PROVE IT TO ME.
I’m very skeptical. I don’t believe that there is much truth in advertising. After all, your website and your marketing and advertising claim that you provide “five star service – guaranteed.” It’s just that sometimes, when it comes to customer service, it often depends on whom you get to serve you.
When I call for the very first time, I will form my first impression of your organization and how professional it is. It starts with that person who answers the phone. If that individual doesn’t sound sharp or doesn’t know how to handle my call, how can I expect great service at any other level?
So, if you claim superior service, make sure that everyone in your dealership demonstrates the highest level of service in every aspect of my experience with you. After all, your company is supposed to provide consistently superior customer service – not sometimes, but all the time. Be sure it does, or I might head over to your competitor. It’s that simple.
I hope you have the type of culture where everyone recognizes that they, too, affect my impression of you and your bottom line, and that it’s me who provides their paycheck. If you don’t, then get your house in order!
I WANT SERVICE NOW!
I am better educated, more cost-conscious, and more discriminating than my predecessors. And patience is not one of my virtues. If I call your dealership about anything, I want someone to answer the phone by the third ring. If you put me on hold, I will tolerate it for 30 seconds, but that’s it.
I want the people at your parts and service counters to display a sense of urgency to serve my every need. If there’s anything that turns me off, it’s when people don’t realize I’m in a hurry and under pressure.
I HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS.
I expect courtesy and I expect you to be readily available to me 24/7. I expect everything to be right. If you don’t want to turn me off, you might want to manage my expectations from the get-go. Here are a few things to consider:
• Be clear with me on costs.
• Let me know in advance whether there may be additional charges or wait time.
• Communicate at the outset what the warranty does and does not cover.
• Tell me outright what you can and cannot do.
TALK TO ME!
Don’t leave me hanging. Keep me informed on how your technicians are doing. Don’t call me. I’m busy! Text me.
I WANT YOU TO BEND OVER BACKWARDS.
One of my associates told everyone about how your service manager delivered a part to a customer on Christmas Eve at 6:00 p.m.! I want you to do whatever it takes to keep me up and running too.
I’M NOT IMPRESSED BY CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.
Customer satisfaction reports are nice, but not enough! Your website states, “We are very well known for our high levels of customer satisfaction.” Nice, but not enough. Instead, show me your numbers for customer retention, customer loyalty and customer advocacy! If you can boast high numbers in those areas, then I will be impressed! Business is tough. Real tough. If you have a long list of loyal customers and advocates who are willing to give you referrals, then I will be seriously impressed.
I’M ALWAYS RIGHT!
If I’m wrong or mistaken about something (hard to believe because I’m always right, remember?), don’t get defensive. Simply say, “Perhaps there’s been a misunderstanding.” Then move on to correct the situation.
In fact, if I call you to complain about something, you should welcome my complaint. Not only do I have a right to do it if the complaint is viable, but this way you’ll know where improvement is needed. If you’re smart, you will instruct your team to document all complaints, so you can be proactive in preventing them from occurring any time in the future.
TREAT ME RIGHT, THE SAME AS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT CUSTOMER.
If I originate from a country other than this great USA, I expect you to be able to communicate with me and understand that, although my culture may be different from yours, my hard-earned money is still green; I want to be treated with the same importance as others.
If I am a woman, I want you to treat me the same as if I were a male customer. Studies have shown that you will need to talk more with me before I buy than if I were a man. I want a feeling of connectivity. I want to hear words of appreciation and reassurance: “Thank you, Ms. Smith. We appreciate your business. If I can help you in any way, I’m always here for you.”
I WANT TO FEEL LIKE I’M FAMILY.
That’s another way you can keep me. I love it when the people in a company call me by name, and when they know me, they say, “Hi, Mr. Jones, how are you today?” I expect you to remember things about me, know my buying habits, and anticipate my needs even before I’m aware of them.
DON’T #@* ME OFF!
When I do business with you, I never want to have to worry about anything. I have enough of my own worries about keeping developers happy and avoiding cost overruns.
Fair warning: As much as you want and need me, I can be dangerous to you. If my experience and every interaction with you isn’t positive, I can become your strongest critic. I am your judge and jury. I can be your executioner, too.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If my experience with you is not positive in every way, I’ll tell everyone in my contractor association not to do business with you. Sorry, but research has proven that I tend to tell a whole lot of people about any negative experience I have with you. In fact, if even one person in your organization acts indifferent to me, I’ll get turned off fast! Then, of course, if I really want to hurt you, there’s always Yelp.
I’LL SPREAD THE GOOD WORD ABOUT YOU.
On the positive side, if you do well by me, I can be your ambassador; I’ll tell everyone about how happy I am with your product support, and if they are interested in purchasing a new or used machine, they will get a great deal and can depend on you.
AM I BEING TOO HARD ON YOU?
I don’t think so. I believe I’m doing you a favor by being blunt with you. Why? It’s because I’m the customer! Get serious about improving the level of service you now provide. And if it’s already superior to your competitors’ service, remember that companies (and dealerships) are never satisfied where they are. Continuous improvement is one of their core values.
LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE FROM THE OUTSIDE IN.
Look at your business. Examine your systems, procedures, practices and every person in your company through my eyes. Then, do whatever it takes and then some to keep me happy.