Running a Shop

Four Keys to Exceptional Customer Service

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CSI

Kevin Lipscomb had become consumed with catering to insurers. The Florida body shop owner had begun spending less and less time conversing with customers and more time making sure all invoices and receipts were in order. 

Eventually, by 2009, his business’ customer satisfaction started to wane, as he noted to FenderBender in a 2014 article (fenderbender.com/timeforclients). 

“I did lose touch with my customers,” Lipscomb recalled recently. 

Fortunately for Lipscomb, who operates Jack’s Collision Center of Bonita, he learned his lesson rather quickly. And nowadays, customers receive a memorable experience at the Bonita Springs, Fla., facility, highlighted by a vehicle delivery process that features thorough car washes, shinings, and vacuumings. 

“We wash every vehicle—it doesn’t matter if we just did a bumper job,” Lipscomb says. “The biggest compliment I hear [from customers] is, ‘Oh my gosh, you cleaned my car; My car has never looked that good.’”  

By focusing on giving customers a memorable experience, Lipscomb’s shop now boasts an average review on Google of 4.6 stars out of 5. Below, he elaborates on what it takes to provide exceptional customer service. 

Hire for life. 

First and foremost, great customer service stems from having exceptional staff members, who are in ideal roles that fit their skillset. When that happens, employees are fulfilled, and impressive CSI scores usually follow. 

Lipscomb tries to avoid simply making any quick fixes when hiring. Instead, during the hiring process he works hard to pinpoint candidates with the character traits he seeks—namely, energetic workers who are eager to please their boss and clients alike. 

“I don’t want turnover,” he says. “Turnover costs money. So, take care of your employees. A ‘thank you,’ or a pat on the back goes a long way for” employees. 

Give extra attention to detail.

In Bonita Springs, Lipscomb’s staff focuses on listening to customers and following through on every request. 

Case in point: “I always ask customers up front, ‘What’s your biggest expectation when you pick up the vehicle?” Lipscomb notes. “And when they pick it up, I have that written down—‘Your biggest expectation was color match; Did we achieve that?’ 

They say, ‘Oh, yeah. And I can’t believe you remember that.’ It means that you listened, you cared.” 

Don’t overwork employees. 

A key ingredient to great customer service, Lipscomb says, is making sure your employees rarely get overtaxed. After all, an exhausted employee is far more likely to be short in a conversation with a customer than one who strictly works 40 hours per week. 

“When you push you employees, and have them stay late,” Lipscomb notes, “they’re not happy. We work 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, and it’s optional on Saturday.” 

If his staff can’t do exceptional work within a 40-hour workweek, Lipscomb says, it’s time to re-evaluate shop processes. 

Stay in contact with clients.

The crew at Jack’s Collision Center goes to great lengths to keep customers informed. They frequently text photos to clients during the repair process, if requested, for example. But Lipscomb prefers to make periodic phone calls to those who are waiting on their vehicles to be repaired in Bonita Springs. 

“I don’t want a customer to call me for an update—if they call me, then we’ve already failed. I keep informing them all the way through. I try to give them a call, because it’s more personable. And, we call them back within 24 to 48 hours [after repair work] and make sure that they’re happy with the car. 

“I’m here for the long haul,” he adds. “And I want to do this for the rest of my life. So, you take care of your customer.”

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