Customer Service Essentials
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It has been documented that people have a love affair with their
vehicles. It is the second biggest investment they have, so it only
makes sense that they take them to car care facilities that they
To most people, a car wash is a car wash and a fast lube is a
fast lube. What you have to do is find a way to differentiate yourself
from your competition. One of the best ways to do that is to provide
exceptional customer service.
According to John Delves of Southeastern Training & Development,
customer service starts with understanding who your customer is.
"You have to know what your customer is after when they come
into your location," he said. "You can build a program
if you know that information."
To start a relationship with your customers, you have to establish
rapport. How do you do that? Delves says the first way is to use
their name. "One of the biggest things you can do is call a
customer by name," he said. "There is nothing more impressive."
Another way to build trust is to avoid jargon or technical language
when talking with a customer. It can be confusing to a customer
if technicians use language that a customer does not understand.
It is best to use terms that will make sense to the customer.
"We've got to think in terms of what does everybody understand?"
Delves said. "Our customers need to be told everything easily,
not in a hard fashion."
One of the simplest, yet most important elements of customer service
is to be friendly. Smiling will make customers feel appreciated
and it will also make them feel at ease.
Delves recommends getting your employees directly involved in
the customer service process. He suggests giving employees a sheet
with the word "customer" on it and have them come up with
a word for each of the letters that involves customer service (see
Once you have your employees complete the exercise, Delves suggests
you have them put together a vision for customer service. "You
can take one word from each employee and you have a customer service
vision," he said. "If you get your employees to write
the script, they'll live by it."
Some of the potential visions: "We will communicate."
"We will take more time to understand." "Smiling
is part of our uniform." "Thanking everybody who uses
our facility is mandatory."
Breaking Down Customer Service
John Delves of Southeastern Training & Development recommends
creating a sheet with the word "customer" spelled out
on it and giving it to each employee. Have them come up with a word
for each of the letters that they would commit to doing that would
make a customer service better in your operation. the following
are some suggestions:
C = Clean, Care, Communicate
U = User-friendly, Useful, Unigue
S = Smile, Speed, Sincere
T = Thank You, Teamwork, Teach
O = Opportunity, Opinions, Obligations|
M = Memorable, More, Measure
E = Enthusiasm, Exceed Expectations,
R = Respect, Responsible, Returns
Obtaining feedback directly from customers is vital to your customer
service success. Delves believes that the best questionnaire has
only one question on it. He recommends giving each customer as they
check out a postage paid postcard. Delves suggests the postcard
should read "Thank you so much for using XYZ company. We appreciate
your business. Please help us do a better job of serving your needs.
Please answer the following questionnaire."
"The only question you need to ask is 'What was the one thing
that you did not like about your visit?'" said Delves. "You
don't need to know what they liked, you need to find out what ticked
To get customers to complete the questionnaire, Delves suggests
having a drawing once a month. The winner gets something free with
a paid service. "I don't believe in giving anything away,"
he said. "I believe in making it enticing."
Another way to get customer feedback is to do a random call back.
"Call one customer back every day and ask them how you're doing,"
said Delves. "Thank them for using your facility and ask what
you could be doing better."
Delves warns that in order to get good feedback, you need to really
listen to what your customers are saying. "When you ask a customer
a question, do not have a preconceived notion of what their response
will be," he cautioned.
Customer service can be so simple if it is done properly. Your
customers are the key to the success of your business. By seeking
their input and by getting your employees involved in the process,
you can develop a strong rapport with your customers.
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