“Mechanics” of Good Customer Service

In Pennsylvania, when renewing your auto registration, you also must take your car to be inspected. This is new for me as in California, it is not a requirement.

Last year, I searched around for some local places that wouldn’t screw me over. Taking a chance, I ended up trying a place called Chuck’s Auto Garage.

Walking through the door of the garage didn’t knock me off my feet–in fact, it was dusty and the pictures were fading on the walls. But, the welcome I received made me not even pay attention to that any more. The big “Hello!” and “Welcome” with a big smile and friendly feel that the mechanic offered made it seem I was over at a neighbor’s garage hanging out instead of getting my state inspection. During the inspection, with my car raised up, he not only brought me under the car to show me various parts but has a computer program on his computer that educates drivers about how the cars actually function. I spent a good couple hours there getting the inspection and learning about breaks and shocks.

Mid year, my check engine light came on. I called Chuck to see if I could set up an appointment. “Come on over whenever works for you!” I drove over about 10 minutes later and he checked the engine, for free, and found that the issue was with my gas cap! Did you know you had to replace those? I ran over to Auto Zone, got a new cap and BAM engine light went off. It gave me great trust knowing that I could pop over to his shop for a quick FREE check up!

Flash forward a year later–I’m back, sitting in the garage for my  next state inspection. It’s only Chuck and there are several cars waiting. He not only made all of us in the waiting room laugh and talk with each other, but he managed to address all three of our car issues with good multi-tasking (I was watching). And, not only that, he remembered who I was–a year later! My car passed inspection and I left the garage with a hug from Chuck.

All of this got me thinking of the “mechanics” of good customer service so I wrote out a list of what I think is important:

1. A genuine welcome

When customers call support, visit a store or whatever it is, having a happy voice/smile to greet them is KEY. It lays the tone out for the whole experience. It is not forced or fake, it’s an honest greeting to your customer.

2. Taking ownership and fixing/addressing issues

Customers are coming to you for a reason–for help. You’re the one who knows the product inside and out. They put their trust in YOU to fix it. If you can’t fix it, you’ll find someone who can. Either way, you’re taking ownership of the issue and doing all you can until it’s resolved.

3. Empowering the customer

I was so impressed with Chuck showing me how parts of my car function. My sister is a diesel mechanic told me that this type of service from an auto shop doesn’t happen often! He took the extra time to teach me and this not only empowered me but also expanded my knowledge. Imagine if we could do this for every customer–fix the issue but also show them what happened, how it works and what to do it if happens again.

4. Building trust in the customer that they know you are there for them

Being a phone call or email away is a great resource for a customer. If they have a quick question and just want a quick answer, they trust that they can reach out to you and get the response they  need.

5. Making the customer feel valued, respected and happy

While we cannot hug every customer, throwing in personal touches every so often makes the customer feel more of a respected friend than just another number. We began our Customer Appreciation Station project (blog post to come soon) and the results have been amazing. Personal cards/notes or even calls or emails to check in and say hi really go above and beyond.

Do you have any “mechanics” you would add to this list? Would you change any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

[custom_author=jenny]

Jenny Dempsey is the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. With over a decade of customer service experience, Jenny has been recognized through social media channels as a thought leader. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. When she's not helping or singing to customers, she is studying to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Be sure to check out DempseyWellness.org and follow her on social media!

2 comments

  • Terrific post Jenny. Mechanics are a hot bed of customer service issues apparently. Why do you think that is? Perhaps it’s because we spend a lot of money with them and unless we know something about cars, we are trusting they are telling the truth. I know enough to know that if you find a good mechanic with customer service skills, referrals from trustworthy people you stick with them!

    BTW, I had to replace my gas cap a couple smog checks ago. Seriously, who knew that was a thing?

  • That must be it–it’s an easy industry to trick consumers into spending more money on things simply because they do not understand it. I’ve managed to get out of a few of these situations simply because I get my sister on the phone to talk to the guy. After one conversation with her, they don’t BS me any more!

    And yeah, that gas cap thing—who woulda thought?!

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