It takes plenty of money to earn a new customer, but unfortunately the work doesn’t stop there. It takes a lot of effort and goodwill to turn them into a loyal customer. Even then, it only takes a couple of bad mistakes to lose them. What customer service mistakes are most likely to turn off customers from your shop? Here are three things that can really do some damage to your client base, and three questions that will help you determine how well you’re treating your customers. How does your shop measure up?
Hiring a service writer who’s not a good fit for a customer service role.
Service writers need several skills. They need to understand vehicles enough to communicate well with the technicians and the customers. They need to coordinate schedules, to ensure that deadlines are met and technicians stay busy. But most importantly, they need to be able to provide great customer service. If their instincts are lacking in this area, you won’t have to worry about scheduling customers for long, because you won’t have any. The Balance explains the 10 soft skills required for customer service jobs; how do your service writers fare on these?
Failure to engage.
It’s hard to feel important as a customer these days. All of the big companies are using phone trees and automated systems designed to ensure you never talk to a live human being. One of the biggest advantages that independent businesses (including automotive repair shops) have is that they don’t invest in these systems. These shops are easy to reach, and their employees are happy to help.
But what if they aren’t? What if the customer feels like they’re interrupting someone every time they call, email, or approach the counter? At this point, an independent shop starts to feel like a multinational corporation – but without all of the shine that millions of dollars can bring. At this point, one of the biggest natural advantages of being an independent shop has been wasted. When customers call your shop, how are they greeted? Do they feel like the center of attention, or an interruption?
Providing a dead-end answer.
When you’re interacting with customers, each answer you provide should get them closer to an answer to their question. Of course, this doesn’t always mean that you can give them exactly what they’re asking – sometimes, you can’t fit them in your schedule today, no matter how much they might want it.
What it does mean is that they aren’t having to direct the conversation. If they ask whether a specific brand is carried, a simple “no” isn’t going to earn you much business – or goodwill. If you can’t meet customer requests, offer alternatives. If you’re unsure of an answer, offer to ask a person who is, and get back with them. And always make sure you’re leaning into a conversation, trying to find a solution to the problem the customer has. Even if they don’t want to take your offer, they’ll appreciate that you tried to help. How often do your service writers take calls without any suggestions to help fix the customer’s problem?
To learn more about Repair Shop Websites’ Call Analytics product and how it can help you answer these questions, call us at 866.665.1605 or email Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com