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A FEATURED ARTICLE FROM
Service: We're All in the Business
Many still disagree about the definition of detailing. But there is one thing that is true for everybody in business: We're all in Customer Service!
This month, I do not wish to delve into the intricacies of value and process. Let's give those subjects a brief rest and consider how we can provide better customer service and really satisfy our customers.
Customer service is satisfying customer needs and exceeding
their expectations. When you perform a detailing job for a customer
you should return a vehicle when and as promised and at the price promised.
This all sounds simple, but your own experiences should tell you that
good customer service is rare. When was the last time you had a problem
with a product or service and you had the
Think about your customers. What do they think about your customer service? Would they cite their experiences with you as a shining example of what customer service should be? Or would they be less than enthused about dealing with you and your employees?
Earlier this month I visited a web site called allbusiness.com, which offers free advice to small businesses. It is well worth a visit. In an unattributed article on this web site, the authors stated that there are ten rules to customer service:
These points make sense, and their application to any vehicle service business is quite appropriate. Remember that most of your new business comes from referrals and your current customers are repeat customers. As a result, keeping your customers satisfied ensures a steady stream of repeat and new business. You cannot survive without good service.
COMMITTING TO QUALITY SERVICE
The first commandment of business is to provide value
to your customers. The second commandment is to value your customers.
You show your commitment by respecting and being courteous to your customers.
Each of your customers believes that his or her business is important.
You must reinforce the customer's belief and believe it yourself. When
you respect your customers you learn to
This sounds suspiciously simple, but beliefs are fragile. Any misadventure with anybody in your shop can sour a customer's attitude toward your shop. As a result, everybody in your shop must commit to providing the highest levels of service. This means that you should empower your employees to provide service. In short, make good customer service a responsibility shared by everyone. This also implies that everybody should be able to provide service without seeking approval. Yes, there are limits, but everybody should be working to make the customer's experience with your business pleasant.
MAKING THE COMMITMENT
Who should make the first commitment to quality service? Well, that person is you! You set the example for everybody else in your shop. If you do not provide the highest levels of courtesy and respect, why should anybody else? As a result, you must be the example that everybody emulates. When your staff sees you do everything possible to ensure that a customer receives outstanding service, then they can learn from you. What are some things that you can do to ensure the delivery of satisfaction?
Keep Your Promises
The moral of this story is that it is wrong to make well-intentioned promises if you cannot guarantee that the promise will be fulfilled in all of its terms. When you commit to providing a service, make sure that you can deliver. It is better to commit to a longer time span and deliver earlier (exceeding expectations!).
Make Sure the Customer Always Wins
Concentrate on the Customer
Resolve Problems Immediately
Don't Argue with Customers
Remember that you are making promises, and you must deliver on those promises. If a customer is worth keeping, you may sacrifice a little to gain a long-term relationship, but if a customer wants too much, know where to draw the line. Sometimes you must say "NO!" - just don't say no in anger or in the middle of an argument.
REWARD GOOD SERVICE
Remember that I stated the importance of your being an
example. When you see somebody in your shop providing good service,
reward that person! Look for opportunities to reinforce
MAKE IT EASY TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU
The last point this month is probably the most obvious. Reduce the hassles and you will produce smiles. When you remove the guesswork and ambiguities from the services you offer, your customers will have a better idea of what to expect. When a customer has a firm expectation of what he or she will receive, then meeting - and hopefully exceeding - that expectation is much easier.
When you structure your business to provide value and exemplary service, everybody wins. The customer is satisfied and will recognize the value received. The stage is set for repeat business and positive referrals. As you consider your New Year, resolve to ensure that service leads everybody's list.
AUTO LAUNDRY NEWS is published by EW Williams Publications Company
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