You’re out to dinner with a friend. The service was horrible, the meal took forever to get to your table, and it was not what you expected. You get the check, pay the bill, and start heading for the door. At the door is a woman, a staff member, holding it open and saying in a monotone voice, “How was everything?” You pause for a second, look her in the eyes, and reply, “Everything was fine, thank you.” As you walk to your car, you turn to your friend and say, “That’s the last time I go to that restaurant!”
It's often said that the kiss of death for any business is what your customers are not telling you. Most people avoid confrontation. If they don’t like the service, the price, or the product, many consumers will not say anything. They would rather leave it alone and move on and try another company.
Think about your auto repair shop. Think about your customers. How many of your customers, after having a less-than-perfect experience, will not say a word to you or your staff? How many of these customers will come back to you? How many will not?
It’s important to understand that your customers are not only judging you by comparing you to your competition but also by the combined experiences of all companies and the interactions they come into contact with daily. And most of those experiences are not good. So, it would be in your best interest to create an experience that tells your customers, “We care about you, and we want you back!”
There are two things to consider regarding customer service and ensuring that you have met your customer’s expectations and created a memorable experience. First, when someone does give you critical feedback or post a negative review, use that feedback to learn and improve. How the customers view their experience may not be aligned with what you believe you have provided, but their opinion is their reality, and that’s all that matters.
The other thing to consider is having open and honest discussions with your employees, especially service advisors, to understand what excellent customer service is like, and try to look at that experience through the eyes of the consumer. This may not be easy and will take training, but it is essential.
Remember, it is the customer that ultimately determines what an amazing experience looks like.