How to stand out in a constantly changing market
BY EMILY KLINE
COVID-19 HAS BROUGHT ABOUT LONG-TERM IMPACTS ON THE AUTOMOTIVE industry and the world. Not only has it brought about an excessive amount of hand sanitizer availability and an increase in streaming services. It has also changed the way that people interact with one another. This consequently affected the way that businesses interact with customers.
David Avrin, Chairman of The Legacy Board and keynote speaker at the VISION Hi-Tech Training & Expo event in Overland Park, Kansas on March 4th, 2022, believes that “COVID has accelerated what's long been predicted about how we're going to do business. And [that] we're dealing with a new generation of customers who are used to getting answers 24/7.” Avrin believes that in order to stay ahead of the curve businesses should prioritize what the customers prioritize: “speed, flexibility, accommodation, and convenience." The best way to do this? Through technology.
“When you look at what customers prioritize today, we may believe that it's quality and commitment and caring and trust in people but the research shows very clearly, that today's customer prioritizes, speed, speed of response, speed of information, speed of how fast can you get somebody in and get them out.”
By making information available to customers 24/7 online, or through an app, shop owners can eliminate excess time spent on customer interactions and spend more time in the shop.
FLEXIBILITY AND ACCOMMODATION
“Flexibility, which also goes in line with accommodation, which is recognizing when there's special circumstances that need to be accommodated.”
To stand out from the competition, repair facilities should be able to grow and change with society. As technology continues to advance and change, repair facilities need to be open to newer methods of customer service such as online scheduling, payment through messaging, and text updates.
“Today for the first time in history, people prioritize convenience over quality. To the contrary, quality is incredibly important. But when we assume quality, then whoever is the most convenient, oftentimes wins.”
As changes in technology occur many people look for shortcuts in the way that they go about their daily lives. Many people are more likely to schedule an appointment with a repair shop that has online scheduling over one that requires a phone call. Not only that, but people prefer to get updates on their phone without the inconvenience of talking with someone else. People don’t want interaction, they want functionality.
Although shop owners should apply speed, flexibility, accommodation, and convenience in the way they service customers through technology, they should also be wary of the way that they use said technology.
According to David Avrin, “Technology can be used for good and for evil. It's used for evil when it's used to take work off the plate of the business and transfer it to the customer. [For example:] when you have to scan your own groceries, when you have to tag your own bag at the airport. That's just them saving work and turning it over to the customer.”
When using technology, many companies forget that the technology was created for the customer, it is not for the workers to take advantage of. If a repair shop owner wants to use technology in a way that appeals to their customers and makes their interaction with the shop more enjoyable they should make sure that the technology still enables its workers to serve the customer.
According to Avrin, “the best way to use technology is to create visibility into the process for the customer. And also make scheduling and communicating easy.”
Avrin also warns shop owners that, “Technology is good when it is an option and not the only option.”
For example, a chatbot or contact form on a shop's website should not be the only option for communication. There should also be a secondary option that allows the customer to have direct access to an actual person. By providing a secondary option, shops can kill two birds with one stone. Not only do they appease customers with speed and convenience through the employment of technology, but they also service the customer through the availability of a direct-line to their employees.
More than ever, customers have everything they could ever want right at their fingertips and because of this the way that companies go about servicing has to change. Post-Covid, customers don’t want promises advertised to them that say they’ll be taken care of, that they’ll come first. They want companies that provide speed, flexibility, accommodation, and convenience; and if they’re not satisfied with a service they will move their business elsewhere. In order to stay competitive and stick out to customers, repair shop owners need to prioritize the needs of their customers and the right way to do that is through the employment of technology in customer service.
One of the most in-demand Customer Experience speakers and consultants in the world today, David Avrin, CSP, Global Speaking Fellow, has shared his content-rich, entertaining and actionable presentations with enthusiastic audiences across North America and in 24 countries around the world. David helps organizations better understand and connect with their changing customers and clients to help future-proof their businesses.
David's insights have been featured on thousands of media outlets around the world. He is also the author of five books including the acclaimed: It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You!, Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back), and his newest book: The Morning Huddle — Powerful Customer Experience Conversations to Wake You Up, Shake You Up, and Win More Business.