I’m not that familiar with cars. So when I went to Larry’s Muffler to get a brand new muffler on my ’97 civic – I was expecting to sit in the waiting room, pay what I owed, and walk out of the store. But not at Larry’s. Lo and behold, Larry took me out to the garage and had me look under my vehicle to show me exactly where the holes were in the old muffler and what his team member would be replacing. I was blown away! I not only had an incredible, personalized experience as a customer, but I was treated with respect. Larry was willing to show me exactly what was wrong and how he planned to fix it.
What can you do to treat your customers with respect and individualized attention? I think this is especially when you have service encounters that involve things that a customer may not understand or be familiar with. Indeed, it is so important not to “talk down” to a customer in these types of interactions, but rather, treat them as a peer. Better yet, share with them some things related to their service so they walk away with some valuable education!
What kind of service do you provide for your employees? Larry at Larry’s Classic Quality Brake & Mufflers told me a few things he does to show his employees that he cares. Let me tell you a few of them:
- He buys lunch for each employee every day.
- On Fridays, if his staff has delivered great service, he treats them to a steak!
- He doesn’t ask his staff to clean the bathroom – he does.
- He gives his staff second chances. (One staff quit, he invited that employee back to work and now this man is one of his most loyal employees)
- He gives his staff “first” chances. (Larry gave a high school drop-out with an opportunity to succeed at repairing cars – today this young man is one of his most talented repairman in his garage)
- He sees his role to be a role model to his staff – promoting hard work and integrity and a positive attitude toward others
Think about practical ways you can show your staff that you care. Perhaps it is not buying them a meal – but maybe you can recognize their efforts, provide them with more opportunities, and treat them as your best customers – because that is who they are!
Have you ever had such a memorable and incredible experience at a local business that you feel compelled to share about it? I have. Let me tell you about Larry at Larry’s Classic Quality Brake & Mufflers in Bonney Lake, Washington. Larry’s is a locally owned and operated full-service automotive garage and has been in business for close to 20 years – and I can see why. I walked in the shop and immediately was greeted by Manager Larry – a friendly, personable, and engaging man who just loved to engage his customers. He told stories, educated me on mufflers, and made me laugh. I felt taken care of and more than that – I got a great education on some things he has done to service his customers.
Here’s a take-away for you and your business: How do you engage your customers? Are you treating your customers as you would your guest in your home? What things can you do to help create a comfortable environment for your “guests?” Larry had a clean and comfortable waiting room, with three current newspapers to read, coffee on the counter, and an entertaining and engaging personality that made my wait time (less than 30 minutes) go quickly! Oh yes, and his staff gave me a great new muffler!