Secrets to Better CSI Scores
Years ago, Darren Heairet resisted CSI reporting. He largely viewed it as a waste of time.
“I thought it was somebody looking over my shoulder, babysitting. But there is a huge value,” says Heairet―who currently serves as president and COO of Walser Collision & Glass in Minnesota―regarding keeping tabs on customer satisfaction scores.
Over his 20 years in the industry, Heairet has come to learn how important it is to communicate with customers and seek their feedback on the work your facility has done for them. Doing so can help your business improve, or address any customer concerns before they’re voiced on social media.
Asking customers to rate your facility’s work “opens up a world of comments, and things that you would never know a customer had any issue with” otherwise, Heairet notes.
These days, Walser Collision & Glass, which has three locations, typically boasts CSI scores in the high 90s, and one location recently recorded 100s for seven straight months. Heairet has become a believer in tracking customer satisfaction, to say the least. Here, he provides a handful of tips for achieving ideal CSI scores.
1. Diagnose a customer’s needs.
In Heairet’s opinion, a common mistake made by collision repair centers is not communicating clearly with customers, especially when a vehicle is initially dropped off. He feels the ultimate key to attaining top CSI scores is accurately noting clients’ needs.
“Find out what the customers’ needs and wants are up front,” Heairet suggests. “There are some people who drop their car off and don’t care how long [a repair] takes. … Other people [are] wanting constant communication.
“Every customer’s different. And, to get that expectation set right up front, I think that’s the key.”
2. Respect their time.
These days, people value their time more than ever. That’s why it’s imperative that your staff hit established deadlines for having repairs done. And, if unforeseen issues arise―say, a supplement is required for a repair, delaying the process a week―it’s of utmost importance to notify the customer as soon as possible.
At Walser Collision & Glass, Heairet tries to quicken repair processes by having parts readily available and, when possible, on hand in advance of scheduled repairs.
“Parts is a big key,” Heairet says. “We try to get our parts ordered before the customer drops off, or at least check the availability of the parts.”
3. Have one-on-one interaction.
In recent years, Heairet has made sure to have just one staff member handle each customer when reasonable, a move customers seem to appreciate.
Thanks to that strategy, customers simply have to deal with one person “and one person only. And people love that. They don’t get bounced around,” Heairet explains. “The same guy that wrote the estimate and took their expectation and explained the repair process is the same person that updates them the entire process.”
4. Use modern survey methods.
Due to the technological age we currently live in, it’s necessary to give customers the option of responding to your business’s surveys via electronic means, such as texting or email. Heairet has come to grips with that fact, as much as he still appreciates personal interaction with customers.
“A lot of people like the electronic communication now, versus a phone call,” he notes. “So, we try to accommodate that.”
5. Empower employees.
Over his time in the industry, one thing has become abundantly clear to Heairet: His employees usually provide exemplary customer service when they’re treated with respect by their boss. That’s why Heairet pays just as much attention, if not more, to the demeanor of his staff as he does clients.
“I put our employee CSI at the forefront in the company,” he says. “If I can set an expectation where employees feel comfortable, and empower them to … make all decisions that they need to make―knowing that I’ve got their back 100 percent―the CSI piece for the customer is easy. Because, as human beings, we want to make our customers happy.
“So, I think a key is making sure that your employees know that you stand behind them.”