THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER
TIME TO THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER
One of the toughest things in customer service is to see your business as the customer sees you.
Every good competitive business tries to constantly improve the relationship with their customer. They may try open connection with the consumer through Facebook or Twitter, we all have our phone and e-mail address on our website so anyone at anytime can contact us.
Some old school techniques are the customer comment card, or a follow up survey that goes in the mail after a sale. I wonder how many people actually fill out customer feedback cards and how much a business improved because of it? It does make the organization feel like their are including the consumer in their business. Not wrong thinking, but wrong execution.
Too me, very few business go through their system as a customer does. The reason I bring this up is my recent visit to a local car dealer for a regular service and the dreaded task of putting on winter tires, yes it's coming.
Here are some thoughts.
I call in for service, because last time they never responded to my on-line "booking", leave a message and they call me back. I book in for Noon.
I pull into the service area at 11:45 to drop the car off. I had what they call a "wait for it" booking.
I pull in at 11:45 to drop the car off, wait 10 minutes to see someone… anyone. Finally get my opportunity only to be told that the Noon is actually 1 because the techs are all on lunch. Wifi?? no sir it's a secure network, the girl you booked with on the phone was mistaken, we don't have wifi.
So instead of the 1 1/2 hour wait I was expecting, and willing to do, it is now 2 1/2 hours and staying at the dealer is not an option.. Into the courtesy shuttle I go.. now I have to wait for them to call, come back and get me to go back to the dealer.
Not a great customer experience at all..
Some random ideas.
How about staggered shifts for the techs so there is no down time for lunch.
How about an actual customer lounge with nice beverages and some light snacks along with a place to sit at your lap top and use the free wifi.. Think Air Canada lounge at any major airport. Or what about a great coffee / kids play area so stay at home mom's could take the minivan in for service on their own.
I know this sounds like grumpy bitching about trivial things, but if you think about it, it's an actual customer experience that happens every day at thousands of car dealerships. They all seem to work the same and offer the same customer experience. Is this because they can and we have no choice? Maybe a little, but I believe mostly its because they don't see their shop from a customer point of view and MOST business are not willing to innovate.
The suggestions I made would cost any dealer pennies on the dollar, but would dramatically change the atmosphere for their customers. Why does a car deal try to get people out of their shop as quickly as possible on a service call? Wouldn't you want people to stay, relax and cruise the showroom floor? Some dealers are actually servicing cars from Midnight to 6 am so your car is done and in your driveway when you wake up! Now that's service!
I've actually been very happy with work on the vehicle that this dealer does, you can tell they do care. They are simply missing some key elements that would dramatically change things. They are doing what's always been done because it's easy and there has been no pressure to be better. Why wait to play catch up?
This does go wider then the car industry. Every service industry should be solely focused on the experience of the end user, the customer. Not always a simple task as business owners get caught up in the day to day events of running a business, and balancing a home life. Every business should challenge itself to constantly upgrade their customer care.
When I was a teen, I was the first stock boy at the SAAN store in Cochrane AB. The motto there was CARE - Customers Are Really Everything. It wasn't about the customer always being right, but is was about making them feel like they were.