Customer service is vital to the success of any retail business, be it auto parts, hardware, work boots or steak knives. Let’s face the reality here: No customers means no business. So we should all have good relations with our customers at all times. We could review the benefits of good customer service for pages but I believe we can sum them up in two main categories.
First are the benefits that your customers reap from a good relationship with your store and secondly are the benefits that you see come to fruition in your store before your very eyes. In the end, however, good customer service is a must if any retail-oriented business intends to have any chance at success.
When a customer walks through your door they wish to be greeted promptly and hope to get what they are seeking the first time without a need to return. They want the store’s appearance to be pleasing, not dirty and dingy.
A customer who is greeted and treated properly will feel better about their transaction than would a customer who had to endure complaints about personal problems, unnecessarily slow service or needing to return a second or third time for the item that they should have been provided with initially. If a customer contacts the store by telephone, the manner in which they are treated can make all the difference, whether the item they seek is on-hand or otherwise.
When your customer receives the service that he or she deserves it can have far-reaching implications beyond the mere transaction between buyer and seller. The shop becomes more efficient in that they don’t have to spend excessive time chasing down parts and this will invariably increase the shop’s profitability. The shop owner may all of a sudden have occasional bouts with a slight grin on his or her demeanor instead of that glowering grimace that they usually bear.
Good customer service does not end merely with responding to the requests of a customer. A knowledgeable staff member should assist a customer by asking pointed questions in order to not just get the parts they want into their hands but rather the parts they need. This is not to say that every counterperson in the world needs to moonlight as an ASE master tech, but knowing the resources you have at hand is a plus for getting the right information. If there is a complaint then that staff member should be open and accommodating in order to satisfy any problems that the customer is experiencing.
Good customer service can save labor costs by allowing the store personnel to wait on new customers rather than correcting previous errors. Being less harried, the workers will be freed up to better serve their customers. And with the increased profit inherent in such efficiency, savings can be passed along to the consumer in a lack of increased costs due to wasted labor, thus further prompting their return for continued business.
We all know that happiness is infectious. And when that customer returns in a good mood because they are anticipating good service, the individual staff member will know that they have done their job properly. They will realize that they have helped a person solve a problem or find a solution that someone else may not have been able to. They can take pride in their creating a pleasant purchasing experience for the customer. The staff member will be further encouraged to continue the practice of good customer service in an attempt to increase his customer base and to please those customers that he or she may come into contact with. Not to mention the warm fuzzies you get at the end of the day when you can look back and say, “Yeah, I got that one right.” And when all associates are performing their assigned tasks it frees them further from needlessly wasting time helping another do a job that, with the proper training and attitude, could have been completed independently.
Training cannot be stressed enough. The better you know your resources and the more familiar you are with your customers needs and demands, the better your customer service will be. Take advantage of vendor training programs and when possible, become ASE certified. Just having done so makes me hold myself up to a higher standard than before.
Have a plan, see it through
Set a time and sit down with a new business owner. Listen to his or her needs and go over the services that you provide so that you both can see where the other stands. You can then move forward into a partnership of sorts, providing good service to the end consumer. Good customer service extends past the good feelings your customer will associate with you, their service provider. They will return for more services and goods with increased frequency and confidence.