By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber
As 2012 begins, here are a few business concepts that should be reviewed and reinforced annually.
First, follow up with your customers. Customers need to know we care about them. They need to know that we look forward to building long-term business relationships and we are genuinely concerned about their experiences with our company.
We have to realize that dissatisfied customers rarely keep their disapproval to themselves. They will express their dissatisfaction to others. Can your business afford the negative publicity that dissatisfied customers communicate to others?
Time and time again, customers who stop doing business with a company do so because of the company’s attitude or indifference. Rarely does it have anything to do with price or delivery. The risk of not following up is greater than not knowing why a customer is unhappy. While you may not want to hear why your customer is dissatisfied, at least you will be on the path to correcting the problem. The saying goes, “We can’t fix it if we do not know it is broken.” Sometimes customer complaints can be the friend of a business.
The only surefire way to know if a problem truly exists is to contact your customers directly. There are various methods available to do this. One way would be a written questionnaire, combined with a modest thank you incentive to thank the customer for investing their time. While written questionnaires seem impersonal, the most effective and preferred method is to actually pick up the phone and call. This goes a long way in showing you care about this customer’s business.
The second thing we need to pay attention to in our business is our consistency in everyday services. Consumers like to patronize businesses that are consistent in their practices.
Delivering consistent service is one of the biggest challenges facing most businesses, along with keeping employees motivated.
Recently while doing research, we came across the following figures, culled from a number of sources:
● 25 percent of workers in the United States are just showing up to collect a paycheck.
● 40 percent of workers in the United States feel disconnected from their employers.
● 67 percent of workers in the United States do not identify with or feel motivated toward their employer’s business goals and objectives.
In today’s Internet-based, high-tech business environment most of us would agree that customers are better informed and have less free time than ever before. It is important to find new ways to motivate employees and help them understand the impact of indifference and inconsistent customer service and the ramifications to the longevity of any business. Creating a consistent level of customer service in a high-energy atmosphere is not impossible; however it does require a good deal of work.
A FEW SUGGESTIONS
When holding staff meetings, review these items customers look for. A friendly greeting is paramount; if you know the customer, greet them by name. Train your employees on the impact of a friendly smile and warm greeting. Next, is a willingness to listen to the customer and determine their needs. Good communication skills are a necessary part of any business today. Finally, offer a sensible solution or a solution with options. It is not always easy to anticipate what will seem reasonable to one customer and not be appropriate for another. Communicate your company’s goals and objectives, including how excellent customer service impacts the bottom line net profits and its value to your companies overall financial condition.
Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.
For more information, go to: www.autobizsolutionsllc.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.