When the Customer Comes First, the Customer will Last

May 5, 2023
In an increasingly competitive market, customer experience is more paramount than ever to your company's bottom line. Scott Bridges of ProColor Collision shares eight ways to create a positive customer experience that stands out from the crowd.

You invest plenty of time, energy and money to offer quality products and services. While important, those are not the only investments needed to create customer loyalty and advocacy.

Focusing on the customer experience has a direct impact on your bottom line. SharpenCX reports that 64% of people find customer experience more critical than price. And companies that excel at the customer experience grow revenues 4 to 8% above their market, according to Bain & Company.

Viewing your business from your customers’ perspective can be eye-opening and help you understand the importance of delivering a top-notch experience at every customer touchpoint. In a crowded industry, customer service helps your business stand out from the competition.

Here are eight tips to help you create a positive customer experience.

1. Start on a positive note. Smile (you can “hear” a smile on the phone), ask the customer’s name, and acknowledge them with empathy and understanding. Most body shop customers had something happen to one of their most significant purchases, their vehicle. Take the time to listen to their story and understand their entire situation. At ProColor Collision, secret shoppers engage with our locations and report back on coaching opportunities, as needed.

2. Sell more than things. Focus, instead, on solving each customer’s problems. Think from the buyer’s perspective: What does your customer care about during the buying process? What frustrates them? What makes them happy? This positions you as a problem solver and partner, instead of just a vendor. ProColor Collision shops’ customer service key performance indicator is monitored to help each location excel at the customer experience.

3. Quickly respond to leads and inquiries. How long does it take you to respond when someone asks for an online quote or leaves a voicemail? And how quickly do they have a quote in hand? In today’s always-connected world, customers look for other solutions if they don’t receive a timely reply.

4. Set realistic expectations and acknowledge issues. With today’s supply chain issues, a good rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver. Confirm availability of needed products before providing a timeline to your customers and keep them informed throughout the process. If something changes and you can’t finish the work by the original timeline, avoid just apologizing. Focus on thanking them for their patience and understanding while explaining the solution or new timeline.

5. Thank the customer. After thanking the customer for their business when they pick up their vehicle, take the next step and send an email or card within a week of the work being completed. This extra step is something a customer will remember when they need your services again.

6. Build a social media strategy. Many customers take their issues or complaints online instead of contacting you directly. At ProColor Collision, we offer review and response assistance to our Franchisees, as it’s imperative to regularly check social media and online review channels and have a plan to resolve each issue.

7. Train your team. There is always something to learn to improve customer service capabilities. ProColor Collision Franchisees have access to thousands of online training courses via our proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) as well as in-person technical training at our training facilities and offices. Whether it’s training on new products or services, conducting customer interaction role plays or evaluating reviews and customer interactions, doing so regularly keeps everyone focused on your shop’s customer experience.

8. Celebrate customer experience excellence. Whether you watch, read online or otherwise hear about a strong customer experience, recognize the employees involved and celebrate their success. They will continue to deliver, and others will improve their own capabilities.

In today’s business environment, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of customer loyalty. The best way to create that loyalty is to deliver at all stages of the work you’re completing for the customer. When done well, the positive customer experience often transitions a one-time customer into a loyal customer and someone who refers more business your way.

Scott Bridges is the senior vice president for Fix Network U.S., the leading global automotive after-market services network which includes ProColor Collision. The family of brands spans more than 2,000 points of service internationally. In the United States, Mondofix, Inc. has granted an exclusive license to 79411 USA LLC to the FIX AUTO brand.