Last year I had a pretty horrible experience that I never shared with you. However, the experience I had has impacted my decisions this year. In Canada when winter hits, everyone scrambles to get winter tires for their vehicles. It’s something that happens every year and you’d think that people would be prepared but in this, I find that I am as fallible as everyone else.
Well, last year the company that I shopped at for my tires really left me disappointed. This company is quite good normally and they are one of the most popular and well-known stores in Canada, however, their automotive department (specifically tires) is really subpar. They provided little to no information on the differences between different brands, nor did they help me choose, which would be the best option for my vehicle. I was left to my own devices to conduct all of the research. Fortunately, a friend suggested an alternative.
Related: Customer experience and feedback are two major aspects for successful business
The following points are the most important to keep your customers with yourself according to my experience:
Minimize Wait Time
At the new place, I went to, when I entered the store, there was just one person in front of me in the line, and they were being helped. A lady who was wearing numerous different hats in the office stood up from her desk and approached me with a smiling face.
While I didn’t ask anything, it gave me the impression that the employees in the store were basically focused on responding to any customer who enters. Give it a thought, that you are standing in a long queue in a store and only one person is behind the counter who was helping the customers, while the others were just there doing god-knows-what behind the counter, not making even a single bit of effort to directly help the customers? How would that make you feel?
Well, there are two lessons here. First, don’t ever make your customers wait excessively. And second, there will be times when the staff addressing the line won’t be able to help each customer without a long wait. The one thing to do in that situation would be to help or empower other staff to help.
It would be not fair if I didn’t mention that if you’re drowned with long wait times, then a good outsourcing partner won’t just throw more oil to the problem but will also holistically help you to optimize your staffing and help your entire operation run more smoothly.
The first impression I got was when I was helped with a smile. The “Welcome! How may I assist you?” was said with a welcoming tone. The first welcome greeting sets the mood for the rest of the interaction to come. Later on, the salesperson addressed my jacket, which I was sporting. He noticed it was a souvenir from a past location I had visited in and he then talked about that city. This made me think, “Wow, this guy is good!”.
I want you to recall poor customer service. The service staff serving you showed the least interest as a person. A compassionate customer service professional who gives a personal touch to the interaction is different. They make a connection with the customer and can easily sort out issues easily with disappointed customers.
Sharing Your Expertise
A few weeks back, I visited another tire shop (its winter again and my wife’s car needs tires also!). The sales staff showed me no less than ten different types of tires and asked me to choose according to my needs, but he didn’t even explain to me about any difference in the features of the models.
I ended up walking out of the shop and going to another shop. Comparing this experience to what I’d received earlier was very different. Here the salesperson presented me a few options which were suitable for my vehicle and explained each of them very well along with the prices and their features; then he helped me to choose the tires with the best features that fit within my budget.
A huge reason why customers contact support is because they want an expert to guide them. My unpleasant tire buying experience in 2018, the salesperson simply said, “We don’t have any tires for your vehicle. You need to go order online. Next customer.” Seemingly helping me, select tires was not part of his job. The big joke was they seemed to have had more tires than the company I chose did. Regardless, as a customer, I was ready to hand him my money, and he essentially communicated that he didn’t want to sell the tires to me. That is a serious loss of customer base.
Solve the Problem Already
The experience which I shared, I actually had to go home and order the tires, then impatiently wait for another week before I could have them installed in my vehicle. In comparison to this, my chosen vendor had five different types of tires in stock and installed them within an hour. It’s crucial to note that once my car is in the garage, I’m already committed as a customer. There’s no turning back. By such a nice experience in just an hour, they ensured that they would get my repeat business.
Related: The impact of customer experience
Make the Wait Pleasant
My son was with me during this session, and he was so thrilled by the free popcorn and the activities that were there for the kids while we waited. I was happy with the abundance of available seating and of course, free Wi-Fi. Clearly, this dealer understands that the time customers spend waiting can be more pleasant and have taken adequate measures.
Keep Your Promises
They also promised me that they would call when my car will be ready, and they did. It is a simple task from their side, but this is the most important step to keep your customers. Look onto a condition when the company never calls or even picks up their phone, ridiculous right. Setting a standard expectation is one thing. Exceeding those expectations with great customer service is another thing. If you don’t meet or exceed expectations, then your business will soon be in the dust.
If you follow closely, my tire buying experience in 2018 was painfully long and not very fruitful. My experience with the new company took a little over an hour. While I may have paid slightly more, they’ve obviously taken that small premium and ensured that I get a better experience. But I’d say it was worth it.
I have stated this earlier, but it is worth repeating. When you enable the customers to do business with you, they’ll not only be with you but will also reassure others about your service, and the network goes on.
One thought on “A Blueprint for Getting and Keeping Customers”