There are a lot of perceptions of the auto service industry, some of them not so nice, like: ‘smoke and mirrors’ price quotes, stories of unnecessary repair work or taking advantage of an customer’s lack of understanding of something technical.
Curry’s Auto Service handles over 4,000 customer transactions each month–each one is a chance to reinforce our reputation as an ethical company, but also introduces the risk that if we mishandle something, our reputation can be damaged.
So we have a very heavy emphasis throughout the organization on ethical behavior and transparency. Not just an “ethics mission statement” posted in our offices and shop walls, but a comprehensive ethics policy that is regularly updated and communicated with our team.
Policies are important for sure. But developing and maintaining an ethical culture goes beyond documentation and training. It must be a constant operational focus with real-world impact.
Curry’s has successfully achieved customer transparency by actively instituting programs and robust system processes that start the moment the customer walks into the shop and continue long after the customer has left.
Here are some examples of how we have “operationalized” our ethics policy throughout our customer interactions.
- Curry’s does an initial ‘show and tell’ inspection report, where our technicians or managers take each and every customer through the repairs required to make their vehicle safe and roadworthy, by showing them either directly on the vehicle in the repair bay or via photo/video presentations.
- Through constant communication during the repair process, where our service teams will be in contact with the customer to discuss newly discovered issues with the vehicle and/or the repair process and to seek approval prior to the commencement of any extra service work.
- All of our service estimates and billing procedures are rigorously broken down and explained clearly to each customer prior to any repair work and finally at invoicing.
- All the repair work is then clearly explained to the customer at the time of pick-up, to once again reiterate the work completed and any recommended deferred work that may be needed in the future.
- Once the customer has left any one of our locations we pro-actively contact them through our Customer Advocate program and follow up on the customer experience directly via telephone, our customer advocates handle any issues with complete transparency.
These robust checks and balances allow us to not only deliver on our Customer Satisfaction Goals, but also ensure a positive perception of Curry’s as an ethical operation which differentiates us from other shops.
If you’re interested in “operationalizing” your company’s ethics policy and want to learn more about Curry’s approach, just email me at matt(at)currysauto.com.