My husband is a huge football fan. So needless to say yesterday’s “Big Game” was an important part of our weekend. I’m learning to love the game, but honestly, my favorite part of the super bowl is the ads. Yes, the entrepreneur in me watches the ads and thinks, what can I learn from this ad and apply to my business.
CarMax’s Gas Station commercial is priceless. They play off on the 1950’s gas station attendant and superior customer service from back in the day. Not only does this commercial make me laugh (I’m being car jacked! I’m being car jacked!), but it also makes me think about how horrible customer service is these days. 5 customer service tips come to mind when I watch this commercial. Think about them, could they be the key to improving your company’s customer service?
- Quick to Serve – How many times have you walked into an office, up to the counter, or pulled into the drive through and not been helped right away. The worst is when the employee looks at you and then goes back to what they are doing without acknowledging your presence. After a few minutes, they finally look up and are ready to assist you. Horrible service. The first lesson in this advertisement is to offer quick service. As soon as the car pulls into the gas station, the attendants run out and are ready and willing to help the customer. Being quick to serve your customers should be a top priority for any company.
- Service with a Smile – This is a favorite. Anytime you speak with clients, customers, vendors, etc. you should always do it with a smile on your face. It is always so depressing to be served by unhappy employees. Your customers can tell who enjoys their jobs, who has respect for their managers, and which employees care about your business. It shows in your employee’s actions, facial expressions, and attitude. Service with a smile can make the difference of your customers coming back or giving their business to your competitor down the street who offers friendly service. You don’t have to be as cheesy as the eager to help gas station attendants, but service with a smile is really nice, is appreciated by customers, and is noticed by customers!
- Anticipate You Customer’s Needs – Most businesses track their customer’s ordering habits, how they click around on your website, and their customer’s likes and dislikes. This is a great tool and allows you to offer customized service to your clients. Which in return, makes your customers feel special and they want to come back again. However, there’s a fine line between this type of service being helpful and personalized vs. becoming scary and frightening to the customer. With the commercial in mind, the gas station attendants should ask the driver 1. When was the list time you had your car serviced? Would you like us to check your oil levels? 2. What a snowy week we’ve had. The snow always makes a mess on the windows. May I wash your windows for you? The gas station attendant is anticipating the customer’s needs, but without being creepy about it. You don’t want your customer screaming “I’m being car jacked! I’m being car jacked!”
- Make Every Client Feel Important – No, I’m not a celebrity nor am I rich. However, I still enjoy receiving the red carpet treatment. Who doesn’t? It makes us feel important, like our service is valued, and and that the company cares about our business and would like us to return. Go ahead, let your top 4 attendants race out to help your customers with quick, efficient, friendly, and attentive service. This red carpet treatment does not cost that much more and it will ensure that I become a repeat customer! If your company does pay a bit more for that red carpet treatment for all customers, I guarantee it’s cheaper then trying to attract new customers. Think about it – not only will I return and give you more business in the future, but if I receive red carpet treatment you better believe I will be telling my friends about it on Facebook, Twitter, blogging about it, at book club, and everywhere else I go! Please, make every client feel important, even the little ones!
- Provide Quick and Top Quality Service – I love how efficient the gas station attendants are! Not only do they run out to the car, but then wipe windows, polish the chrome, and check the oil quickly and in an orderly fashion. Today, everyone is in a hurry and needs to get to their next destination 5 minutes ago. These gas station attendants get that. They have 2 minutes to complete their tasks before your car is full of gas. They get right to work and work efficiently. Keep in mind the other piece, they do not skimp on the details nor do they offer sloppy rushed service. Sometimes finding the balance is tricky, but it’s a good balance to find. Train your employees how to offer quick and efficient service while still focusing on the details. This top quality service is sure to pay off.
Focusing on customer service is an easy and inexpensive way to create value for your customers. Look at what your business is currently doing and compare that to some of your favorite places to shop, dine, etc. What can you learn from your competition, from the restaurant down the street, or from this commercial? There are many small things that can be changed or tweaked that will have a huge impact on the way your customers are treated and in return view your company. Go ahead, focus on your customers. You won’t regret it!
Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.