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It’s the Little Things That Will Set You Apart

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Once you’ve succeeded in getting a customer to visit your shop, your team can show what they’re truly made of. 

Sure, the first customer call can make for an impactful first impression, but so could that first in-person visit. Everything from the look of your lobby and your shop’s exterior, to the transparency of your vehicle inspection could determine how happy your customer is when they leave your shop and, more importantly, if they will choose you next time they need repairs.

You want the customer to leave your shop in a good mood, and it’s the little touches that can make a huge difference. In this week's upcoming episode of Ratchet + Wrench’s Inside the Consumer’s Mind video series, editorial director Anna Zeck and vice president of content Bryce Evans share their thoughts as consumers on what a shop needs to do to provide a great appointment experience.

Set Strategic Expectations

Your customers have many different choices when it comes to choosing where to get their vehicle serviced, so customer comfort is vital. Amenities like kid-friendly waiting areas, free Wi-Fi, charging stations, and free snacks and beverages can make your customer’s wait time feel quicker. 

And no one wants to wait longer than they expected for a service to be completed, especially when it comes to auto repair. When you tell a customer how long their service will take, a strategic overestimation can be key—it’s usually better to be pleasantly surprised with a shorter turnaround time than expected, than annoyed and inconvenienced by an unforeseen delay. 

“Part of my problem in waiting more time than I was expecting is that … the people that I’m waiting on aren’t valuing my time as much as they’re valuing theirs,” Evans says. 

Invest in Face Time

While follow-up text messaging with photos and explanation is helpful and can add clarity to an inspection, there’s still plenty of value in in-person customer conversation.

Time spent talking with customers in person can help make the sales that digital inspections have laid the groundwork for. Customer face time provides shop staff with an opportunity to show their most personable skills and position the shop as an aid in fixing the problem, rather than the bearer of bad news. Advisors will yield the best results with a positive and empathetic tone. 

“You really have to position yourself as being on the customer’s side,” Jeff Toister, customer service expert and consultant based out of San Diego, says. 

Spell it Out

When your team eventually presents each customer with their serviced vehicle, make sure the repairs performed are addressed clearly, as the vehicle delivery could be the last guaranteed point of contact the shop could have with that customer. Walk them through the repairs, and if there are any issues that came up during your inspection make sure to thoroughly explain what the next steps should be. 

Don’t Fail to Follow-up

The customer experience doesn’t have to end with payment and vehicle delivery. Shops can make the most of every customer interaction with a strategic follow-up call or text to make sure the vehicle is running smoothly and any lingering questions have been answered. The move can not only help customers feel that the shop cares about their safety and satisfaction, but can be another step in building a customer bond with the shop—potentially swaying them to choose your shop again in the future. For a last touch, it never hurts to leave them a token of your appreciation

Zeck and Evans drill in deeper on the topic in this week’s episode of the Inside the Consumer’s Mind video series. Stay tuned. 

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