'The customer is always right.' How many times have you heard that old cliche? While some salespeople swear by it, there’s no question that interacting with customers can sometimes be the most difficult part of working as a mechanic. In rare instances, they can be pushy, demanding, and frankly just outright rude. More often, they’ll frequently just be a bit slow to understand what you’re saying, which sometimes necessitates explaining the same thing several times. That’s enough to test anyone’s patience!
All this is why communication is such a vital skill for mechanics, even those trading in our own online car auctions. A little bit of extra courteousness and attention to detail can go a long way, and could even make all the difference to securing repeat business. So, here are a couple of the most important things to bear in mind!
First impressions are key
When we’re young, we’re all told not to judge a book by its cover. However, this is rarely the case when it comes to judging other people, so it’s important to give off a good first impression when meeting customers for the first time. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Body language - be open, friendly and engaged in what the customer is saying. Smile, try not to cross your arms, and be sure to nod when someone is speaking to show you are actively listening to them
Reply in a prompt manner - whether you’re speaking over email, text, or face-to-face, a timely response goes a long way with people. It gives off an air of professionalism, and people will generally trust you more if you can formulate responses quickly and effectively.
Empathise with your customers - try and understand where they’re coming from (even if they’re being unreasonable), and be patient. Easier said than done, we know! Try to bear in mind that a lot of the time the things that seem obvious to you as a professional might be a little harder to grasp as a layman.
Most of all, ensure that the bulk of the communication you have is about them, their problems and how you can solve them.
Avoid the jargon, and make sure to follow up!
In general, people prefer to talk to a person not a robot, so it’s worth trying to ensure that you use plain language wherever possible, instead of leaning into technical jargon too much. If they’re having difficulty following what you’re saying, they’re more likely to lose their patience, especially if they’re being asked to pay a lot of money for the repairs you’re making. That alone is reason enough to steer clear of technical jargon wherever you can, and be prepared to explain simple concepts several times. It’s all part and parcel of the job!
And of course, whether or not you think they’ll end up being a repeat customer, consider a follow up conversation to make sure everything’s running smoothly.
It doesn’t have to be anything big! You don’t have to send them a handwritten letter that’s sealed in wax with your family crest on it; a quick call, text or email to make sure they’re satisfied with your service will do! It doesn’t seem like much but your customer will appreciate the effort.
So, that’s the basics of customer relations pretty much covered. You could also hone your customer service skills when buying or selling cars in our online car auctions right here at RAW2K. We supply a huge variety of cars, vans, motorcycles and scooters, so whether you’re a full time professional mechanic, or just a hobbyist, why not take a look around, and see what you can find?