The Importance of Customer Engagement Performance

Oct. 1, 2015
Steve Schoolcraft explains how to measure customer engagement

There are two types of products that everyone purchases: The first is an impulse product and the second is an on-demand product. Collision repair is an on-demand product. Here’s the distinction: Impulse products are product driven; on-demand are relationship driven. That means that both of these have different marketing strategies.

This industry predominantly focuses on all the logical pieces of what a shop should do, such as excellent workmanship or a quality paint job. That’s basic business. We looked at these analytics and found there’s an emotional piece to this that no one has looked at. We reviewed a study of 3,500 customers who had a car repaired 18 months previously and were asked, “Did you know anybody else who could have used the services of that collision repair facility?” Nearly 90 percent of the customers said yes. If a shop delivers 1,200 cars a year and 90 percent of their customers know of someone else who could use their services, why aren’t they exponentially growing? It’s because they’re not resonating with the customer.

That’s why we started measuring CEP. Through our research, we’ve found that managing a logical set of expectations develops rational advocates who are satisfied with the repair experience but lack a strong emotional connection that generates referrals. These are the customers who say they would refer but do not. On the other hand, emotional advocates indicate customers satisfied with the repair experience who have also developed a strong emotional attachment to your shop. A strong emotional attachment develops customers that refer their friends, neighbors and coworkers while repeating their purchase. Through our research, we have found statistical evidence that the emotional element is the driving factor of growth.

To measure CEP, we look at four distinct categories that are added to the CSI surveys delivered to customers:

Confidence: This section rates the degree to which a customer has faith that your shop was able to keep the promises provided. This is measured by staff courtesy and if a delivery date was given.

Integrity: This measures your ability to keep promises, reveals how well you managed a customer’s perception based on the promises that you provided and illustrates if the customer felt their repair had the same priority level as everyone else’s. It is measured by delivery date met, repair workmanship and customer communication.

Pride: This reveals your shop’s ability to establish a lasting relationship with a customer. Pride is the extent to which the customer felt good about his or her use of your facility based on how proud your employees feel about the product they’re delivering. This is measured by reselling the job back to the customer upon delivery, reviewing warranty and vehicle cleanliness.

Passion: This reveals consumers who are passionate about your shop and feel you exceeded their expectations. This section measures the percentage of customers that will refer your shop unconditionally. Our research shows that an average of 81.8 percent of all referrals made were done so by fully engaged customers who rated his or her experience perfect.

The ultimate goal of measuring CEP is to teach a shop how to discover the right set of repair experience “clues” that evoke specific feelings the customers are looking for. This involves defining a targeted customer perception and then orchestrating a strategy that creates the desired perception.

The way consumers are making decisions is changing. They are doing more research and considering more factors before making a decision. As those changes take place, shops need to make sure that the experience resonates.

Measuring CEP will also help you figure out how to market your shop effectively and spend your marketing dollars more wisely. If a shop delivers an average customer experience, they’re going to have to spend a lot more money on traditional marketing to obtain any level of organic sales growth. 

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