“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, 1963
This amazing quote from Dr. King applies to life in general, but I’ve certainly applied it hundreds of times as a CEO as well.
Stuff happens in the auto repair business, just like in other businesses. Parts fail, processes break down, diagnoses are wrong. These things are guaranteed to happen some percentage of the time. They cannot be avoided or controlled.
But what you can control are the frequency and severity of issues. It’s all in how you handle them. This is what defines you as a business and as a brand. People tend to spread the word about a bad service experience, more than a positive one. But if you handle a bad situation well, there’s a good chance customers will include that in their story…or even tell the story as an example of something positive.
The keys to reducing the number and scope of customer satisfaction issues are great communications and rigorous processes. At Curry’s, we’ve developed a four-point approach to minimize and resolve customer satisfaction issues:
- We document everything from the moment the car comes into the service bay. We carefully interview the owner and look for obvious problems. This increases our ability to accurately diagnose all problems.
- Our people are trained to document everything they find, so that they can review the issues and cost estimates with the customer and advise them on what needs to be fixed immediately and what items can wait.
- Keep listening to the customer. They are trying to explain something, whether it’s a fact or their perception–or even an emotion that might not be too pleasant. But the worst thing from their perspective is the feeling of not being heard.
- We have given our front-line service people the authority to make things right without having to run their solution up the flagpole to a manager. This speeds up the time to resolution–and solving the problem quickly reduces the chance it will leave a bad impression.
If your business doesn’t have an approach that includes steps like these, drop me a line at [email protected], and I’ll be happy to discuss with you.