May 31, 2018 at 3:32 pm #65563Tom HamParticipant
Everyone talks about the need to and the methods for “educating the customer”. But no one ever says “why?”. Should we always be working to educate the customer? What if the answer is “no”?
Sometimes it’s wasted effort. Sometimes it can be an irritant. Some of the best customers might be those who don’t want to be educated.
“When my car is broken I’d like to drop it off to you, so you can make it all better. You know the maintenance schedule so just email me ahead, so I can plan to make it available to you. I have no interest in the coefficient of friction or understanding which fluids are hygroscopic or the logic of each maintenance service. My head is full of a long list of other stuff. I know a broken car needs to be fixed and I know machines need maintenance. I get it. Don’t drone on about stuff I frankly never want to learn. That’s why I have you. If I have a question, I’ll ask.”
I recall standing in my kitchen while the furnace guy went on and on and on educating me about furnaces. I wanted to know which one he recommended, how soon he could do it and how much. But I had to first listen for ten minutes to a long list of furnace knowledge stuff that went in one ear and out the other.
Maybe we should just work to be reasonably prepared to educate and then let our customers know we are more than happy to explain anything they want to know. But mandatory lectures from all advisors and forced education for all customers might not be the best way to go.
What do you think?
Tom - Shop Owner since 1978June 2, 2018 at 7:43 pm #75110J. Larry BloodworthParticipant
Every sale involves a story. Period.
Here’s a copy and paste from Seth Godin’s blog:
Putting a value on a story
Walk through the diamond district in Manhattan and in the course of one block, at least a dozen men will stop you and ask if you’re hoping to sell a diamond ring.
A few blocks away, Tiffany will happily sell you a diamond ring.
Buy a $7,000 ring at Tiffany’s and walk over to one of these guys and you’ll be lucky to get $1,000 for your new ring.
That $6,000 is what you paid for the story.
It’s the cost of the box, the lighting, the salespeople, the architecture and most of all, the special feeling.
Do a blind taste test. In one glass, wine from a $10 bottle. In the other, wine from a $200 bottle. The untasted difference between the two is what you paid for the story.
The list goes on and on.
Just about everything we buy comes with a story included.
And yet, most creators, sellers, and marketers don’t invest enough, don’t take enough care, and don’t persist enough in making sure the story is worth what you paid for it.
‘Nuff said.June 5, 2018 at 1:22 pm #75114William Mays, Jr.Participant
It’s all up to the customer. If they want to know, I will tell them as much or as little as they can stand. Some like to be able to recite the details to others at a party or in the office when talking about car repair. Others only want to know how much and when it will be ready.
They get as much or as little as they want. All they have to do is ask!
WillieJune 5, 2018 at 2:06 pm #75115Frank Scandura IIIParticipant
If we don’t educate the customer, they will educate themselves. And in searching for answers they will invite confusion, and then you need to deal with “i Googled it and what I really need is x, not what you told me. Mother Google would never have misleading information, I know –
Frank M Scandura IIIJune 5, 2018 at 2:34 pm #75116Joe MazurParticipant
There are a few customers that want to be educated. However, less and less customers care. As Tom said, they just want somewhere they trust to fix what needs to be fixed, take care of all the service, and call them when it is done. Today’s customer most often only cares about 3 things: 1. How much is it? 2. When will it be done? and 3. How much will i be inconvenienced in the process?
Answer those questions for your customer and 99% of them will be happy. Even if they google stuff, you need to position yourself as the expert that really knows what they need. That’s my 2 cents.June 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm #75117Bob WardParticipant
By educating the customer on what they purchased and why makes their purchase more solid. They can become a great shill for you. Sometimes people talk about repairs they had done. Some people will try to tell them they made a mistake. By educating them they can stand up to their friends based on the information the shop gave them regarding their purchase. They will always feel better about making a purchase knowing more about it.June 6, 2018 at 8:05 am #75118John BurkhauserParticipant
Educating customers is on a customer by customer basis.
As noted, some don’t care and some want the other extreme and want to know everything.
Ultimately educating customers prepares them for what they need to know and do to keep their vehicle running smoothly. Education shows that you have nothing to hide and builds trust. Trust brings them back.June 7, 2018 at 12:20 pm #75125Beetle SlaymanParticipant
Every sale require a story… the story behind it determines how much a customer is willing to pay.June 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm #75126mtnmodsParticipant
The story is critical. Sometimes however, the story isn’t about the parts, its about their family, experiences, vacation, history, people, or interests you have in common. The story connects and builds long-standing relationships. If a customer wants the back story on a part or why you do something some way, you can tell if you’re listening to them at the appointment and the drop. I think as Tom said, more and more people don’t want the part/service education, but want to know you recognize their situation. Our shop motto: It’s about people, cars bring us together. Every car repair or service represents a personal inconvenience or hardship for them. More often than not, the vehicle is a means for them to move forward with their lives. Some just want to get back to everything else they do that their car is simply a vehicle to that end.June 12, 2018 at 4:37 pm #75127Bill WhiteParticipant
It’s a customer by customer basis. Some want to know how something works and why they need a new one, but I’m finding less and less people care to know these days. I cancelled autonet tv and autonet menu board with pictures and videos, because people didn’t care. We were constantly asked to turn off the tv or switch it to regular tv. My service advisor likes to educate people on what they need and why, or if they are here, show them. Some people are interested and some seem irritated.July 4, 2018 at 8:13 pm #75163jay weckerleParticipant
Educating the customer for me has very little to do with the technical aspects of the repair as it does the reality of the process. “And of course we are going to do our vehicle inspection while your car is here in case there are issues you are unaware of” should be heard regularly while making appointments. Then they expect us to tell them the issues we find. Do you have any idea how many people think those of us at the dealership just work for free when it is warranty? The look of surprise is precious when we can’t reproduce their problem and they insist we ‘just don’t want to work for free’ and I tell them, ‘I just did work for free, if I found something to fix, the factory would PAY us to fix it’. That is educating the customer. We need to stop teaching customers how to leverage the CSI survey to extort us and start teaching them how to get good service.
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