Golden Rules of Customer Service: Waiting Areas and Bathrooms Should be Friendly
When your customers drive into your quick lube and get out to go to the waiting room, what will they find?
Is there a coffee table with out-of-date magazines strewn haphazardly about and cold, stale coffee sitting on a dirty countertop? If they need to take a bathroom break, will they walk into an unsanitary-looking restroom with dirt and grease stains on the sink and floor? The answer, of course, should be a resounding, “no.” However, we all know that that’s not always the case.
Keeping your waiting areas and bathrooms customer-friendly is another key in providing excellent customer service. To your customers, the way you service your waiting room and bathroom is a direct reflection on how you service vehicles. If a customer walks into an unorganized, messy waiting room, they’ll assume that you and your techs will be equally as messy and unorganized when working on vehicles.
Maintaining a clean waiting room and bathroom goes a lot further than one might think.
“The simplest and cheapest thing a lube shop can do to improve its image in the waiting room and bathroom is to just keep them clean,” said Pablo Solomon, artist and designer. “Floors should be mopped and toilets and sinks should be cleaned at least once a day. People see a sharp-looking, clean shop as more professional and trustworthy than a messy one.”
Operator Len Minco, owner of Kwik Kar Lube and Auto Care in Hudson Oaks and Aledo, Texas, agrees with Solomon’s suggestions.
“Keep your shop clean,” Minco said. “At the end of the day, my stores have to be ready for the next day. They’re mopped every night, and things are put back in place. We make sure not to keep rags lying around and leave nothing on the floor. Customers like that. It sends a message that if we’re taking care of the inside of the shop well, then we must be really taking care of their car, too.”
Another way to make your shop more customer-friendly is to cater to the little ones in your customers’ lives.
“One of my stores actually has a segmented children’s waiting room,” Minco said. “The parents can go in there with their children and read or watch cartoons. The other store has a kids’ area with tables, chairs and coloring books. Our customers really seem to appreciate it.”
A different approach to keeping your place friendly is to incorporate music that will cut back on other, external noises.
“The idea is to reduce the loud noises or sounds that might be heard in a bathroom or waiting room,” said Peter Lewis, founder of Audisee, a sound design company. “Having pleasant music fill the air expresses the respect a company has for not only its customers, but for its employees as well. You want something that will take attention away from all the clanking, banging and yelling that’s coming through the walls or the doors.”
Some shops prefer having a television in the waiting area to accomplish the same goal as playing music.
One new trend that continues to grow in all service-based businesses is offering Wi-Fi.
“I have Wi-Fi in both of my stores,” Minco said. “If customers have their laptops or tablets, they can sit, relax, check their email or do whatever they want to do. I think it really makes a difference in their comfort level.”