When was the last time you experienced truly exceptional customer service? I pondered this question when I recently pursued the somewhat aggravating task of purchasing a new car. As much as I anxiously anticipated the thrill of “new car smell,” I recognized that the sales process might be far from enjoyable. Based on past experience, it was evident that choosing the right dealership(s) was key to elevating my overall customer satisfaction.
As I found myself returning to the group of car dealerships that had exceeded my expectations for the past 15 years, I reflected on what this organization does that exhibits the optimum service model. I came back to five points:
- Consistent processes, values and branding: The dealerships under the same umbrella, regardless of the actual “brand” of car I’m considering purchasing, maintain an ongoing relationship with me. They have established records of my buying history.
- Anticipation of the customer’s needs: The dealers keep me informed of promotions and cars I might want to purchase and/or lease even before I’m actually ready AND are prepared with background of my likes and dislikes when I actually arrive at the lot.
- White glove service: The dealers show care and attention to every detail of my needs, from purchase through all stages of the relationship. This includes: follow-up calls to see if everything is going well; calls from various team members to help me, even when they’re on vacation; referrals to the right people to help me with specific questions, such as a technology walk-through (not just being told to read the manual); the ability to come into any of the dealerships at any time with any concerns about the car after purchase (regardless of whether there is a service appointment); immediate service as soon as I walk in the door with no lag time; bumping up the time when my car is ready even though I didn’t ask.
- “Servanthood” in action: A true atmosphere of service is shown at every level, regardless of role, and there is accountability. Team members, through their words and actions, set aside self-serving behaviors in favor of serving others — they serve both their colleagues and peers, as well as the customer.
- Honest communication: The team members are transparent in their communications. Nothing is hidden, and it isn’t just for their own benefit, but for mine as well. When I recently bought my new car, I wasn’t “surprised” by anything before, during or after the deal, even when I turned in my previous car.
It occurred to me that these practices are not only lived by Varsity but are integral to the strategies we develop and employ for our clients as well. When consistently implemented, customers are pleased, the team feels good about its accomplishments, and the workplace thrives with a culture of helpfulness. The ultimate reward is that both the people and the organization are better for it in morale, revenue, image, brand and more…and don’t we all need a little dose of BETTER these days? I’m happy I was a recent recipient, with the added bonus of a shiny new car! 😊