Perhaps, the most important aspect of any business is customer service. In fact, it doesn’t matter what type of business you run, if you don’t have an efficient, excellent or dedicated customer service then you are teetering on the edge of disaster. As a repair shop, customer service is crucial to not only creating a loyal customer base, but to also diffuse those emotional visits from customers upset over their damaged vehicle, to stand head and shoulders above the competition, and to build a professional and credible reputation.
Customer Service isn’t something that just magically appears overnight. It’s something that needs to be carefully created and cultivated along the way. If you don’t properly foster your repair shop’s customer service then you run the risk of having customers slip through the cracks or losing customers outright.
If your repair shop is experiencing any of the following issues or doesn’t have some of these strategies in place, then there’s a chance that your customer service needs an overhaul:
- No Chain of Command
The chain of command is the system in place that refers to the various authority levels of the employees. It starts at the top position – which is the business owner – and works its way down. The chain of command makes it clear to all employees who they need to go to when they have questions, comments and issues. This is particularly helpful when dealing with customers, especially when there are customer issues. Additionally, customers may feel inclined to speak to a manager or supervisor in order to express their feelings or opinions. In this case, not having a clear chain of command can create unnecessary issues and potentially lead to customers leaving. To setup a chain of command, you or your boss needs to become a leader. Here’s what they need to consider:
- Establish Employee Roles – The first step is to ensure all employees know their roles within the repair shop and define who is in command, who they need to be talking to, and who handles certain protocol.
- Create Good Communication – The next step is to create good communication between all employees. Make sure everyone knows that can talk to the person in command and come to them about anything. Ensure the person in command is respectful, encouraging and gives advice to help employees.
- Make Sure Everyone Supports the Commander – A strong chain of command is when everyone supports it and the leader. It’s important that you know everyone’s view on the chain of command and whether they agree with who is in command. If there’s breaks in the support, the whole system can fall apart.
- Keep Informed and Provide Leadership – The commander of the chain needs to be someone who can keep your team informed of any changes and who can provide leadership if unexpected issues arise. They should be a problem solver and independent thinker to help make everything run smoothly.
By getting everyone on the same page when it comes to the chain of command you have a higher chance of really improving your customer service.
- Poor Communication
With regards to customer service, communication is key. Not only is communication important between coworkers, but it’s vital to providing high level repair services to customers.
- Employee Communications – All employees need to be on the same page when dealing with customers. No customer likes to repeat the same issues or information every time they speak to a different employee. The easiest way to accomplish this is through a computer software program like CRM. Customer Relationship Management software allows all employees throughout the chain of command, to have access to updated customer information in addition to sales, invoices, marketing items, leads and more. This will also allow employees to better communicate with customers and resolve potential customer issues.
- Customer Communications –When communicating directly with customers, it’s important to remain patient, professional and calm. Additionally, make sure not to take anything personal. Above all else, listen effectively to customers and be able to properly summarize what they say. This helps to show that you or an employee is listening and being attentive.
- Resolving Customer Issues
Everyone is familiar with the saying “the customer is always right,” but following through on this notion can be a whole other story. When a customer approaches a member of your team with an issue, what happens? How does the employee react? Is there a plan in place that they can refer to that helps them work through the customer issue? Do they ensure the customer walks away satisfied with the result?
These are all important questions that you need to be asking. Customers need to be treated with respect and they must feel as though their business is valued. There should be an action plan in place that employees can follow with clear steps on how to properly and effectively deal with customer issues. This means that the employee won’t have to wonder if they’re going about things correctly, what they should say or do, they can just refer to the plan and work towards making the customer happy.
At the same time, no matter how big or small the issue is that the customer may have, all problems should be treated equally and given the same amount of attention and priority.
- Feedback, Complaints and Suggestions
Many businesses rely on customer feedback, complaints, and suggestions in order to help shape where they are heading. On a macro level, this kind of feedback can help businesses to figure out where they are excelling and where they may be falling behind. On a micro level, it can also help identify areas for improvement in a business’s services or messaging. For example, our auto glass repair shop decided to create a Service Area section on our website after feedback from our customers that they weren’t sure what parts of town our mobile technicians could go to. If you think certain aspects of your company’s services may not be up to par, then it could be worth your time to set up a customer feedback system. This will provide you with valuable insight regarding the customer experience and possible ways to improve it.
When this feedback can be provided by customers in an anonymous way, they tend to be much more honest, which is exactly what you want.
Is Customer Retention a Priority?
Does your repair shop put a lot of time and energy into getting new customers? While new customers are great, customer retention should be just as important, if not more important. Did you know that it actually takes more time, effort, and money to secure new customers than it takes to retain the ones you already have? There should be a focus on creating customer loyalty.
Phil Andrews has been a partner in several local Arizona auto glass businesses for more than 10 years, handling business strategy, online and offline marketing, and partnerships. Before working in the auto glass industry, he worked for a handful of small software and marketing companies in the greater Phoenix metro area. He enjoys keeping up with the rapid changes in the online local business world and checking out the interesting sights around Arizona. He currently writes for Pinnacle Auto Glass of Arizona. He’s thought about retirement and even tried to retire once or twice so far, but he got bored right away and dove right back into the local auto glass world! EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org