This month I am going to ask you to do something that is often talked about, but rarely done. Put yourself in your customers' shoes. That is, look at your business from their perspective. Recently I had the opportunity to view firsthand what I've known for years – if you provide a service to your customers just once, your customers will always expect it.
It was a nice Sunday morning and I was taking my family out for breakfast when my son asked to get the car washed. I was glad to oblige and when we pulled into the car wash it was busy. It looked like they were short-staffed – I'd know because I managed this wash way back in 2000. It's a busy location that does a good job. One thing though that I don't agree with is that now they prep every car before it goes into the wash. I know from experience that this wash can turn out a good car without prepping but because they were short-staffed, they just loaded me on and let me go. I felt robbed. Why did I feel robbed? Two reasons – first one being I had come to expect the prepping because they always did it and even more annoying was that I had paid for the top package and they were supposed to prep me!
This story shows that when you look at things as our customer does, you may be surprised. Think about the little things you do (or don't do) and how they might affect your customers' experience. Try to see things from your customer's perspective. Think about when you've been the customer. How do you feel and what do you want from the people you are buying from or doing business with? Take the time to consider what the three most common things are that you want as a customer.
Most people want similar things: helpful information, solutions to problems, common courtesy, a friendly voice or a pleasant smile. A good value for the product or service they have spent their hard earned money on. What happens to you when you're angry or frustrated with a person or company you do business with? Think for a moment about the types of emotions you have when you feel like you've been ripped off, have received poor service and/or are just unhappy about the situation. When people are rude to you, how do you feel and react?
As an owner or manager, we have the unique opportunity to walk a mile in our customers' shoes because we have been in their shoes before. I challenge you to look at your wash through the eyes of a customer. I assure you, you'll be surprised with what you find. Pay attention to the small things you can do to make your business a much friendlier and more enjoyable experience for your customer.
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at RAndre@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.CarWashCollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.