Golden Rules of Customer Service
As a fast lube operator, it’s nearly always a good day if your shop is busy. What better feeling is there than seeing car after car waiting outside your bays? However, this awesome opportunity presents a special challenge — making sure your customers don’t feel neglected. When you’re busy it’s sometimes hard to ensure your customers don’t feel ignored. Your greeter may be busy finishing up with one customer and has not had a chance to greet the customer who just pulled up. Chalk it up to a busy day, but some customers might interpret this as being ignored, when, in fact, they are not. We’ve tracked down successful operators who shared their advice to help you ensure customers waiting in their vehicles don’t feel neglected.
“We want to acknowledge our customers’ presence within 15 seconds, and we usually greet them within a minute,” said Aaron Lee, manager of Oil Can Henry’s in Tualatin, Oregon. “Then, we always offer them our price sheet and a newspaper, that way they’re not just sitting in their car. They can read the newspaper or familiarize themselves with the services we offer and the prices we charge instead of distracting themselves with their cell phones.”
A good way to go the extra mile for your customers waiting in the frigid cold or sweltering heat is to offer them refreshments.
“In the wintertime, we offer our customers coffee, and in the summertime, we offer them iced tea,” said Ryan Gaudette, owner of Great Canadian Oil Change in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. “We also provide a coloring book with kid-friendly car facts to our customers with children.”
There are advantages to having a drive-thru-only oil change.
“The main advantage is trust,” Lee said. “It’s a lot easier to build trust with your customers when they can watch the whole service. We have cameras set up so they can watch the technician underneath their car and watch everything we do under the hood. That way, you’re not removing the customer from their vehicle, sending them to a waiting room and then having to show them everything that needs to be serviced; they can actually watch us perform every task. It adds to our credibility.”
Another advantage of having customers stay in their vehicles is the time you’ll save.
“When customers get out of their cars and go to a waiting room, it’s a half-hour process,” Gaudette said. “You leave the bay, go talk to the customer and go work on their car. Then, you have to go back inside, tell them of any issues you found, see if they want the issues repaired, go repair them and go back to discuss things with the customer once more. It’s a constant back-and-forth. When the customer is in their car, they see what you’re doing from the beginning, and it makes the entire process easier.”
By greeting customers in a timely manner, offering them a drink or newspaper, and building their trust by talking with them throughout the service, you can expect happy, returning customers.