Car problems tend to be more straightforward than people problems. But people problems don’t have to be so bad for auto mechanics.
Tony Robbins, American entrepreneur and author, said, “Every problem is a gift. Without them we wouldn’t grow.”
Customer feedback can reveal problems, yes, but what if you replaced the word problem with the word opportunity?
Example: If a customer complains that the coffee is terrible in the waiting room, you could respond to the comment as a problem or as an opportunity.
Viewing it as a problem, you might say something like: “Well, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to drink it. I actually like this coffee. So it’s not going to change.” Such a response might alienate the customer.
Viewing it as an opportunity, your response might sound like this: “Thanks for letting me know. What kind of coffee do you like?” This type of response is inviting to a customer.
Customer feedback can be a great source of problems… but it also can be a lake of opportunities to delight your customers and build loyalty.
Take, for example, the incredible story of Jim Shukys, the owner of Jimyz Automotive in Streetsboro, Ohio.
Shukys caused quite the Internet sensation when someone on the anonymous social network Reddit posted a photo of a handwritten card received from Jim Shukys.
The card contained a hand-penned note:
Dozens of comments showered the proprietor Jim Shukys with praise for delivering such outstanding and thoughtful customer service. Commenters wrote how they would go out of their way to take their cars to only his shop from now on.
What’s the point here?
Shukys took time on what may have been a slow day to grab a pen, open a card, and be thoughtful toward a customer.
Now, chances are, if you do the same, it might not result in Internet virality like it did for Shukys, but there are other ways to impress your customers. And keep them coming back for service in the future.
8 Ideas For Auto Repair Shop Owners to Listen to Customers and Delight Them
- Put out a stack of comment cards and a suggestion box. It might sound old fashioned, but some people still like to deliver feedback in writing. People are more likely to be honest if it’s anonymous. And make sure it’s in a visible spot in the lobby or waiting room.
- Display your email address everywhere. On documents, on receipts, on walls, above the bathroom sink, on business cards — ask for feedback and let customers send comments and ideas to you over email.
- Stick Yelp review decals on your door. Take advantage of the 28 million consumers using the largest online review website. Turns out almost 70% of reviews on Yelp are 4-5s (out of 5) so it’s a great way to hear from customers and build credibility.
- Ask for testimonials. “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” There’s nothing more effective than looking your customer in the eye and saying, “I’d love your feedback. Would you take five minutes to tell me what you thought of our service?”
- Create a Facebook Business page. With more than 1 out of 7 people on the largest social network in the world, a presence on Facebook is a great way to engage with your customers. The benefits are many: search engine optimization, two-way communication, 24/7 availability, and best of all — you stay in control.
- Claim your business on Google. The largest search engine is often the first place where prospects will learn about your business. This is a critical phase in the customer’s decision about which auto shop they choose. By claiming your Google My Business profile for free, you can list your website, phone number, address, and respond to reviews.
- Put a whiteboard or chalkboard in your waiting room. On this board, try experimenting with different questions or phrases, such as: “Complete this sentence, one way [insert your automotive business name] could make me an even happier customer is by ________.” or “What word comes to mind when you think of our service?”
- Don’t like email? Use Twitter to keep it short. Chances are, many of your customers are scrolling through tweets on their phone as they wait. So, create a Twitter account, put your handle on a noticeboard, and ask customers for feedback on Twitter. The character limit is 140 (for now) so it’s guaranteed to be short and (hopefully) sweet.
Try implementing one of these ideas and widen the communication access to your customers today. You’ll probably get a mix of good and bad feedback, but if you approach both with a positive, opportunistic mindset, you’ll likely learn something that could increase your sales or cut down your costs. If you treat your customers right, they’ll treat you right in return. All they need is the chance. Will you give it to them? Consider reviewing the list above again and implementing one (or more) today.
If you’re a Womply customer, you can also use Womply Customer Feedback or Get Reviews to proactively collect customer sentiment. If you don’t have Womply, ask your current credit card processor if they partner with us or request a free demo.