Inside the Consumer's Mind

The Basics Still Matter

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While there’s plenty of attention paid to the latest bells and whistles businesses can add to their customer service experience, there’s still something to be said for mastering the universal basics. 

When asked what shops could do to make the customer experience more comfortable, Ratchet+Wrench Inside the Consumer's Mind survey responses like “have a clean lobby with plenty of room to wait,” “have manners and treat me with respect,” “have a pleasant waiting room and a clean bathroom,” and “don’t make me feel like an imposition” packed a punch for one simple reason.

“You can add all the perks you want, but if I walk into your shop and I’m not acknowledged or the lobby’s a mess, that’s what I’ll remember.” — Anna Zeck, Ratchet+Wrench editorial director 

“It’s those fundamentals that make you feel like you’re valued and respected as a customer. The basics still matter,” says Zeck.

Shop owners Matt Lachowitzer, Al Pridemore, and Gary Pontious Jr. all stress the fundamentals of customer service as much as the latest tech and training.

“Everything changes, and there are things we couldn’t do 10 or 15 years ago when it comes to the customer experience but age-old elements like a clean lobby, a ‘thank you for your business,’ and even a watered flowerbed are the little things that make people feel good about spending their money with you,” says Pridemore. 

With reclaimed wood finishes, polished tile floors, stocked coffee bars, immaculate bathrooms and plush furniture, Lachowitzer makes sure the visuals and amenities at Matt’s Auto create a welcoming environment for customers but the team’s initial goal is to “beat to greet” (the staff always aim to engage the guest first, not the other way around). 

And over at Toledo Auto Care, a “doormat greeting” is a top priority. 

To convey friendliness and a sense of calm and accommodation the moment a customer walks through the door,  the Toledo team is quick to make eye contact, welcome the customer to the store and ask “how can I help you” with authenticity.

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