Sometimes it isn’t about complex concepts that help a service department to run smoothly. A simple idea, matched with a catchy acronym can make a difference in how tasks are undertaken, the relationship between staff and customers, and how the customer will feel about their experience in dealing with your service department/workshop.
Three words are all you need: Communication, HOnesty andPreparation. Together you have the CHOP, a service delivery system that ensures everyone involved in the process, from the customer to the technician, knows what is going to happen, and what has happened so far. Building on these principles, you can help produce a higher quality environment for customers, staff and even yourself. This piece is only the beginning though, for after you read this there is a good chance you could come up with ideas of your own, that are more specific to your workshop and all involved in it. First though, a theory.
I would like to share with you my theory of the good, the bad and the neutral. This is a system of thought in relation to memories and how the quality of an experience affects how well our recollection of the experience works. It is my own theory, I have not seen it written anywhere else, but I do spend too much time in deep thought, and I am not much of a scholar in the traditional sense. So it goes like this: Whether a situation is good, bad or neutral our memory storage of the situation can be affected by the quality of the experience. When a situation is good,( e.g. finding a good coffee shop, travelling down a winding road at good speed etc) the experience is worth remembering, but not the strongest experience worth remembering. A neutral situation, (e.g. finding a car space, watching mediocre television, etc) is not worth remembering at all as it has no quality about it what is worth remembering. However, in regards to a bad situation, (e.g. almost getting hit by a truck, realising you have overrated your riding skills while coming into a corner at speed, etc) these situations are most likely to form strong memories. I believe this is evolutionary, when finding a waterhole was good, eating something was neutral, and trying to spear a mammoth on your own is bad. The good and the neutral are both not going to necessarily shorten your life, but the bad one is might have a high chance of making sure you will never encounter a good, neutral or bad situation again. Even though mammoths are gone, and water is plenty,analogs in relation to experiences that are bad tend to stick with us more than the other two. As an example in relation to the automotive world, think about just the good and the bad situation. When was the last time someone said to you ‘X makes a really good strong car’? Think of the last time someone said to you ‘I had an X and it was always in the shop, it never worked right from when I picked it up’. Which one do you think you would be more likely to remember?
‘No one would talk much in society, if he knew how much others misunderstood him’, Von Goethe
•How can I help you?: From the beginning, that very first phone call, let the customer talk about what they want, whether it be a basic service or a brake check or a registration inspection. Listen to understand, not to respond, if you get the information wrong here then it could be tenfold worse by the end of the job. Most importantly, don’t try to diagnose over the phone. By diagnosing over the phone, you are giving a prospective customer a chance to ring around for pricing at other workshops. The exception to this would be if the vehicle has a serious problem that would require it to be towed, like expelling fluids or unusual engine noises.