Editor’s Notebook: Lack of Effort Loses Sale

Editor’s Notebook: Lack of Effort Loses Sale

You Must Earn Your Customers’ Business

With so many choices today for everything we buy, whether it’s food, furniture, clothing or cars, customer service is more important than it’s ever been. Customers have tons of places to buy products, either in brick and mortar establishments or online, but not every place delivers a high level of customer service that is a key factor in making a buying decision for many consumers.

I can relate first-hand, having recently been in a camera shop with the intention of buying a new digital camera. But based on the mediocre customer service experience I had, I walked out without making a purchase. And, two weeks later I made my purchase at another store.

The salesman at the first store did not greet me with any enthusiasm. He did not ask me any questions to be able to best help me find the right camera for my needs. He did not give me clear answers to my questions and seemed to struggle with differentiating cameras when I asked about the features of different models. He seemed to be more interested in knowing whether or not I was going to be buying a camera that day. I was ready to buy a camera that day, but I felt that he did not earn my business.

Certain basic elements must constitute a buyer/seller experience to result in great customer service.

  • Product knowledge. Sellers should know their products inside and out, and be able to recite key features and benefits without any hesitation. They should also be able to make product comparisons and help customers distinguish which product is right for them.

  • Empathy. Sellers should know how to ask the right questions, to guide customers in making purchase decisions that are right for them, and ease any frustration with making the right choice.

  • Genuine interest. Sellers should carefully listen to what customers are saying, and know how to decipher which features regarding a certain product are most important to them.

  • Comfort level. Customers should feel important and at ease when they are making buying decisions. It’s the sellers’ duty to make each customer’s experience a pleasant one.

Some establishments do more than this and, in turn, deliver premium customer service, while others deliver a lot less and don’t deserve to make the sale. Simply, there are just too many other places for consumers to do business.

Those basic elements apply to your shop as well. You must greet customers in a welcoming manner and make them feel comfortable with their decision to bring their vehicle to your shop. You must know how to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair import vehicles, using high-quality parts and the right tools and equipment.

You also have to be able to explain to customers the problem with their vehicle and why it needs to be fixed. You must listen to their concerns and ask them questions to help pinpoint the problems. And, after the repairs are complete, they should feel good about the vehicle service experience, and be confident that you have served them well by fixing their vehicle correctly, ensuring its safety and performance.

Are you doing all of these things? If not, you may have customers like me who never come back. Can you afford that?

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