It’s what every customer wants, to be satisfied!
The point became very evident to me one day during a recent business trip.
On my way to visit a client, I found myself at the Atlanta airport searching for a quick bite to eat. I jumped in line at a Sbarro, ready to order a slice of pizza. There were several people in front of me and I noticed things were not moving very quickly. The pizzeria was staffed with four people, but only one person was taking orders, the same person was also fulfilling the orders and then working the cash register. Now I like a get it done person just as much as the next person, but in this case the one employee was not getting the job done. A South American tree sloth would have beaten this woman in a speed contest.
I started to notice other customers in line and they were all displaying signs of frustration and aggravation. Several customers behind me jumped out of line and gave their business to another eatery.
I then started observing the other three employees. One was assembling pizzas while the other two seemed to be doing meaningless stuff as they engaged in conversation. This staff of four might have thought they were doing their job, but to me they were failing miserably. Without satisfied customers, pizza making becomes irrelevant, since eventually there will be no customers in line to make the pizzas for.
Unfortunately many of us experience this type of service on a daily basis. I for one am not going to tolerate it anymore. Now that my cell phone has Socialcam installed (thanks Todd Smith), I’ll be making videos of poor experiences like this one and sharing them on YouTube. As Brain Pasch mentioned in his recent article, ZMOT (zero moment of truth) is going to have a big influence on consumers as they choose whom to do business with. I’ll enjoy helping be the demise of a poorly performing business so that the doors can be opened for those who do want to satisfy their customers!
So why share this story? This is a huge opportunity for us to improve how we handle our customers. I am not only talking about dealerships, but I am also talking about the vendors who sell to dealers. We’ve recently seen a few vendors take a bashing on the public forums and they too need to act. To keep this article focused, I’ll keep my suggestions geared for the dealer.
These are some of the more common areas where dealers fail to satisfy customers:
- Internet leads going unanswered for hours
- Unattended chat sessions
- Customers struggling through a phone system trying to reach a real person
- Service customers waiting to talk with a service advisor
- Customers waiting to pay their bill at the cashier
- Customers expecting to be followed up with and never receiving a phone call
- Sales processes taking too long
- Oil changes that take two hours
The list could go on and on, but you get the point. Every customer touch point needs to be examined and processes need to be put in place to meet the expectations of our customers. Get this right and prosper.
Every employee needs to be on the lookout for disgruntled customers, you’ll know them by their body language and facial expressions. If you’re reading about it online, then it’s too late, you’ve failed! If you see somebody constantly looking at their watch, then it’s time to act. A great place to start is with a simple apology. Engaging a customer in conversation will put them at ease. Cross train your employees to help others during peak busy times.
Most importantly, each employee needs to treat his or her job like it was their own prospering business. Take pride in what you do and fulfill your responsibilities. Try to give every customer a “wow factor.” What’s a “wow factor” you ask? It’s going above and beyond the expectations of what your customers expect and providing an even greater service.
To summarize this article, here’s a great quote from Jack Welch: “Only satisfied customers can give people job security. Not companies.”
The automotive industry is filled with mediocrity; the time to act is now!