(Please welcome our friend Aurora Meyer to the Ramada Inn stage with a great Shareworthy Service story! A 2005 graduate of the University of Missouri’s Journalism School, Aurora spent several years covering education-related issues in Missouri, Texas and Washington, D.C., before returning to Columbia, Mo. She serves as the Online Community Coordinator for the Missouri State Teachers Association and runs a successful communications and consulting business.)
Buying a car often sits near the top of the dreaded tasks list for most Americans. I felt the exact same way, despite buying three cars in the past.
Car dealerships and specifically salespeople are typically rated very poorly on follow-ups once they’ve completed the initial sale. But as DFW Car Dealer Carl Sewell writes in his book Customers For Life, one customer is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The first chapter of Carl’s book outlines the Ten Commandments of Customer service:
- Bring ‘em back alive: Ask customers what they want and give it to them again and again.
- Systems not smiles: Saying please and thank you doesn’t ensure you’ll do the job right first time, every time. Only systems guarantee you that.
- Underpromise, overdeliver: Customers expect you to keep your word. Exceed it.
- When the customer asks the answer is always “yes.” Period.
- Fire your inspectors and consumer relations’ department: Every employee who deals with clients must have the authority to handle complaints.
- No complaints? Something’s wrong: Encourage your customers to tell you what you’re doing wrong.
- Measure everything: Baseball teams do it. Football teams do it. Basketball teams do it. You should too.
- Salaries are unfair: Pay people like partners.
- Your mother was right: Show people respect. Be polite. It works.
- Japanese them: Learn how the best really do it; make their systems your own. Then improve them.
Additionally, he writes if you treat your customers right, they’ll want to come back.
“Instead of buying one car from us, and then disappearing forever, the customer returns whenever he needs a new one,” Sewell writes. “Over the course of his lifetime he’ll end up spending a lot of money with us –$517,000 to be exact.”
Cameron Tigg at Joe Machens Toyota in Columbia very much understands this concept.
It was random luck that he was the person who helped my husband and I the first time and then because he went above and beyond, we specifically sought him out to buy a second car from him.
Cameron treated us like adults and didn’t pull any of the usual car dealer baloney. He was upfront and honest and we actually enjoyed the car buying experience, which was a nice surprise. We expected our seller/purchaser relationship to end there, but Cameron is still full of surprises more than two years later.
In addition to timely phone calls to make sure our cars are still performing and meeting our expectations, Cameron sends my husband and me personalized birthday cards ever year.
Then on Valentine’s Day, he sent two chocolate covered strawberries, just to say thank you.
Because of Cameron’s continued above and beyond service, I’ve recommended him to friends who are looking to buy a car.
What is probably less than 30 minutes of his time and less than $100 has made us his customers for life.