How To Make Your Customers Feel Valued
As I go through my days, I seek out to find examples of good Lean principles. Sometimes the examples jump out at me, sometimes they are a little bit harder to recognize. One that has stuck out to me recently is learning how to make your customers feel valued.
My birthday is coming up in February, and in order to renew my tag in Georgia, I needed to get an emissions test on my car. I set out to understand what an emissions test actually is. Here is how it went…
Well Oiled Like A McDonald’s Drive-Through
I went to a location where I knew had drive up services. Much like the drive through at a McDonald’s you drive up to the location where the actual work is performed. When I pulled up, there was a young man walking towards the Emissions station control panel, I assume because he saw me pulling in that direction.
I rolled down my window and he asked if I were there for an emissions test. I told him that I was, and asked how long it would take. He told me that if everything is ok, he should be done in 15 minutes or so. He then asked me to leave the key in the truck and told me that I could go into the waiting area for a cup of coffee and to pay for the test. As I was walking into the office, it occurred to me that so far, this was a pretty good process.
Systems And Processes
As I entered the office, another employee immediately started processing my bill by asking my name, address, year, make and model of my vehicle and then told me it would be $20. I slid my debit card through the processor and entered my PIN. He handed me my receipt and told me thanks.
He then directed me to the coffee and bathroom and told me they would be done in a few minutes. I didn’t have any coffee, but I did fix a cup of water. I then sat down and started reading a book that I had brought along. I got to the fifth page when the first young man walked into the waiting room and told me my car was done. I asked if he noticed anything I should worry about. He told me my truck looked to be in perfect working order.
I was back in my truck in 16 minutes exactly and on my way to my next stop. As I was pulling away, I thought about what a great experience I had dealing with this establishment. They were fast, courteous and did exactly what they told me they would do. The office was clean, the process was organized and flowed about as well as one could hope for.
I am sure that there are times when it may not go as smoothly. Perhaps there are other cars in line, maybe the technician is tied up elsewhere, amongst other reasons.
One Shot To Make A Great First Impression
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. While I was there, I noticed they performed other services. I also noticed that there were other repair bays in an adjacent building and that the parking lot was clean and uncluttered. The work space inside the bays that I could see appeared to be clean and organized.
The personnel were professional and courteous and they were aware and concerned about my time in this process. My first impression of this establishment was excellent. My wife will need an emission test on her car next month. Any guess where I will be taking her car?
Can you put yourself in your customer’s shoes? Can you walk through your product using your customer’s eyes? What would you see, and how would you rate yourself? If it is less than 10, then you have some work to do. Make it easy to do business with you and customers will line up for your service.