How to Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Brittney Valentine was driving her Ford Excursion through an intersection when another driver ran his red light and hit her car. The car spun out in the middle of traffic, nearly rolling over.
The most damage occurred not on Valentine’s driver’s side, but on the side in which her son was sitting.
Shaken and upset after the accident, Valentine then walked into a collision repair shop where she was practically ignored throughout the whole process.
No communication before, no communication during and no communication after the repair was over.
“I felt like I walked in there and was just another number,” Valentine, customer service representative for All Angles Collision Repair in Wichita, Kan., says. “It felt like it was a pain for them to do anything for me."
At the end of the whole process, Valentine had to call the shop herself to find out when her vehicle would be finished.
Flash forward a few years and Valentine has found herself working in that same industry, at All Angles Collision Repair. She says she makes sure to always leave any bad days outside the shop and focus on making the customer experience a memorable one.
How to Exceed Customer Expectations
“You want to make sure you go that extra mile,” Valentine says. “Make the experience one they did not expect.”
Valentine’s secret is treating people the way she would want to be treated, based on her previous poor experience. She says she acknowledges every customer the minute he or she walks through the door and greets them with empathy.
Valentine spends time inquiring about the customer’s family or vacation plans, she says. Not only does she chat with him or her, she also offers to take the customer on a tour of the shop to better understand the repair process.
If a customer is sitting and waiting to be taken care of next, Valentine says a customer service representative needs to take time to chat with him or her and make sure he or she does not need anything during the wait.
Any customer should be greeted by his or her first name and greeted with a smile, Valentine says.
How to Stay Organized in the Role
Valentine’s week is outlined by a set of tasks for each day. Tasks are set in the shop’s Outlook system and each team member is able to see each other’s tasks throughout the week in order to schedule vehicle drop-offs, meetings and consults.
In Valentine’s tasks, she sees how many vehicles are in the shop at a time, which vehicles are scheduled or need to be scheduled for repairs and at what stage each customer has been contacted.
The tasks are scheduled based on urgency, she says.
To keep the customer in mind during this process, Valentine will initially ask if the customer prefers to be contacted every day or every 48 hours. She then contacts the customer on the status of the repair by sending an email or calling, she says.
During her time as the shop’s lead customer service representative, Valentine has been able to stay organized and keep zero dollars in accounts receivables over 30 days, she says.
How to Expand the Service Role for Success
Valentine joined All Angles Collision roughly three years ago. She was brought into her role to post payments, greet customers and answer the shop’s phone.
Since that time, Valentine has expanded her own job role through her own initiative. She now reconciles statements, walks around the vehicle explaining the damage to the customer, assists with new claims and also sets up rentals for the customer. She also oversees the other locations’ customer service representatives and trains each new person for the position.
Valentine expanded her own role and took over the administrative side of the business, all to help her boss focus on managing the shop.
In order to get her work done for the week, she will arrive at the shop around 6 a.m. and stay until 4 p.m., with no break for lunch in between. Valentine dedicates her time to work Mondays through Fridays, she says, but she is also willing to work overtime on weekends. For example, if the area experiences a hail storm, she will come in on a Saturday or Sunday to help out. At one point in 2018, the shop had 75 cars scheduled in one week due to a hail storm.