Customer service in the UK has received its lowest score since 2010, and although the motor trade was rated as the fourth highest sector, facing competition from the likes of tourism, retail and food retail, standards have gradually slipped over the last two and a half years and the bar needs to be raised back up again.
Customers are a vital part of any business; they bring the money in so keeping them happy is integral. The UK Customer Satisfaction Index, who perform the twice yearly study on customer happiness, found that 95% of highly satisfied customers are very likely to remain as customers. In stark comparison, only 5% of dissatisfied customers are very likely to return.
Out of 100 points the automotive sector received an average score of 78.6, which is down from 80.9 in 2013. Motor trade companies like Skoda have proved you can achieve great customer satisfaction in the motor trade, consistently being named in the 20 highest performing businesses in the UK with high scores between 82.9 and 85.7 since 2013.
In order to help keep customers satisfied and returning to your motor trade business, Think have collated some of the best advice from business experts and added a few tips from our own experience.
Learn Your Business and Become an Expert
You may know how to sell cars, repair them or wash them, but do you know everything about your business? If you sell cars, get to know the market as a whole, know the specifications and prices of your competitors. On the other hand if you run a valet business find out if you can be offering your customers more services than just a car wash. Becoming an expert of your business will also help you field customer questions much more easily and give them confidence in your service.
Make Your Customers Feel Welcome
Your customers should feel welcome before they even enter your business. An attractive, family friendly and clean store front will attract customers to your business. Once they enter your shop or garage, they will expect polite service, so look after them in any way you can. If you need to keep them waiting for any amount of time, make sure that comfortable seating areas are available.
Due to the nature of customers today, they want service to be available as soon as possible and when it suits them. So be attentive to the business phone and emails, if a customer cannot get in touch with you they may take their business elsewhere purely because that other business picked up the phone.
Listen to Your Customers
Knowing what your customers want is essential to helping you improve your customer service and, in turn, your profits. Find out what they need from you and do what you can to help them. The more you listen to your customers and the more information you find out, the more services you will be able to offer them. Also, if your customer has a complaint with the service they have been given, listening and empathising with their situation is half the battle, once they have vented and you have listened they’ll feel much better and then you can deal with their problem.
Be Time Conscious
Be conscious of your customers’ time, as no matter how good your service is, keeping them waiting an inordinate amount of time is bad service. To make sure your customers’ time isn’t wasted, tell them an estimated time for when the job will be finished, and then try your best to meet the deadline. Customers will always feel aggrieved if they have had to wait longer than you originally told them, without good reason.
Look at Every Step in Your Service
Any weak point in your customer service will be picked up on by the customer, instantly. Look at every step and see if there’s any part that is not performing at its full potential. You need to create a consistently good service so that people will return.
You need to receive feedback about your service otherwise you’ll never be able to better it. It requires a thick skin at times, but if there’s something wrong with your business you need to know about it. Offer feedback opportunities on your website, or give forms for people to fill in as they leave.
Also try following up after your service, if someone has bought a car from you recently, or had their car repaired by you, it’s really polite to send a follow up letter a month later letting them know that you hope that the vehicle is still running well and if they need to, they can contact you with any issues.
To offer customers the best service you need to create a social media page on Twitter and Facebook. This will allow them another way of contacting you and also give them the chance to endorse you to their friends.
You can also use the format to advertise offers and discounts. If you offer a one day extravagant price reduction once a month you’ll not only get some free advertisement as it is shared around the web, but you’ll also gain some loyal customers hungry for offers.
Hire the Right Staff
The key to making your customer service the best is by hiring polite, friendly and dedicated staff. Hiring people that will interact with your customers in a polite and knowledgeable way will increase customer satisfaction tenfold.
Continuously Improve Customer Service
You may feel like you have the perfect staff and service possible, but to maintain those high levels of service you need to continuously improve them. Learn from your mistakes, talk and listen to your staff about service and interaction on a daily basis.
Think Insurance are experts in providing Motor Trade Insurance and Part-Time Motor Trade Insurance. If you are in need of a new policy, then please get in touch with Think today.