I was re-reading an article in Automotive News written by Diana T. Kurylko about how luxury brands are stepping up their customer service with new perks and staff training.
What was interesting is that finally some brands were looking to emulate the same high-touch customer service philosophy as other industries. Businesses are recognizing that the experience of how you interact with the customer is now even more important than ever before.
Peter Miles, vice president of operations for BMW of North America said, “With any premium product, the experience the consumer has, whether they are learning about it or testing it, has to match the product.”
Many of you who follow my articles or have heard me speak over the last two years have heard this message over and over. I worked for over 15 years in the hospitality industry and I preached to automotive dealers that price is not the only thing people were basing decisions on.
If experience was not important and price ruled the day, then why is there a line at Starbucks? Why do we spend countless dollars on Apple products if we did not want to be associated with a brand that delivered excellence in customer service and experience? I am sure all of you can list multiple other brands associated with high-end customer service.
I could not agree more with Mr. Miles and I applaud these top luxury brands for excelling but my challenge is to all brands. Does this mean if your product is not considered “luxury” that you cannot or should not deliver and excellent experience to your customers? I say no.
Every brand should be finding ways to differentiate themselves in their market place. When I speak to automotive dealers I am telling them to look at other industries for examples of how to deliver great customer service. Too often they look only at their competitors for ideas and that becomes very insular.
Take this quick test.
Think of a time when you had great service or a great experience. Maybe a meal at a restaurant, a vacation at a hotel, a website you visited. List the things they DID that caused you to have this reaction. Look them over and see if there is anything you can implement at your place of business.
For example: Maybe they remembered when you last visited them when you checked in, or remembered a preference you had for seating. Could your employees find a way to remember a preference that your customer expressed in previous visits? How do you think they would feel if you reminded them of it before they did?
At the same time, think of a time when you had a bad experience. What did they DO to cause this reaction? Maybe the website loaded slowly or when you clicked on an ad it took you to the wrong page and you became frustrated. How can you make sure this does not happen to your customers? When was the last time you visited your website and went through it as a customer would?
Customer service is trickle down. What I mean is top brands giving excellent service trickles down to all brands and your customers are expecting excellence for their hard earned dollars.
I applaud those luxury car brands but let’s make sure all brands are focused on the same thing.