Everyone must always remember that without customers we don’t have any business and it takes the customer to get us where we are going. Service industry in particular is very much dependent on customers. Essentially we need to take care of the customers and they will make our business grows exponentially. It is them that brought where we came from with their money and time. Without them we have no one to serve.
To my colleagues in the Sales, Spare Parts, Service and After Sales Division, I would like to remind them and myself that our business is about serving people, whether internal customers like me in the Sales department or our external customers like Tun Seri Akmal or Pos Malaysia. You have got to do it with your heart. If you do it half heartedly or don’t like your job of serving people maybe you should get out of the business or the industry. Mahatma Gandhi once said “Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory”.
To serve people, they should know that you are serving them. Let your customers know you value their business by reaching out to them. There are so many ways of doing it. Traditionally, send a thank-you note after a major purchase. Make it a standard practise. Send individual letters, or e-mails on his birthday or to deliver news about products and special promotions. Give them a courtesy call to say hello or to get feedback, or to discuss additional requests. Let them know that you can solve their problems and meet their needs. Be like a hero every day doing a good deed to your customer. Customer is the boss. If you give them the best you have, they will give you back the best they have.
Similarly if you are in the production and PDI department, you must prepare vehicles to your customer’s specifications. The simplest guide is to prepare vehicles to your own utmost satisfaction. If you can honestly satisfy yourself , you are 99% on track towards satisfying your customer. Doubtful 1% may arise due to negligence or human error. Make sure you have all necessary documents like handover PDI form duly inspected by your QC team before Sales buyoff. Never produce the form and make your customer to check the vehicle for you. Your customer is your boss. He receives vehicles or goods to verify that he is getting it in full compliance.
Let us have some basic principles done correctly first. Train your front liners who face customers regularly every day. Reinforce in their mind and heart that customers come first. The simplest thing to start with is politely and courteously greeting people walking into the showroom or on the phone. This is the first step towards customer service. Practice makes perfect. Mohandas Gandhi said “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching”.
Always react or respond to your customer’s inquiries or complaints within the same day, provided you have all the relevant information with you. Set your goal or KPI to resolve all issues on first contact or otherwise if it is not possible, within the same day before close of business. Never leave the customer hanging without leaving a message. While waiting or holding the line accommodate them. Learn how to do this.
No one in the company is indispensible. We do not want to depend solely on the wisdom of experienced people because the wisdom will walk out when the guy quits his job. A company must develop a system where everyone will have ability and access to methods of solving problems or disputes and able to handle customer complaints.
If you have a large customer base, tracking of loyal customers may be done through a proper CRM. Weststar LDV does not have a very large customer base but even that without a proper tracking system or without updating the service record or the history files, the service guys will never know if the customers vehicles are due for servicing. Current practice of waiting for them to come to the service centre is not customer- focused or customer driven as we talked about. Serious effort is needed to improve the existing system.
After sales services is too clouded with internal issues Though they are handling it well, they still can spare some time for customers but little time. The whole After Sales organisation must be revamped with proper job functions. The team must be able to organise and plan for service improvement. The back end seriously needs to be beefed up with better facilities. Emulate the concept of a ‘unified one team’ as mentioned earlier. Customers are hungry for good services. They can’t wait any longer. Give them a quality experience and complete satisfaction, and they’ll keep coming back for more. The following quote could inspire us to continually strive to providing excellent after sales and customer service.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”Mahatma Gandhi