Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Create a First-Class Customer Experience

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”Warren Buffet

“Paying extra to fly first-class is a waste of money!” This is what I said back in 2008 as I boarded my flight headed to St. Louis. My seat was in row 4, and the first-class section was rows 1-3. We were all going to the same destination, and the state of the economy was at an all-time low.

Why would someone spend more money just to sit in the front of the plane? Suddenly, the flight attendant tapped me on the shoulder, letting me know that I had been upgraded to first class. I was about to find out! I noticed the seats were larger and had more leg room. We received a hot entrée menu with salmon, baked chicken, and lasagna options. I looked back and observed the economy passengers being served a bag of peanuts and a cold sandwich.

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After the flight attendant announced the additional movie charges over the intercom, she told me about the free movies I had access to on my own screen. Then it hit me! Those who fly first class are willing to pay extra because they know they are getting an upgrade in their experience.

Don’t Irritate Your Customers

What if you flew in the economy section, but after your flight, the airline charged you an extra $500 for a first-class ticket? Spending the additional money would bother you, but you’d be more upset about paying a first-class price for an economy experience!

Raising your prices without upgrading the service levels will irritate your customer base. Keep reading, and you will learn two key ways to upgrade your shop to first-class status.

Ask Your Employees

At your next team meeting, ask your employees what makes the experience at your shop exceptional. You may hear the following response, ” We fix the cars right the first time.” If so, they are confusing the exceptional with the expected!

According to a service management group survey, the customer who leaves your shop feeling “wowed” is twice as likely to come back and three times as likely to refer to your shop as one who only had their basic expectations met.

Customers are not impressed by the level of service they expect to receive. Asking the question to your team gives you the chance to educate them on what it means to be exceptional and to brainstorm future ideas to go beyond what’s expected.

Ask Your Neighbors

Ask someone you know to visit ten businesses in your area posing as a customer. At each business, have your representative ask the counter person, the following question, “Where can I go to get my brakes checked?”

The results will give insight into how your community perceives the experience at your location. If everyone mentions you, it’s a good sign because people remember exceptional experiences. If an establishment mentions your competitor, have your representative ask about your shop and gauge the reaction.

Your Prices Aren’t the Issue

If the price were the real issue, the first three rows on every flight would be empty! If you ask your employees and neighboring businesses, you will start creating first-class experiences and stop irritating your customer base.

Non-ATI Members: At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.