This post is for you fine lady customers and you auto shop owners. Why? Because we are focusing our posts on customer service this month. And both customers and service techs are responsible for the level of customer service that is delivered and received. The way I see it, the customer is part of the team. And there is no “I” in team, or in auto shop. Let me explain…
A customer walks into a shop. Sounds like a bad joke, right? Well, if the customer is unprepared to discuss what service she needs, is in a nasty mood, or is utterly intimidated by the staff or the atmosphere, it could be worse than a bad joke. Likewise, if the shop is not prepared to serve this customer, make her feel welcome and at ease, and willing to have her leave in a good mood, the outcome could be disastrous.
This might seem like a tall order, but it really isn’t. Ladies, we’ve already touched on how you can be accountable consumers by doing the following:
- Be prepared and know your car and why you are bringing it to the shop
- Know the maintenance, service and repair history of your vehicle
- Do your homework and compare prices, search online for estimates and consider used or wholesale parts
- Be courteous and polite to the staff and expect the same in return
Shops, it’s your turn now. We’ve given the ladies the road map to becoming the perfect customer. Now treat them that way by following these steps:
- Greet them! This might seem like a no-brainer, but too many customers go unnoticed and ignored. Not a good first impression. Say “Hi,” smile and make them feel welcome. Even if you’re busy, tell them you are glad they are there and you will be with them shortly.
- Make them comfortable. Yeah, ladies like being comfortable. Make sure your waiting area is clean and welcoming. Don’t have inappropriate pictures or television shows on. Keep a mix or literature, some related to cars and auto repair, and some that would interest professionals, sports enthusiasts, homemakers, seniors and women of all types.
- Make eye contact…. with their EYES! I’m not saying that any guys out there would look anywhere else, but women are often uncomfortable and anxious when they show up at the auto shop. Put them at ease by making direct eye contact when you talk to them. This shows that you are paying attention to them and that you care. Just like ladies have to work to break stereotypes, male mechanics must work to break the negative stereotypes often associated with them. Sorry guys, that’s just the way it is.
- Speak in non-car language. Gauge the level of knowledge your customer has. As you explain what needs to be done and what you recommend, ask if she understands. If not, explain it in a way that makes more sense and show her the parts on her car that need to be replaced or serviced.
- Ask for her business. Don’t assume that every customer will just roll over and sign the sales slip. The best way to earn a loyal customer is to ask for their business. Once you’ve followed the outline above, you will be in a position to sincerely ask your customer if they would like you to complete that service for them. Don’t sell, don’t push, don’t pressure. Just ask. Explain the benefits and costs of the service, and the consequences and costs of not getting the service done.
- Finally, ask your customer if she had a good experience, would she recommend you and would she log on to www.womenautoknow.com and post a glowing review of your shop.
Shops, share this post with your staff; and customers, share with your shop. Help each other deliver and receive the best customer experience possible. After all, we’re all on the same team!