As I write this, I am sitting in the garage waiting for my car to be serviced. Long gone are the days of finding yourself in a dark, cold, oily waiting room with the Maxpax vending machine and year-old issues of Max Power and Loaded magazines.
Today I find myself in a café area that resembles the executive lounge in many international airports, which you can only enter by flashing a frequent traveller gold card.
'Yes, Mr Eglon, what can I get for you?" asks the assistant. "Please take a seat and I will bring your coffee over to you shortly." While I wait I can log on at my office via the complimentary wireless network and VPN, ensuring that my working day has experienced minimal disruption.
OK, so I am in one of our German cousins’ dealerships, one that traditionally prides itself on the quality of its products and innovation in its field. Not just satisfied with stopping here, they have gone that extra mile to make certain they welcome back your custom, capturing the recurring revenue.
This repeat business is so important, even more so in the economic downturn where car sales are being squeezed tighter each month.
It is all about customer loyalty, ensuring your customers get a service that differentiates you from your competitors. Any service that makes life easier for a client will make you shine out from the crowd.
It is no secret that the UK has come a long way in the past 10 years in raising the standard of service clients now get. Many vertical markets – such as retail, travel and catering – have figured out that improving service instantly affects their bottom line.
It is no different in the IT industry, where the service you provide is essential when ensuring your clients’ technical and business objectives are addressed and their networks suffer minimal down-time.
This can be done a number of ways; by reducing the time an engineer takes to arrive on a customer site or by providing a wider range of service level agreements or supported devices. Competitive pricing helps, of course.
All these elements contribute to the company’s core brand. The whole client engagement with the brand is fundamental; if one element is compromised it can affect the whole experience, giving your customer a a negative overall impression.
Just as I choose the type of garage where I get my car serviced, your customers decide to use your service instead of those of your rivals.
This is where you can gain market share, as great service will attract loyalty to your brand, increasing sales and profits.
Unfortunately, you cannot simply stop there. You cannot afford to rest on your laurels. When expectations are raised it becomes even more challenging to enhance that level of service.
You need to adopt a continuous improvement plan based on your customers’ ever-changing needs, industry trends and competitor offerings.
"Mr Eglon, your car is now ready at the entrance. We also gave it a valet clean for you. Have a safe journey and we hope to see you next time." They definitely will see me next time and will likely get my custom even when I want a new car.
Through great service they have gained my loyalty – at least for now.
Richard Eglon is marketing manager at Comms-care
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