Broski: A Service Lesson from Amazon

June 11, 2024
Good relationships and consistent communication keep customers happy even when inconveniences occur.

I enjoy buying from Amazon. They have so many choices for each item. And that darn two-day delivery, heck, sometimes its next day!  By the way, I have my items delivered to the Amazon lockers near my work to lessen my carbon footprint.

I recently got a notice from Amazon that a package was delayed one day. I wasn’t bothered by it because of all the prior quick deliveries and that great selection, which, of course, makes for a good experience.  But it did get me wondering: what if some issue like that happens to our good customers, those we have a great relationship with? I would think they would flow with it like I flowed with my late delivery. Those customers have always had good experiences, so it seems normal they would work with an occasional hiccup. Again, I’m talking about our good customers, maybe not first- or second-timers.

That said, I’ve read articles that say customers are (always) on the verge of going to another shop. They state that if customers don’t have a great, dazzling experience—poof!—they’re off to another shop, demanding 5-star hotel treatment. I’m not so sure I buy that. I think people are grown up enough to understand that mistakes happen unless they see repair shops as a commodity. Heck, I’ll bet they and their company occasionally make mistakes. Also, finding a new repair shop that’s trustworthy is tough. It can even be risky with the possibility of overcharging, selling parts their car doesn’t need, etc. I have heard a statistic that 85% of new customers to a dealership don’t return (I hope that is only the dealerships). Now those customers have to find another repair shop. Again, it’s tough enough finding one, much less finding another. But, I suppose if a customer sees repair shops as a commodity, they will simply go to the next closest shop. Those are customers we don’t want anyway.

So, I suggest you make it a priority to create and nurture those special relationships, ones that can withstand a rare glitch in the repair transaction. Customers who don’t fear coming into your shop because they feel treated fairly and know they won’t be overcharged or have something put on their car that they don’t need. Of course, those customers with a great relationship with you give approvals much easier.  hey also refer new customers to you since you are easy and safe to refer. And they write you 5-star reviews.

Remember, those special relationships take time to create and nurture. I can see a shop owner saying to the advisor, “You’re over there talking kids soccer and vacations. We’ve got work to do.” But while the other advisor is trying to sell benefits, then more benefits, then dealing with objections but getting fewer approvals, the relationship advisor is casually getting more approvals. And with those easy approvals, the shop owner doesn’t have to say, “Hey, keep those calls under four minutes.”

One more thought: My guess is a secondary benefit of the above would be less spending needed on marketing for new customers since you will have a more solid base of reliable, dependable customers, who aren’t jumping ship at the slightest slipup. Nor are they calling around for better prices: they trust your shop because of the great relationships built by the enlightened service advisor. Speaking of marketing, your satisfied customers make for a great marketing team, referring your shop to their friends, family, and whenever they hear someone complaining about car repair. And who wouldn’t like a free marketing team?

About the Author

Victor Broski

Victor Broski has more than four decades of experience in the automotive repair industry. He worked at five different German car repair shops, learning something from each. As a service advisor with a degree in speech communication, he figured out how to easily get customers to say yes to the additional (DVI) work and be happy about it. Victor learned that great customer service brings great customer reviews, which brings inquiring phone calls that convert to new customers.

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