Vision Keynote Avrin: 'Your Customers Are Changing You'

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The Speaker.

David Avrin. Avrin is a renowned keynote speaker, author of three books, and consultant on optimizing customer experience. 

The Message.

COVID changed customer service. That’s the argument Avrin delivered as the Vision management lunch keynote.

"While we talk about quality and care and convenience, the data shows customers want speed and convenience," he said.

During the pandemic, Avrin said customers discovered the convenience of digital consumerism and now expect things to be easily accessible, fast, and convenient to use and shop owners need to engage customers right in that space.

“I may not be able to get my car fixed at 4 o'clock in the morning, but I need to be able to schedule it then,” he said, pointing out that shops need to have a customer-focused web presence. “We have to become remarkably easy to do business with. Look at everything to see if you can do it better or smarter or faster or less complicated. Can you make it more simple?”

Avrin challenged the attendees to step out from behind the counter and to put themselves in the shoes of their customer—in essence, walk through the customer journey. 

“Create the path to how they're going to work with you,” he said. “When we predict the customer's journey, we can predict how many people we need [in the business],” he said.

He encouraged shop owners to not focus on the “wow” moments of customer service, but instead to focus on what the customer wants—and that’s to get in and out as quickly as possible. To that point, he told shop owners to find new ways to accommodate customers. Don’t deny a request you could fill. Every customer isn’t looking to take advantage of you. Do a little extra for those who ask if it’s feasible. In the end, you may find it leads to another source of revenue. 

“Learn to say yes to things you can do. A simple accommodation can make a happy customer,” he said. “Everyone is not going to ask for special accommodations. Do for the few what you can. Customers love it."

He told a story about his daughter’s car. When they dropped it off at the shop, she was asked if her car had a nickname. Upon giving the manager her car’s name, Avrin’s daughter soon began receiving texts from Judy, her car. “They’re taking great care of me,” read one message. This was followed by several messages in the voice of her car as it was being serviced.

“We are traditionally product centric–-we're good at what we do and sell to as many as possible. We're seeing businesses go from product-centric to customer-centric. Understanding the customers needs and modifying our delivery to make it easy for them,” he said.

Addressing shop owners clinging to analog customer service processes, he asked them to find ways to get up to speed with the digital age.

“The world today is digital. Millennials are used to skipping to what they want. They don't care about the processes. Is your business optimized to do that? To be better, faster, smarter,” he asked.

He also challenged shop owners to streamline processes to capture leads. This could mean forgoing lengthy website forms and using chatbots instead.

“Eighty-six percent of people will never fill out a form. You may have many people fill it out, but you don't know who chose not to. That's lost revenue. Don't make it hard to get a hold of you. Be remarkably easy to find and remarkably easy to do business with,” he said.

He  left shop owners with five questions to ask their customers:

  1. What are five things they dislike about your industry?
  2. What are five things they'd love to have if you can do it or provide it? (most powerful and profitable question to ask)
  3. What are five things your customer needs from you to choose you?
  4. What are five things they fear in relation to this transaction?
  5. What other five choices do they have besides you?

“Then go through your list and find out how you can do things differently? Ask yourself if you have to start over, what would you do differently." Avrin said. “When we understand our customers on a deeper level, we can modify the choices.”

Memorable quote. 

“Be remarkably easy to find and remarkably easy to do business with.”


"I liked Davis’s concept. Pat Riley used to say when he won back-to-back [championships] with the Lakers that it’s showtime; it’s always showtime when you walk on the court. When a customer comes in, forget what you’re doing, it’s showtime. If a customer is concerned about the expense, don’t beat them from the other side of the counter, empathize with them. Be a part of the solution. We can’t do that with a barrier in between them. As we grow and get busy, we forget to train in relationship building.” – Bill Orsborn, owner, Gateway Automotive and Transmission 

 I can see streamlining our processes to get customers in, and on the back end where customers don’t see.Getting away from the rigid approach to more customer relations. Being more flexible in customer engagement and customer dealings.” – Ryan Acker, owner, Cruel Intentions Diesel

“It’s nice to acknowledge that the times are evolving and changing instead of staying old school. We're in a digital world. The overall outlook on the industry, how quickly we’ve come and how fast, is changing. We’ve been stuck using slogans to get them in; it’s now [time] to look at marketing to everyone.” – Robin Wachtendorf, manager, Trinity Auto Haus 

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