Five ways to improve customer service

Andy Savva profile

In this article: MotorPro speaks to the Garage Inspector, Andy Savva, to get his five tips for improving your businesses customer service.

A business is nothing without its customers, but it can be difficult to make sure that they are happy, especially as a smaller firm. But just because you don’t have the finances to invest huge sums in training, facilities and gaining feedback, doesn’t mean you can’t improve your customer service.

The Garage Inspector, Andy Savva has five tips that mean you can make your customers’ experience even better, increasing the likelihood they’ll return, and spread the word that you’re the business to come to when something needs doing.

1)    Reliability

The ability to perform what you've promised, as agreed and expected. Some businesses can over promise and under deliver. They over promise because they think they want to give superior service, and they say things that they know they can't deliver because they're afraid to say the truth. That can lead to getting repairs wrong, the rates wrong and the first time fix wrong.
The simplest solution is to be honest from the outset, the customer might decide to go somewhere else – it’s a risk – but building a foundation of trust will work better for the business in the long run.

2)    Manage the tangibles

If you walked into a restaurant and saw bin bags on the floor, you probably wouldn’t hang around too long. So, take those first impressions to where you work.
When a customer walks into your business, what’s the first thing they see? You don’t need to have modern art in the reception or an expensive glass façade, but the facilities, the equipment, even the appearance of your team members, go a long way to building trust and a solid foundation with potential customers.

3)    Communication

It may seem obvious, but communication between business and customer is paramount to any interaction; from start to finish. Listen attentively and try to understand the customer journey, what the issue is, their expectations and what the eventual outcome will be.
And it doesn’t stop once they have paid their money and left. An area a lot of garages don't look at is the follow up. Once you’ve been paid is the beginning of the next part of the transaction, putting in a follow up call to find out whether everything's been okay, and if not, why? That way you know what went right, what went wrong, and where you can improve.

4)    Assurance, knowledge and courtesy

Highly linked to all of the above is the ability to reassure the customer, prove to them you have the knowledge to fix the issue they have, and that most basic of skills, being courteous throughout. Put simply, it’s about ensuring a feeling trust in the customer.

5)    Look at the big picture

In the end there isn’t a single solution, business owners need to understanding a range of areas in order to offer the best customer service: reception management, the customer journey, the skill levels you have, the equipment, and the technical information. When you look at all these areas and begin to make changes, your customer service levels will improve and that should be reflected in the success of your business.

Andy Savva is professional automotive aftersales expert and provides industry training to help independent garages improve their business

Find your next training course to accelerate your career and business