Unhappy customers destroy loyalty and repeat business. Most dissatisfied customers are vocal but silent, unhappy customers are missed opportunities to win the customer back and protect your reputation. When auto repair shop service failures happen, and they will, how you recover makes the difference between being “the best” shop or a “don't go there” shop.
Make them happy
The 2009 PeopleMetrics Most Engaged Customers Survey revealed that customers who receive a satisfying solution to their problem are almost as likely to return to your business as customers who have never experienced a problem. All 10 best-in-class companies studied were found to have two common qualities:
- they maintain consistent, proactive contact with customers,
- their employees go above and beyond to make customers feel like their business is valued.
No shop is perfect
Even the best managed auto repair shops can not deliver flawless service every time. But superior shops use a service failure as an opportunity to show their commitment to customer satisfaction, build trust, and avoid damage to their reputation.
Follow up = good reputation
Sure, unhappy customers are stressful to deal with, but you need to prevent damage to your reputation at any cost (see What is Said Online is Forever). Follow up EVERY repair order with an email or phone call asking if everything is satisfactory. A better method to gather customer feedback is to use TrustBuilder customer feedback tool. It makes asking feedback and satisfaction questions simple for both customers and you. TrustBuilder is one of the most effective ways to improve relationships with your customers.
No Silent Anger
From the PeopleMetrics study we find 25% of unhappy customers are too polite (or too angry!) to complain. By contacting everyone you have a chance to win back the silent ones. Even if they say there are no problems encourage feedback through a website customer feedback system. And always let your customers know that you stand behind your work by asking them to contact you if any problems arise.
Dedicated employees = happy customers
Make sure that the employee who contacts your customers is prepared and able to deal with all customer issues. All employees should be trained to deal with customer problems without having to make them wait while problems are escalated to "management".
The key to quick and efficient handling of service issues, and happy customers, is dedicated employees. The PeopleMetrics study points out that best-in-class companies have employees who take pride in their job and in their commitment to the company itself. Companies need to set a vision of service excellence and allow their employees to provide it. Customer loyalty must be reinforced as being important at every level of your company.
What can you do?
RobMax provides a number of website based tools to help auto shops build customer loyalty and keep customers coming back. Maintaining consistent, proactive contact with your customers with TrustBuilder, our customer satisfaction service.
P.S. Here is my article which highlights another finding in the PeopleMetrics study: customers are more willing to forgive service problems if they are recommended to your auto repair shop by a friend.