Customer Service - What Separates You?

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When I started writing articles last year, I had this article printed. I feel this material is even more valuable today than it was last year. Not only is it about the value of customer service, but it’s also about the value of quality versus quantity. We all would like more customers, but how we treat them is more important than how many we have.

More customers mean more revenue; however if you treat a customer as if they were not important or maybe not as good as the person down the street, there is a good chance you will lose them. Therefore, smiling, knowing the customer’s name, looking professional, delicious tasting coffee and making your customers feel comfortable all matter.

Before you can have excellent customer service, you have to start from the ground-up. In other words, if your plan is to grow oranges, you cannot plant apple trees and expect orange trees to grow. Maybe you’re familiar with the saying, “Whatever you are sowing, this you will also reap.” If you want to achieve excellent customer service, you have to think, “Who are my examples? What training are my employees receiving?”

There are many owners and operators who want to have the best customer service, and they may think they are doing quite well. However, there is a defining line between standard customer service and excellent customer service. This will be what keeps customers coming back to your shop rather than heading down the street.

We can think, “I want. I want. I want.” all day long but, if we do not act or change what we do, nothing will happen. Determine what separates you from your competition and do something!

On average:

·           One dissatisfied customer will tell 10 people about their experience. (Hal Mather, The Performance Advantage)

·             For every unsatisfied customer who complains, there are 26 unhappy customers who say nothing. Of those 26, 24 will not come back. (U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs)

Do you believe if a customer is a long-term, loyal customer they will always come to your shop? The answer is no! Service matters! There are several surveys that report how important customer service is. Please note: we are not talking about gaining new business; we are speaking about keeping the business you currently have. How can you provide excellent customer service that keeps your customers coming back?

Once you determine what makes you different, implement it. Let your customers know what you are doing by advertising. Remember true customer service is not offered when your management team wants to or feels like it. You should be focused on customer service 100 percent of the time. Commit to it and put a guarantee on it. This will help reassure your customers with a sense of security and trust.

On a football team, there are several players with all very important positions. However, you cannot win the game with only the quarterback. All players are valuable. All of us in our workplace are valuable, and we all play a major part with how our customers are treated. The coach is one of the most valuable moving parts of a team. Therefore, if we want to provide excellent customer service, it must all start with the coach as the example.

I would like to end with mentioning one of my favorite books and writers. If you have not read it, I would recommend you do so. It’s called, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. On page 106, it speaks about a personal mission statement:

·           Succeed at home first

·           Remember the people involved

·           Be sincere yet decisive

·           Plan tomorrow’s work today

·           Hustle while you wait

·           Maintain a positive attitude

·           Do not fear mistakes — fear only the absence of creative, constructive and corrective responses to those mistakes.

Determine what separates you!

AMBER KOSSAK is president and CEO of Solid Start, manufacturer of True Brand Products. She has been in the automotive industry for almost 20 years and is serving on the AOCA board of directors. She can be contacted at: For more information please visit:

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