Editor’s Notebook: Top-Quality Brings Customers In

Editor’s Notebook: Top-Quality Brings Customers In

Today’s fragile economy requires that now, more than ever, you take a hard look at your business model. In particular, the efforts you make in winning over customers will be the catalyst that carries you through an economic downtown.

Quality is the name of the game today, and most of your customers and prospects want quality repairs that restore system integrity, boost vehicle performance and ensure many miles of worry-free driving.

So promoting your shop’s services on a quality message alone will not be to your best advantage. Customers today are looking for more — you just need to figure out which features and benefits will be attractive to the majority of your customer base. And realize that delivering great customer service is a huge advantage because, in general, it’s rarely delivered by most service establishments.

Recently, I went to a fast-food restaurant for lunch. Something I typically don’t do, but I wanted to try a salad on the menu. Before placing my order, I asked the cashier what was on the salad. To my dismay, not only did she not know, but she didn’t even bother to ask another co-worker about the ingredients for me.

As an experiment, I went back the next day to order a different salad. The cashier, who was not the same one who took my order the prior day, also could not answer my question about what was on the salad. When I asked for grilled chicken to be added to the salad (note that I was upgrading my order, not her), she didn’t know how to void the ori-ginal salad order and no one was available to help out, so I had to wait several minutes for the corrected order to be pro-cessed.

I was quite amazed that two different cashiers who were assigned to work registers during the busy lunch-hour timeframe were not familiar with their company’s products. Products that are the same ones served day after day, from a limited menu posted on the wall behind them. Most places today are likely no different; extending only a bare minimum level of customer service.

While I realize that turnover is probably very high in the fast-food business, their managers need to be sure that they’ve got their best people on the front lines — dealing with customers — or they risk losing these valued patrons to a competitor.

The message here is that your service writer, and other people at your shop who have the most direct contact with customers, should understand the important responsibilities of their job, and how significant their role is in extending the greatest amount of customer service. The old adage that you have only one chance to make a great first impression is so true.

Customers have so many choices today for any of the products or services they buy. Businesses that want to attract new customers need to actively take steps to deliver the highest level of value and service. They need to stand out in consumers’ minds — to be memorable. If you forget this basic, yet vital, business-building tool, customers may forget about you.

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