“The customer is the lifeblood of your business so treat them that way,” said Mike Cassata, during a recent presentation at NACE CARS Expo & Conference in August. “Make sure they understand that you value them and they are the reason you are there.”
The owner of Hammer Insights told attendees that a well-treated and satisfied first-time customer can turn into a repeat customer and eventually become your regular client and an advocate of your shop. Over time, you may even develop a personal relationship and they may soon begin to feel like your friend. Not only is this beneficial for your business, it’s important to insurance carriers as well. “We have a grocer, doctor, dentist, baker, butcher and mechanic; why not a collision repair professional?” said Cassata.
Cassata offered tips during his presentation, which is an elective in the Automotive Management Institute’s degree program. The capacity crowd participated in a discussion on how to deliver outstanding customer service. Many of the recommendations don’t take that much time to implement but the benefits can be huge for your business.
Make a Good First Impression
Many shops focus on technician training but it’s important not to forget the office staff. They are the first ones a customer talks to, both over the phone and in person. Train your staff to always be courteous and to ask customers when it’s convenient for them to drop off their vehicles. Can they easily find your location? Make sure your shop has adequate signage to be seen from the road and provide plenty of parking if possible. When customers arrive, greet them at the door and take the time to go over all of the procedures with them. First impressions are key. The bottom line—“Make your business easy to do business with,” said Cassata.
Provide an Inviting Environment
Cassata said that in addition to friendly customer service, a welcoming environment will leave a positive lasting impact on your customers. Rather than entering a shop full of vapor smells and loud noise, consider providing soft music or set up a television in the lobby. Customers will appreciate having a comfortable area to wait for their vehicles and offer coffee/tea, bottled water and soft drinks. Many customers will bring their children and having a place for them to play or read is another good addition. Also, make sure to have clean restrooms that are easily accessible.
For many customers, a visit to your shop will be the first time they’ve been in an accident. They may feel lost and confused. Help them feel comfortable and let them know you understand what they are going through. A little TLC will go a long way. “In many cases, you will be the only insurance company representative to meet the customer face to face,” said Cassata. “Fix the customer first, then fix the car!”
Deliver Peace of Mind
Exceed their expectations! Assure your customers that you will provide the best service possible and repair their vehicles to the required specifications. Always partner with the best in the trade, whether it’s the tow operator, paint manufacturers, jobbers, mechanical shops, parts suppliers or IT providers.
How do your customers want to stay informed about the repair process? Find out if they prefer to receive a text, email or phone call. Let them know if the vehicle isn’t going to be ready when originally scheduled and follow up to keep them notified about the progress. “If there is a problem, resolve it quickly before it becomes a bigger problem.”
For more information, contact Mike Cassata at 585-794-0914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Importance of the Customer