Management: Take a Good Look in the Mirror

Management: Take a Good Look in the Mirror

As the challenge to win and retain customers becomes increasingly more difficult, taking a detailed look at your business' policies and practices, especially as they relate to the outside world, should rank among your most important growth strategies. How customers perceive your shop in terms of quality repairs, expertise, knowledge and professionalism can make or break their decision to bring their vehicles to your shop for service ....

By Mary DellaValle
Editor
ImportCar Magazine

As the challenge to win and retain customers becomes increasingly more difficult, taking a detailed look at your business’ policies and practices, especially as they relate to the outside world, should rank among your most important growth strategies.

How customers perceive your shop in terms of quality repairs, expertise, knowledge and professionalism can make or break their decision to bring their vehicles to your shop for service.

And the level of satisfaction with their vehicles’ repair, and how they rate the customer service they received, will determine if they come back, and whether or not you’ll get those highly sought-after customer referrals.

In other words, satisfaction with the repair process is more than just using high-quality parts and delivering top-quality repairs. It starts at the service counter and extends to the finished repair — and everything that happens in between, including any correspondence and communication with employees. Customers need to feel important and know that you appreciate their business.

During a recent lunchtime trip to the bank, I witnessed what I would describe as one of the most “heartless” customer transactions I’ve ever seen. It was so disturbing to me, that I can’t even imagine the level of discontent the customer was feeling.

He was a middle-aged man, who upon approaching the bank teller’s window, said, “I’d like to close this account.” He handed over a savings account passbook and the teller very matter-of-factly began the process of closing his account. Not one word of gratitude to thank him for being a loyal customer was extended. Maybe she thought, he’s not a customer anymore, so who cares about him now.

But, maybe even more importantly, she didn’t try to find out why he was closing his account. Was he unhappy with the service he received? Did he find a bank with more incentives? Was he moving? Maybe the reasons were due to financial hardship and he needed the money, but the teller didn’t bother to find out if it was a reflection of anything the bank did — or didn’t do — from a customer service perspective.

I would think the manager would want to know why someone was closing an account, especially if it were a large sum of money, to hopefully get feedback on how the bank could better serve, and retain, its customers.

The moral of the story is, customer feedback is essential to your business to make sure you’re hitting the mark in terms of customer satisfaction and customers’ perceived value. Take any negative comments and customer concerns very seriously. Reflect on your customers’ input to make changes that will better channel your resources and allow your shop to take customer service to another level. Appreciate your customers and their business, or they will find someone else who does.

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