Broski: It’s About the Customer Experience

June 5, 2023
Tips for making your next customer interaction fun—and memorable.

Way back in the day, before cars were built by robots, there was an expression when your brand-new car had problems: “You got a car built on a Monday.” You get the idea: grumpy Monday mood, not into working, etc. You wouldn’t want to go to a service facility that had that mood; they’re going to mess something up. It’s the same with your repair shop. If a customer sees or feels a grumpy mood, a red flag goes up in their mind. Naturally, you don’t want to be “that shop.” How to avoid that? Have some fun at the shop. That includes customers—especially. 

Here’s what prompted this column.

A good customer, a lady we can kid with, called to tell me her oil level light was on and cold she bring it in to top off. I said yes. Her voice sounded different, and I guessed why. I said, “Did you put food in your mouth and then call me?” She didn’t miss a beat and said yes. I smiled at her honesty and guts. She was not trying to hide it. Being a healthy eater, I asked what she was eating. She said almonds. I asked further. “Raw?” She said yes. I said, “Ugh.” I prefer them roasted. 

I told the owner the story. His eyes lit up and a smile crossed his face. He reached over to a bag nearby and grabbed a handful of raw almonds and said, “This will be fun.” Yes, he walked out to her car and started talking to her with almonds in his mouth. And yes, it got a big laugh. One she’ll remember and pass along to her friends. Of course, you have to be able to fix the cars: fun and games alone doesn’t cut it. And as you might guess, you have to have built a great relationship first which makes everything better. 

Here are some ways to display an enjoyable work environment. It starts with the phone call. How do you answer the phone? Cheerfully, I hope. After a cheerful answer from me, a customer said she now knows that everything is good. I believe it shows we're a positive place to get their car serviced and repaired. 

Now, how do you answer the inevitable question, “How are you?” This is your time to start the fun, and not with the trite, “Fine, how are you?” It’s time to be creative and have some fun. Below are some ideas to get you started. 

  • If I were any better, I’d be you. 
  • I am living a dream. So please don’t wake me up. 
  • Dancing to the rhythm of life. 
  • Strange and getting stranger 
  • Fair to partly cloudy 
  • I’m beside myself. Which is pretty hard to do.  

My absolute favorite answer between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., said slowly and with meaning, is, “I’m hungry.” It gets a laugh every time. Sometimes they’ll say they just had lunch. I’ll always ask, “What’d you have?” It always leads to a discussion. 

I called a customer to tell them that their car was ready for pickup. I added, “Your car is happy again.” There was a pause and then they broke out in laughter. 

I called a business, and we exchanged the usual opening pleasantries for a while. The guy eventually said, “How can I make your day better?” This time I was the one who paused and laughed. What a great line! I now use it. I said it to one customer. He paused and said, “Shoot me.” I now share that story with customers, along with other stories. 

Other fun things: cartoons, humorous signs, stickers, etc. We have a Styrofoam packing piece that resembles a smiling face. We’ve added bad taillight bulbs for eyes, a small rubber boot for a nose, bigger rubber boots for ears, steel wool for hair, etc. Maybe put up a (stick figure) drawing with colored pens for customers to add to the picture. We have one wall that is a giant map of the world. Customers tell us where they’ve been on vacation or where they’re going.  

I hope I added another layer to the shop experiences that makes you the go-to shop.

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