Want the Gold? Forget the RulePosted 6/15/2006
By George Witt, AAM
The Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" doesn't work in business. Giving others what we want may not be what they want.
We need to put ourselves in our customer's shoes and see if we'd buy our own service. Would we wait that long to get an appointment? Would we put up with making an appointment and not getting our car back the same day? Would we accept "your car needs brakes" as a reason to buy them? Every car needs brakes. Didn't it have them when I brought it in?
Your customers don't really know what happens to their car once the wheels come off, but they surely know what happens when they call or come in. Do they get a friendly, smiling voice on the phone or a pleasant greeting when they open the door?
There are far too many repair shops that consider the customer an adversary instead of a friend. How do you think some of those crazy customers get that way? Haven't you ever been one of those customers at some other business in the height of frustration?
Set up an appointment system so you have time for each customer the minute they walk in the door. It's your shop, and you should control the flow. This allows time for essential communication in a relaxed atmosphere. Time is of the essence today, and if a customer has to wait to drop their car off, they can get testy.
Make sure to address the first and foremost reason the car was brought in for servicing. That "little noise" they're describing means the world to them. Don't sell them anything else until you can tell them what it will take to fix that noise. I've had too many situations in the past when a business wants to sell me something I don't need; they just want to make a sale. That tells me they really don't care about me. Fix what the customer wants and they're more likely to buy what else you suggest. Blow them off and they're not happy.
Give them specific reasons for each repair. Better yet, show them the things you need for them to address. Your "closing rate" on sales will increase dramatically when they can see the cracks in the rubber themselves. Anything that can be measured should be measured. We always show the customer the "before and after" printouts of sensors we've replaced, to prove to them they really did need that part.
Set a goal to only call a customer once about additional needed repairs. Calling them over and over is like playing poker and raising the bet each time.
When you do call, make their concern the very first thing you discuss, regardless of what else you've found. That's what they want, that's why they brought it in, it's what they think is the most important thing.
Adhere to accurate estimates in advance and finish the work on time. You're the one who said "how much and when." Stick to your word and be sure to call them promptly when unforeseen things arise and inform them of the new developments.
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