The 3 Things Your Customers Absolutely Want
Are you interested in turning customers into raving fans who will recommend you to their friends and family? When it comes to speaking about what sets you apart from your competition, we typically mention things like manufacturer certifications, local awards, and advanced equipment, which are all important and valuable. However, to a customer who recently damaged his or her vehicle, there are a few other things he or she really needs and wants us to provide.
After recently interviewing customer service representatives and estimators to gather the most prevalent questions customers ask when calling or coming in for an estimate, I have identified the key areas of opportunity to exceed expectations and make the repair process as painless as possible.
1. They want an advocate. Being involved in a wreck or damaging a vehicle can be physically, emotionally, and financially taxing. In response to increasingly advanced vehicle safety systems, the average consumer will only need collision repair services every 7-10 years. When that time comes, they are going to have lots of questions and uncertainties as to how the estimate process works, if they have rental car coverage, how to handle their insurance company, down to processes such as towing the vehicle or scheduling a rental car. By equipping our front office staff to be empathetic, understanding, and informed, we can allow them to calm the customer’s nerves by positioning ourselves as their advocate through each step of the repair process.
2. They need convenience. Losing a vehicle while it is being repaired is not convenient for anyone, especially those who do not have rental coverage or are paying out of pocket and do not have access to a rental vehicle. However, by offering simple services we can make the collision repair experience less of an inconvenience. A few areas of opportunity include offering a free shuttle service for picking up or dropping a customer off, having an after-hours key drop box, down to the small details such as a welcoming lobby with free drinks and something simple, such as a snack basket in case they had to rush out of the house that morning to make it by.
3. They expect transparency. For many customers, a vehicle is the largest purchase in their lives, second to their homes. It is what enables them to get to work, drop their children off at school, and is essential when conducting their daily routine. While their vehicle is being repaired, customers want to feel as though they know what is going on with the repair progression, if there are any delays, and that you are providing them a safe and proper repair that will ease their mind knowing their vehicle is going to drive and operate just as it did pre-loss. It is a great time to highlight your commitment to a safe repair while presenting an estimate by providing any OEM certification literature to the potential customer. While customers are not knowledgeable about industry terminology, manufacturers like Nissan, Honda, and Acura (ProFirst) provide certified shops with handouts made for customers that do a great job of explaining the rigorous training your shop completed and why it is so important to the structural integrity to have the vehicle repaired by a certified collision repair center.
By positioning your shop as the customer’s advocate, ensuring the repair process is as convenient as possible, and being transparent and honest in your interactions, you will ensure their needs and wants during the repair experience are exceeded. While working in the industry, we all know it is easy to become detached to the level of stress the customer may be feeling, but we can best serve them by being prepared and cognizant for what they truly need.
Jimmy Lefler, CEO of Lefler Collision & Glass Repair Centers has built his culture upon his motto, “We are in the people business; repairing vehicles is just a part of what we do.” By putting the customer first, you can ensure your shop is providing legendary customer service and an experience that will promote positive word-of-mouth references, excellent online reviews, and a great reputation.