Keep your cool when dealing with difficult customers!
FOR WRECKERS, BY WRECKERS
The auto industry is one of the most economically-viable sectors generating billions of dollars in revenue. With so much economic activity going on in this sector, producers, middlemen, and consumers need to connect with each other on a daily basis. As such, auto dealerships must get their customer service right if they must keep up with the competition.
As in any other business, there will always be situations when irate customers will challenge your better sense. It may need superhuman levelheadedness to keep calm in many of these instances.
Never lose your cool with customers!
You should always put your best foot forward when dealing with customers because your company exists for them, whether they’re behaving to your liking or not. Better said than done, don’t you think? It is, but it has to be done.
Some days will be easier than others. You’ll find yourself counting happy customers with every swing of the door and every ring of the phone. Unfortunately, these kinds of days don’t come every day. Each day will have its set of challenging customers.
It could be that they didn’t find your service good enough or that the parts they got were inferior or did not function properly. Some customers have justifiable reasons for lodging complaints, while others simply have the habit of expressing dissatisfaction over everything.
Whether your customers are being reasonable or not, the same rule applies—whatever you do, don’t lose your patience!
Consequences of losing your temper
1. It will show as unprofessionalism on your part.
It does not matter if you’re right or wrong. Blowing your top on a customer will always be wrong. You would want to project an image of professionalism for your business, and losing your cool to an irate customer is not the way to do it.
2. It will highlight poor service.
A customer’s dissatisfaction may escalate to bigger issues. Bad reviews, including online rants, can spread like wild fire. An angry customer’s feedback will always emphasise poor service, whether it’s true or not. It wouldn’t matter if you have the best car mechanic in town or the cheapest quality products to boot. What would only matter was how badly you reacted in the eyes of one unhappy customer.
It works like advertisements—except that it will pull your sales in the opposite direction. Worse, you will be seen in a bad light not only by customers but also by your partners in the industry, other auto shops, and dealerships. Your inability to retain customers will be taken as your unreliability to honor business agreements.
3. You will lose your other customers.
Losing your cool will reflect negatively on you and may even cause you to lose your clients—not just that one lousy customer. They will steer clear of your auto shop. With the magnifying effect of the internet, even unverified negative reports will stick to you like stigma. People will look the other way and choose your competitors over you.
4. It will lead to fast turnover of employees.
Employees proudly wear the brand of service that their business offers, and rightly so. When that brand begins to develop a problem with customers, however, the employees will necessarily bear the brunt that comes with a bad reputation. Jobs in the auto industry are already demanding and draining as they are—the burden of a negative image does not make them any easier. To fill in the voids in the rank and file, you will need to do the process of recruiting and training people repeatedly. This will add to the cost of your operation.
5. Your auto shop will lose profit.
If it is not yet clear to you, this chain of events will contribute to low revenue and high cost. You very well know that formula, of course. It’s the formula for incurring losses in your business, and all because you lost your cool when dealing with a customer.
What can you do instead?
1. Identify the real problem.
A common fault of business managers or owners is to quickly “resolve” the issue to pacify a customer’s ire. It’s recorded in the logs as problem solved, archived, and case closed. Next complaint, please! Well and good that you have appeased a miffed customer, but don’t rush to the next complaint without giving the issue a long, good look.
Don’t let it be an endless case of wash, rinse, and dry, and repeat all over again! Each complaint should be an opportunity to improve your services. Find out what caused the bad experience and correct it. A good manager is quick to recognise the real problem and act on it.
If you’ve been repeatedly getting the flak from customers who complained of misdiagnosed repairs, then see if it’s an issue about an incapable technician or if it’s a simple miscommunication. The real problem needs to be identified and rectified to avoid similar problems in the future.
2. Build a good relationship with your customers.
An auto servicing business is not built for one-off customers. For a business to thrive, it has to work at winning over more repeat-customers. To do that, you have to know your customers, build a profile for each of them, and study their auto servicing needs.
Make it a goal to always improve on a customer’s experience in your shop. Aim to serve their needs, not sell them your service. There’s a big difference there, and customers can see through the pitch.
3. Cut the crap.
Don’t make vague statements, like “free estimates” without clarifying what you mean. Many customers will understand this as “free diagnostics”. Some businesses deliberately use vague lines as a ploy to pull a quick sale from unwitting customers. This sample situation could easily spark a heightened discussion.
Just to be clear, estimate is definitely not the same as diagnostics. It’s not your fault that some people don’t know the difference, but it’s your fault for not explaining and for allowing them to assume. It’s always best not to cut corners and to take time to explain. If you can’t do that, then cut the crap in your language.
Auto businesses today are investing in proactive customer-centered approaches. That should also be your approach. Know your customer better. Start serving their needs instead of selling your business to them. Be efficient in your car parts business and wrecking services. Speak their language and treat each customer as a unique individual with unique needs. If you do that, there will be fewer misunderstandings and complaints to lose your temper on.