Everyone has a bad day now and again—some more regularly than others. But do you let that bad day impact your customers? At lunch, I almost always run out for a little while, even if it’s just 20 minutes, to take a short break and grab some food. It gives my brain a chance to unwind for a little bit. There are some fast food restaurants I frequent more often than others. Why? Because their staff is nicer and their food is more likely to match my expectations.
On a break a few weeks ago, I stopped by a local burger drive-thru for the first time in months. I wanted to take advantage of their chicken nugget deal. When I pulled through the drive thru, I requested that they make the chicken nuggets fresh. Their response caught me off guard. “They are fresh,” I was told. I’m glad they are this time, but last time I ordered nuggets from this restaurant, they were not fresh. If I had not been so hungry, I would not have eaten them. My stomach felt a bit queasy afterward, too. Am I likely to go back again soon after my most recent visit? Probably not.
Have you ever received food from a restaurant that you were sure has been sitting under the hot lamps a while? Where you could tell they just didn’t care what they were serving you, it just felt like they wanted your money and for you to leave? Perhaps the cashier could have instead said, “I’ll make sure they are fresh for you.” Perhaps, it’s just me … but these two statements seem to come across differently. One says I care … the other does not.
My usual lunchtime haunt is Chick-fil-a. Why? Their staff is always friendly and thanks me for my business. When I go there at lunchtime, I know there will be a line. I usually time it so I go early enough to beat the line … or else, their parking lot looks like a bad traffic jam, with people waiting it out for their chicken sandwiches. It is still a fast-food restaurant. Their food is not the healthiest option in the world … but their parking lot is always full. There are headlines about other fast-food companies struggling with revenue, but this headline rarely seems associated with Chick-fil-a. Why? They take the time to care about their customers and their employees. It shows—both in their locations and their profits. At least that’s my take.
When it comes to automotive glass repair and replacement, few customers understand what is involved. I know I did not the first time I had my windshield replaced. I was happy to go with the cheapest company as no one took the time to explain the importance of safety and the role a windshield plays in the structure of a vehicle. If someone had explained why their company might cost a little more and why it’s worth it, I would have been much more likely to choose them over going with the cheapest price. The same holds true today. I’ll spend more when I know the experience and service is reliable.
Maybe you are having a bad day where a part you ordered came in broken and the weather is bad. Are you able to push that to the side when a customer calls? Do you focus on explaining the replacement process and why it is important they choose your company even if a replacement costs a bit more with you? Do you stress to your possible customer the importance of safety and installing the windshield properly? Do you take the time to answer their questions? When your technicians arrive onsite, do they greet the customer with a smile? When the customer pulls up to your shop, does your front staff greet them kindly? Are they approachable if a customer has a question? If you ensure a customer knows you appreciate her business, she is much more likely to return. We all have routines, whether it’s where we go for lunch, which mechanic we use … or where we go for a windshield replacement. If you kill them with kindness, they are more likely to return.