Great customer experiences: As business owners we pride ourselves on them. We promote our good reviews, and ask our happy customers to refer us to their friends who might appreciate our good service too.
We might give considerable thought to the way we deliver customer service, and take great effort to ensure a consistent level of Good WOW is delivered at every encounter.
But the truth is the customer experience can go from great to bad very quickly, and sometimes you can be left scratching your head in wonder as to why.
The customer seemed to be satisfied when they left, but then they leave you a one or two star review on Google or Facebook. Why?
You thought you helped them out of a difficult situation by squeezing them in for a repair when you didn’t even really have time, but now they are arguing with you about the price. Why?
What is it that turns them so quickly?
1.You didn’t do what you said you would do:
This is the quickest way to turn a seemingly happy and sane customer into an upset and frustrated one. Maybe you didn’t call them before going ahead with extra work like you said you would, you just went ahead and did it. Maybe you didn’t keep them updated with how the job was doing when you said you would. Maybe you didn’t get the job done in the time frame you said was possible, even though not finishing in time may have been outside of your control.
The main issue you have here is that your communication process is broken or inadequate. Most Bad WOW caused here can be quickly eradicated through simple and effective communication with the team and the customer.
Ensure your procedures are up to date so that the team clearly understands when communication with the customer is essential and has been promised.
All your customer really wants is to know ahead of time if they should expect additional repair costs, and if you are going to have the car longer than planned.
2. You didn’t meet their expectations:
Do you deliver some value adding extra’s some of the time, but not all of the time, depending on how busy you are? This is a really fast way to ensure your repeat and loyal customers are disappointed. Did you implement car washing, which your customers give you great feedback about, but let it go by the wayside once your workshop was under pressure to get cars back on time? Your customers returning for their service will notice that you did the car wash last time, but not this time, and it will leave them feeling underwhelmed, under valued, and with Bad WOW.
You must deliver the value adds all the time, or don’t do them at all.
3. You didn’t take the time establish enough rapport:
Ouch. This just leaves the customer feeling like you don’t care, like they are just a number, like their custom isn’t important to you.
Never forget, your customers have an almost unlimited choice in repairers for their vehicle, and for them to repeatedly choose you, they must feel that you take the time and take the care to understand their requirements and wishes.
If you fail to do this, they will leave you for another workshop. Your customers want some level of relationship with you, so just spending an additional 3-5 minutes when they arrive to do a driveway inspection of their vehicle with them will go a long way to establish great rapport. If you think you don’t have time to do it, imagine what it will feel like when you see that customers car in the driveway of your competition.
4. They thought you were going to be different to their previous bad experience.
Stories of bad customer experiences with mechanics are everywhere. All across the internet and social media are car owners telling of their experiences of being “ripped off” on price, having their car damaged by the mechanic, or being the recipient of bad customer service…
They might even tell you of such things when they arrive at your auto repair shop for the first time, hoping you understand why they left their last repairer.
Maybe you weren’t listening, or maybe their expectations were unrealistic to begin with, but either way, if the customer feels you are just like their bad experience from the past, they will leave you too.
So take the time to listen and understand their concerns. Ask them what they expect, and then educate them on what they can expect from you, and why.
5. What you think is valuable service, isn’t valuable to them.
We must remember that value is determined by the person receiving it, not the person delivering it. What we think might be amazingly valuable to the customer, may actually mean nothing to them at all.
This is why it is important to test and measure your value propositions and offers, and to receive feedback through direct conversations and surveys.
You are on the fast track to Bad WOW if you keep touting the value of the 6 pack of beer you give away with every service when a disproportionate number of your customers are champagne drinking females.
Know your customers, and know what they like and value. Think about what makes life easier for them, or might bring a smile to their face. Maybe they like the lollie bags you put in the car because it keeps their kids happy on the way home. Maybe they absolutely love the car wash and vacuum because the only time their car gets a wash is when they bring it in for a service. Maybe the fact that you drop them to work is the most valuable thing you can do for them. Find out what your customers truely value.
6. Something else is going on for them in their life which is affecting both their current thinking and behaviour:
This you have no control over what so ever. However, you can control your reaction to their high conflict behaviour or unreasonable demands, and you can help them return to a more neutral and calm frame of mind.
The fastest way to de-escalate a conflict situation with a customer, or team member for that matter, is to interrupt their thought patterns.
How can you do that? By simply asking them questions. The person who is asking the questions is in control of the situation. Whenever you ask a question, the other person has to stop and consider their response. If you ask enough disarming questions, your customer has no choice but to slow down, and they will calm down as a result.
Choose your words and questions carefully though, or you’ll be right back where you started. “I’d really like to understand what has led to you being so unhappy with our service so that we can try to reach an outcome that we are both happy with, are you open to me asking you a few questions?”.
“Great. What was your expectation of the job we were doing for you today?” “How did we communicate our expectation of the job to you?”. “How could we have improved our communication so that this situation could have been avoided?”. Using questions like this not only slows down your unhappy customer so that they can think, it gives them the opportunity to provide you feedback, and an opportunity for them to be heard. Make sure you listen.
In such a competitive automative aftermarket, we can’t afford to lose customers because of misunderstandings that could have been easily avoided through better communication, systemisation, and preparation.
Ask of yourself and your team each and every day “ How can we add more good WOW today?”. Answer honestly, and then set about doing it.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your auto repair business :
1. Join Under The Hood and connect with other auto repair business owners who are looking to grow too
It’s our FREE Facebook community where smart auto repair shop owners share and receive best practice from each other – Click Here to join now.
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If engaging a business coach to help grow your business is scary and new to you, take a look at The PiTStop. It’s an online mentoring program with no contract, a monthly live training and Q&A, a resource library, and a private Facebook community. Click Here for the details , and join for just $49 per month until you are ready for more.
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This program is 100% online and can be done in your time. Includes 8 weekly work modules, recorded best practice webinars, private Facebook group for additional mentoring and support, business plan, sales and marketing plan, operations manual, one on one time with me, and all of my customisable HR docs. Send me an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Superstar” to get started.
4. Work with me and my team privately in The Engine Room.
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from struggle street to auto repair success just send me an email to Rachael@workshopwhisperer.com and put “Private” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!