Larry’s Mufflers – Part 2

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!

Back to the Basics in Service – Keep your Promises

What does a promise mean to you?  A promise is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that guarantees that a particular thing will happen.    You may have a number of promises in your team or organization.  Your promises may be general (We will satisfy our customers) or more specific (I will call you by 10 am tomorrow).   When you keep your end of the promise to your customer, it tells your customer that you can be trusted, you can be relied upon.   Why is this important? Because the more a customer trusts that someone on your team or in your organization will do what they say, the more excited they will be to become a member of your “sales force” as they talk positively about your company to others. 

A general rule is that you never want to promise something to a customer that you can’t fulfill. 

And often times, when customers feel they can trust you – several other things can occur:

  • they are more likely to give feedback
  • they are more willing to share with you their complaints
  • they are more willing to be “fans” of your organization

What promise can you keep today?




Making it Right for your Customers

My husband and I recently purchased some living room furniture.  This has been a two year process!  We were looking for some furniture that we could “cuddle” in as well as a new couch.   We finally found two beautiful pieces at a local furniture story and after waiting 10 weeks, they were delivered to our home last week.  You can imagine the disappointment we felt when I had neck pain after sitting in the chair for a 2 hour movie!

This is when this story becomes amazing.  My husband called the salesperson and he was told “We want to make it right.”  And they did.  They first set up an appointment with the chair manufacturer to see if there was something that could be done with the chair.  And when that didn’t work – we were told we could ”start over” and exchange what we had with something that would work better for us.  What can we learn from this story?

When something goes wrong, we have an opportunity to “win back” our customers.   Encourage your leaders to teach your customer service professionals to look at problems at opportunities.  Recognize the positive impact that you can have on your customers when you can creatively brainstorm solutions.  Take a look at your company policies and make sure they provide enough room for people to do what it takes to keep that customer relationship.

Guess what, this furniture store has made fans of us!  What about you?  We have got to “make it right for our customers!”


What do you do when you don’t know the answer?

This question became apparent to me in a real way when I was in an electronics store recently.  I wanted something to “dock” my I-Phone so that I could listen to music (like an I-Pod) and eagerly anticipated getting some expert help and advice on what products make sense for an I-phone, the pro’s and con’s of various items, and what the store suggested. 

The manager escorted me to the most expensive product and then ushered one of his salesmen to continue helping me.  This salesman (possibly new to the job?) did not have any expertise on the products and every question we asked seemed to be the first experience he had in attempting to respond. 

His responses were not helpful at all and in fact his lack of assurance and confidence made for a rather frustrating experience  as my friends and I muddled along trying to figure things out for ourselves. Luckily, one of my friends is quite savvy with technology and he figured out what would make sense for me. 

The lesson? 
What do you do when you don’t know the answer?
How are you training your managers and staff members to field questions?
How are you making sure that the most anticipated questions that customers ask are taught in sales training programs? 

The bottom line – if you don’t train your sales people to first of all, know your products, and second, know how to answer customer’s questions- you are losing a sale. 

I did end up buying what I wanted – but this was despite the sales people’s help!