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Customer service from a technician's perspective

Do what's right because it's the right thing to do
Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 09:00
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Do what's right because it's the right thing to do

I’ve worked for a variety of shops over the course of my career as a technician, covering everything from small family-owned shops, to national chains and OEM dealerships. In the majority of cases, I had little or no interaction with the customers themselves. That responsibility was left to the boss or the front counter staff.

But consider for a moment our role as technicians in that customer experience. Yes, the shop may have a beautiful customer lounge offering free WiFi and a cappuccino machine, your service advisors may be consummate professionals when dealing with the customers on the phone and in person, and the work area may be so clean you’d think it was a NASA lab but if we don’t fulfill the customers’ expectations when actually fixing the concern they came in for, they won’t stay and they certainly won’t recommend us to their circle of friends.

How we perform as technicians will have a large impact on the shop’s reputation and the customer’s satisfaction.

So what is our role in providing exceptional customer service?

Meeting expectations

As technicians, we must meet several expectations. Some are set by the customer and others are set by our employer.

One obvious expectation that immediately comes to mind is to treat the customer’s vehicle with the utmost respect. We don’t do burnouts with it, we exercise care with it and we return it in the same, or better, shape than we received it. I’m not saying you need to do a full detail on every car you work on, but don’t leave grease and oil stains on the body or interior either.

The next expectation should be equally obvious. Fix it right the first time. Yes, this is a well-worn phrase but unfortunately doesn’t happen with the frequency it should and is worth expanding on. It is important that we, even as techs, understand that customer perception is everything. It’s not an uncommon scene to see a customer return with the MIL light back on after the tech has properly repaired the initial concern. The reasons for the light to come back may be several, with some justifiable and some not, but in the end – all the customer knows is that he had to come back.

It’s never a good thing when a warning light comes on right after the customer picks up their car. Most can be averted with knowledge and communication.

A third is to complete a vehicle inspection on every car we take in. As professionals, we owe our customers the full benefit of our training and experience. We need to do all we can to advise them on the condition of their car, especially when it comes to needs that impact the overall safety of its occupants.

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