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. 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 an Auto Repair Customer Satisfaction Survey feature on your website. A satisfaction survey can make asking feedback questions simple for both customers and you.
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 satisfaction survey. 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. 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?
Robert Maxim provides a number of website based tools to help auto shops build customer loyalty and keep customers coming back. Our basic auto service shop website, Service Reminders, Recommend Us, Loyalty Rewards, Scheduled Promotions, and Members Only Promotions all help maintain consistent, proactive contact with your customers. Also check out an example of the customer satisfaction survey included with our auto repair shop websites.
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.