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What Your Customers Don’t Tell You is What’s Most Damaging


Joe Marconi

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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.

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This is so true, many will not tell the owner or person in charge of any short fall, but will tell others. I was in a Wendy's eating a lunch one day and watched a Buick pull in and park and an older fellow with his wife get out. They ordered and sat down across from me. Another fellow walked up and said to them, I see you own a Buick. Just in case you ever need body repair do not go to so and so collision shop. They are terrible and say they are Buick experts. Just wanted you to know and he proceeded to leave and get into his Buick and drive away.

You have to wonder how poorly he was treated to stop just anyone and vent his frustration. Did he let the so and so shop know? don't know but that always stuck with me that bad treatment and bad work travels to areas you have no idea about as a shop owner. I always asked my customers if they were happy and if there was anything we could do to improve what they experianced. Sometimes we did get a suggestion and we took it to heart. 

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I agree, but … I often read about “The Customer Experience,” or providing a great customer experience, or exceed customer expectations, but it stops there. I seldom read about what that means or looks like. Jt’s just “go do it.” I have my observations, but I suggest we open this up for discussion as to what that means. And I don’t like what I read recently: Easy appointments, clear explanations minus jargon, quick turnaround and the overused “fixed right the first time.” I think those are routine expectations, not great customer service.

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Spot on, Joe.  We all need to be humble enough to realize that not every experience, even in a great shop environment, goes off perfectly.

Thank you for the reminder to look at our processes though the eyes of a customer.

Gerald

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8 hours ago, Gerald Martin said:

Spot on, Joe.  We all need to be humble enough to realize that not every experience, even in a great shop environment, goes off perfectly.

Thank you for the reminder to look at our processes though the eyes of a customer.

Gerald

The key word is humble.  A very important point! Thank you!

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