return customers to your business.
Obviously, most successful businesses have a plan for consistent use
of advertisements and coupons. However, we find that one of the most
important aspects of a successful marketing plan is based on what is
done once the customer comes into the facility for service. It specifically
concerns those activities that create a relationship, which will result
in bringing a customer back every time he or she has a need for a service
THE ONES YOU GET
your customers genuinely like you, they are more likely to use your
services regardless of your price. If they don't like you, they won't
use your services regardless of your price. Sounds too simple, doesn't
it? Well it is, but fewer people than you might think take the extra
time to develop
a relationship. This is not because operators do not see relationship
building as important, but because it takes extra effort to be in position
to make customer contact and develop productive relationships. It doesn't
necessarily take more time, but it does require an effort.
DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE
I was scheduled to visit with a new client. When I first arrived at
his facility, I was not overly impressed. The facility was somewhat
basic looking and was not very appealing. It was not well merchandised,
and was only marginally clean. The employees were however technically
proficient and the service was fast. The client had called me in to
work with him specifically on improving the revenue per car and to help
him to develop and implement some specific training processes. Before
my visit, he was producing above average industry car counts.
What I was most surprised to discover was that despite
the mediocre facility, his customers were highly motivated to come to
his facility. The number of compliments and praises I observed from
customers was exceptionally high. The overwhelming message from his
customers: They trust him as the owner. He and virtually all of his
technicians have lived in the area their entire lives and everyone knows
them. This trusting relationship is clearly the reason for the high
car counts and even more reason to raise his prices and implement some
more focused techniques to increase revenues.
PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU
are not talking about just giving good service, were talking about providing
for and creating customer relationships. The following breakdown illustrates
how typical customers base feel about their service provider:
don't have a definite reason to like or dislike you;
10 percent really like you and will always come to you for
10 percent didn't like you and will not return.
the concept that 80 percent of your customers may be somewhat neutral
about how they feel about you and your business. Sometimes referred
to as the "silent majority," these customers neither compliment
nor complain, but just wait to be swayed in either direction. The challenge
is to move more customers from the 80 percent neutral zone over to the
"really like you" zone.
Meeting the customers' expectations for quality products and services
is mandatory, however many operators already do that. What can you do
to stand above your competition? Let me make some suggestions to help
create more productive customer relationships:
a position to make contact with your customers. Don't always have
your head under a hood or in the office. If you are not in position
to make contact with customers, you can't find out firsthand what
your customers are saying about your business and what their specific
needs are. The most productive use of your time related to business
development is talking to your customers and making them feel cared
sure your staff understands the importance of customer relationships
and how superior service helps create loyal customers. Everyone should
be committed to delivering customer service. Don't just tell them
to do it, be sure to show your staff what exceptional customer service
looks and feels like.
an effort to understand what is really important to your customers.
Don't just assume that you know, ask individual customers!
customers aren't looking for the fastest or the least expensive service.
Most are looking for the best total value. Value is determined by several
factors not even related to price. These include such elements as trust,
dependability, quality, and service. So don't cut your price, instead
increase service, value, and relationship.
a customer with a baby, a small child, and a large bag full of supplies:
When she arrives at your shop, she needs someone to open a door for
her and a clean and safe environment for her children to play in while
she waits. She also needs help getting back into her car. Or, how about
using an umbrella when greeting customers when it's raining? It takes
only a little extra effort, but returns big dividends in customer impressions.
There are literally hundreds of ways to create a
positive impression with your customer and most don't require a special
skill, just a desire to serve your customers with excellence. Give your
customers a reason to say: Wow, this is great customer service and I
will come back!
is the founder and president of Performance Resources, Inc. and has
been involved in retail business development and training for over 30
years. To find out more about the services PRI offers visit our website
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.