How To Succeed As An Expensive Shop
Eric M. Twiggs
“Value is more expensive than price.”
― Toba Beta,
― Toba Beta,
Are you the most expensive shop in town? This question reminds me of an ATI podcast interview I recently listened to. Ryan Kuhnle, owner of East End Automotive, located in a small Pennsylvania town, was being interviewed by Coach Geoff Berman on the topic of the customer experience.
To gain best practices, Ryan reported taking an “outside the box” approach. He visited the most expensive, high-end dealership in his market. What Ryan discovered, was surprising.
Ryan has a friend who works there who gave him a tour of the facility. As they walked, he noticed that the service bays and floors were clean and organized. No surprises there. Next, he noticed that they washed every car they serviced. Again, not surprising.
He then observed that the waiting room was clean, had a cappuccino machine, and a charger for customers to charge their mobile phones. Nice touch, but not over the top. The visit took an interesting turn when Ryan’s friend showed him the CSI survey reports.
Ryan and his friend reviewed the customer comments and stumbled across the following surprise: The most expensive shop in town didn’t have a single complaint about price! Even in a small town, the customers had no problems paying a higher price.
The reason they can charge what they charge is because they have adopted Jim Rohn’s definition of success: “They do the ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
I know what you’re thinking: “My customers are different. They won’t pay for better service in my area.” This limiting belief poses two challenges: 1) Your costs of doing business are always increasing. 2) No matter what you believe, the bills are still due.
In all my years of running shops, I have never had a bill collector call me and say: “Eric, we heard that your customers are different so we won’t charge you this month!” So, these challenges make delivering value at an extraordinary level, a great business decision.
Stay with me to learn about two focus areas that will help you succeed as an expensive shop.
Make It Personal
I was recently speaking with Bud Wildman, owner of Precision Auto, and member of the 2016 ATI Top 12. One of his customers left an internet review that reads as follows: “After leaving this shop, all I can say is wow, wow, wow!”
As I inquired further, he concluded that the key was to make it personal. “How are you making it personal?” I asked. He went on to explain the details of the program he has in place that was mentioned at the Super Conference.
Many of his transactions begin with his customers being picked up by his shuttle driver. The driver, the technicians, and the service advisors, each have wireless walkie talkies to enhance their communication levels.
The shuttle driver gets the name of the customer and communicates it via the walkie talkies, to the writer at the desk. When the customer gets to the shop, the writer says, “Good morning Mrs._______, how may I serve you?”
Are you more likely to read a mass email that’s sent to hundreds of different addresses, or one that is personally addressed to you? You probably chose the second option because the experience that’s personal is more valuable.
Just calling the customer by name is an ordinary thing. Using the walkie talkies, helps Bud and his team to execute this in an extraordinary way, and makes the experience personal. When was the last time a customer said “wow” after leaving your shop?
Exceed Their Expectations
I have a habit of reading internet reviews for different businesses. When reviewing those for airline companies, I have never seen a raving 5-star review that read: “The plane didn’t crash, I arrived on time, and they didn’t lose my luggage!”
The reason you will never see this type of review is because customers don’t rave about an experience they expect to receive. They expect to land in one piece along with their luggage.
Southwest Airlines, is an example of an airline that exceeds expectations. Here is a review from one of their raving fans:
“They went to the most ultimate extreme by presenting my fiance' and I an entire bottle of our favorite champagne once they heard we had just gotten engaged!”
Just like Southwest, you can create raving fans by moving beyond what’s expected.
Your customer expects to get a computer-generated thank you card after getting their car worked on. A handwritten thank you note would exceed their expectations.
Your new customer expects for someone to greet her when she comes in. Giving her a welcome tour, putting her in a loaner car, and then leaving her with a parting gift, would exceed her expectations. These are each examples of ordinary things delivered in an extraordinary way!
Because of the experience, the customers at the high-end dealer mentioned earlier, didn’t think to question the price. If you commit to making it personal and exceeding their expectations, you will succeed as an expensive shop.
Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach
PS: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a new customer intake procedure that will help you make it personal and exceed their expectations!