PUBLISHER'S PERSPECTIVE: Pay Attention – You’re Being Watched - BodyShop Business
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PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE: Pay Attention – You’re Being Watched

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I recently had the fortune/misfortune to have a bad retail experience. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say it was maddening. After I cooled down, I realized I had just been fed the idea for my next column.

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It’s very important to examine  how we look and sound to our customers. I know this seems obvious, but think of how many bad experiences we all keep having and you’ll come to the same conclusion I did: No matter how many times we read about it or talk about it, it just keeps happening.

As I’ve indicated in past columns, when it comes to improving your image, the first place to start is with yourself. Your employees display the behavior that their leaders display. If your shop personnel see you speaking improperly about a customer or that customer’s behavior, in their minds the customer is wrong and that gives them the go-ahead to do the same.

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Please don’t misunderstand my point here. I’m not saying the customer is always right. We all know there are customers who are way out there. In fact, many are downright dishonest and deceptive. However, they’re still customers and need to be treated professionally.

Think for a minute about your  most difficult customer. He or she probably comes back on a consistent basis to nitpick the job, right? As crazy as it seems, though, he or she is actually one of your best customers.

Before you tune me out, realize that a customer is nine times more likely to communicate his or her dissatisfaction to someone outside the business than he or she is to return to the business to complain about it. Do the math on that and realize that there are a lot of people spreading things about your business without you even knowing it. While the challenging customers require work, they’re important to what others around our businesses hear about us.

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Let’s think about what customers might hear when they call our shops. Can they hear us, or do they hear our lovely air compressors singing away in the background? Or my personal favorite is the air chisel. When that phone gets picked up, no one knows for sure who’s on the other end. Each call needs to be handled like it’s a brand-new customer. Remember, if you do some of the answering, your employees will listen and learn how to speak to customers, too.

Customer referrals in our business happen a lot. Our family parts business was next door to a reputable body shop, and I know we all referred many friends and neighbors to that shop. I realize we live in a DRP-focused environment, but referrals still bring traffic. Quality of work is the ticket to getting people in the door these days, and taking care of customers in a manner that’s acceptable to them is what will set you apart from the rest.

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Stay focused on the way you treat people – you’re being watched.

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