The Art of the Comeback

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Effectively dealing with dissatisfied clients.

Let’s face it, today’s customer is smarter, more independent and more informed. The availability of information on the web has changed the dynamics of the repairer/customer relationship.

Let’s look at the dynamics of dealing with that demanding, dissatisfied and perhaps bothersome client.

When I was the one behind the counter, I was taught the following:

  • First off, let the customer talk. Let them vent. The comeback is a complicated issue. They feel they wasted their money. Got ripped off.
  • At this point, they still have confidence in your shop’s quality. Otherwise, they would not have come back.
  • Have empathy. It’s not easy for most of us to lose time off work, plus it’s an effort to return for an issue they felt should have been already dealt with. If you’re talking to them on the phone don’t get your back up. Don’t get into an us versus them scenario. Be pleased to investigate the issue. After all, there must be something wrong, or they wouldn’t be there.
  • Offer solutions: a loaner will ease some of the anxiety. Have someone investigate the issue immediately.
  • Communicate with the client. Perhaps it’s a warranty issue, and they were right all along. Tell them, and remind them it’s covered. Perhaps it is a shop issue, and you must step up. Be honest and fair.

The objective here is a happy client who will return.

Remember, we’re working in a different environment due to the vast amount of information on the Internet. This generation of customers can, and will, post their satisfaction and dissatisfaction online for all to see.

How the big boys handle complaints

Recently, I purchased a set of spacers for my Mustang in Florida. When the part arrived, it wouldn’t fit. It was mis-labeled. Now what? Well, on their website were instructions for returning orders. No issues at all. The site printed out the return label. I re-boxed the parts, and as instructed, dropped it off at FedEx.

I received an immediate credit on my card. No hassle, no waiting on the phone. They were great. I reordered and got the new part the next day. They won me over! That’s what I’m talking about.

Dealing with dissatisfaction

One more thing, and probably the most important. Let’s say your counter couldn’t fix the issue with the client and they do post a one-star review on your site. That’s quite a serious issue.

The experts say don’t ignore that posting. Most, if not all new clients, visit three or more sites before deciding who to do business with. Write a response immediately. Make it personal: “I’m sorry to hear you’re having an issue with your vehicle. Please contact me personally at XXXXX@xxxxxx or call me @555-555 xxxxx. Let me try and help you, etc.”

According to the experts, chances are you’ll never hear from the client (you’ve lost that one). The real deal here is that Google recognizes that you are a concerned merchant and will place you in a better category in their system. Plus, prospective clients recognize your concern and willingness to help sort things out, turning a negative into a positive.

Remember to protect your image and perceived quality at all costs. The Internet is only the starting point in getting that client to use your service.

Categories : Mechanical

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