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Publisher’s Perspective: Great Ideas To Improve Customer Loyalty

April 5, 2011

I’m sure that most of you have received a survey from us at some point in time. We appreciate you sharing your views, opinions and experiences with us. The information that is captured from these questionnaires is very valuable to the editors, advertisers and other readers who work at shops like yours.

We asked readers in their own words about ways a shop owner can improve customer loyalty to the shop. Honesty was mentioned by at least half of the respondents and, while we don’t want to discount the importance of it, here is a list of several other thoughts that you can put into practice at your shop.

• Be a friend to the customer. When the customer feels that you have their best interest at heart, and not just how much you can make from them, it makes them more loyal to you.

• Think ahead to make the customer experience easy for them.

• Always be courteous, polite and thankful to your customers and carefully listen to their problems.

• Be fair with customers. Don’t bully them to buy unnecessary service. Let them have a choice on needed repairs.

• I always tell my customers that I use as many replacement parts that are made in the U.S. as possible.

• Be consistent by having the same employees and regular hours.

• Give free wiper blades on a big service item like a 30,000- or 60,000-mile service.

• Never nickel and dime a customer to death with surcharges.

• Loyalty vouchers — the more customers use, the more they save.

• Loyalty can’t be bought. I’m less concerned about price than the quality of parts and workmanship, and finishing the job on time as promised. The most overlooked opportunity to build customer loyalty is when things go wrong. You must handle a complaint correctly.

• Make sure customers understand they are getting service well above any they can get elsewhere, and then make sure to deliver on that promise.

• Prompt, personal service and, most important, deliver as promised. If you tell a customer the car will be done by 2 p.m., then have it ready! If unforeseen circumstances arise, then give them something to drive. Bowl them over with your service!

• Give them an appointment at their convenience and drive them to work.

• Stay organized, be accurate and proactive to the customers’ needs.

• Do quality work, have reasonable prices, and display a spirit of respect and kindness.

• Listen to your customer and don’t put profit in front of what your customer really needs.

• Deliver a finished product that’s as good or better than when it came in and do little extra things, like cleaning grease smudges and lubing hinges, and the like.

If you’d like to offer additional thoughts and ideas on this topic, just send me an e-mail. We’ll add it to our listing on the website.

 

 

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