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Great Customer Service

Have you ever had an incident with a customer’s vehicle that you thought was minimal, yet your customer made a huge deal about it? It happens, it’s stressful, and it just seems to ruin the whole day. As a car wash manager, you realise that occasional damage to a customer’s vehicle happens and is a part of the car wash business. Proper handling of this type of situation can save you from a major headache and significant expenses.

There’s sure to have been times where you’ve heard a customer complain about damage to their car and you’ve thought that there was just no way that the car wash could do that type of damage. Unfortunately when you say this to the customer you begin to build a wall between yourself and the paying customer. Although we are generally correct 99.9% of time we often forget to keep the customer’s feelings in mind.

Consider how you would feel if you were simply told that you are wrong and then not given a reasonable and thoughtful explanation? That’s why it’s essential to give great customer service at all times and to provide positive effects on the entire car wash business and paying customers.

Here are some tips to turn a bad customer service situation into a positive opportunity for your car washing business:

Be a great listener - Do not try to talk over your customer or argue with him (or her). Let the customer voice their thoughts. Remember, they are a customer so they cannot possibly have all the car wash knowledge and information that you do. Listen and you will find an opportunity towards building better rapport with your customer.

Lower your voice - If the customer starts speaking louder, start speaking in a lower tone. Your calm demeanour will reflect on them to settle down. As you approach the situation with a calm, clear mind, unaffected by the customer’s tone or volume, anger will generally dissipate.

Build a rapport through empathy - Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Echo back their frustration and show that you understand their position and the situation. If you can identify with a customer’s issue, it will assist you in calming them down. If you “verbally nod” during the exchange, the customer will feel better understood.

Remember that the car wash is a giant stage - Your other car wash customers are watching the interaction between you and the customer who has an issue. Remain calm (no gestures, such as rolling your eyes or throwing your arms in the air), and this perspective can provide an emotional buffer if the customer is being verbally abusive and will allow you to think more clearly when responding. Since witnessing an unruly customer can result in negative referrals, assume that the other customers will retell the encounter to potential new customers. Doing so will guide you in addressing the situation in a calm way.

Know when to give in - If you realise that the customer is going to take up several hours or more of your valuable time and possibly spawn negative referrals, then it may be better to draw up a compromise that’s more in their favour. This can free you up to spend time nurturing your more productive customer relationships. Keep in mind that the interaction is not typical of most of your customers and that you’re not dealing with the norm. Of course, this doesn’t mean to give the farm away, but to reach a solution so that you can move on.

Try not to get angry or upset - Take a deep breath if the customer is swearing or being verbally abusive; continue as if you do not hear the abuse or swearing. Reacting to insults will not solve anything and could possibly turn the conversation towards a negative direction.

Never take it personally - Always speak to the issue at hand and do not get personal, even if the customer does. Remember, a customer does not always realise that he is venting to a representative of the car wash.

Keep in mind that you are interacting with a human being - Everyone has an off day. Who knows what happened at home, work, etc.

Follow up -If you promise an update on a solution, then call and let the customer know. At least the customer will know that you are trying and keeping your word.

Most of us in the car washing business have had customer blow ups that turned petty situations into something much worse. Great customer service can often allow you to seek a solution that may prevent an ultimately expensive insurance claim while keeping intact the good reputation of your car washing business.

© Prowash Australia
Author: Liz Reisman
Date Published: 15 April 2016