Are you missing a big opportunity to wow your customers? Every point of contact in a customer interaction is important. It is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship and impress your customers.
It is a valuable exercise to review all your points of contact from your credit application to your after-hours message to your invoice. Are these points of contact designed with the customer in mind or designed to make it easier for your operations?
One area that can have a significant impact on customer loyalty and help develop relationships is your transport or delivery team. As most of your equipment is likely rented over the phone, often these are the only employees from your company that your customer meets in person.
These interactions at the job site are usually pretty brief, but they can make an important impression on the customer. Let's consider the first impression:
- What is your driver's greeting? In their greeting, do they introduce themselves and your company? Do they shake the customer's hand? A polished and confident greeting can help the interaction get off to a good start.
- How about the driver's appearance? Is their uniform clean and does the uniform comply with your company's standards? For example I have seen some hats that are not only dirty, but inappropriate. Drivers need to understand the important role they play in representing your company.
- Along with the driver's appearance, how about the appearance of their truck? While it does not have to be immaculate, it should be clean. Again, it is a reflection of the driver and of your company.
These are three simple components of a great first impression that your customers will notice and your employees (and their manager) need to maintain. These standards are easy to implement and important to execute. Impress upon your employees how they can contribute to their own personal success, as well as the success of their company.
In some instances, the first impression will begin before the driver shows up. This would especially be the case when the driver is running late. The driver needs to call the customer and notify him/her that they will be late prior to the appointment time. They need to apologize and provide a realistic arrival estimate that allows them to meet or exceed the customer's expectations. I am sure the driver understands how important the equipment they are delivering is to the customer and letting them know the driver's status is a common courtesy and reminds them that the company is considering their needs at every turn.
Some employees may feel that calling the customer will only bring attention to the fact they are running late. If the customer is waiting for the equipment, they know it is late and the phone call from the driver will assure them it is coming. They may be upset, but they will appreciate the call and the apology. If the customer is not on waiting on the equipment, that will put your driver at ease. In either situation, calling is the right thing to do.
Once the driver has reached the jobsite and delivered the great first impression, there are several things they can do to continue to enhance the customer experience. Examples of this would be locating the proper person at the site and making sure the customer is comfortable operating the equipment.
How often have you faced the situation where the equipment has been delivered and the customer calls inquiring as to where the equipment is! Most likely the driver dropped the equipment, got a signature and left. Locating the proper person eliminates the follow-up call and a potentially embarrassing situation.
Checking to make certain the customer is comfortable in operating the equipment will also enhance the customer experience. It could eliminate a phone call from the customer related to the operation or even worse, a follow up visit by one of your mechanics. With your driver being proactive you will eliminate potentially unnecessary labor time and money for your company and your customers. Not only that, it is another opportunity for your drivers to enhance the relationship with the customer and ensure trust which is vital to a lasting relationship.
Once the equipment has been delivered, the final component is a sincere thank you. Leave with a positive last impression. At a minimum, the driver should:
- See if the customer has any questions
- Instruct them what to do or who to call if they have questions
- Thank them for their business
This is a great opportunity to leave on a positive note and assure the customer they have the right rental partner. You are in a competitive business and the service provided by your delivery person can provide you an important competitive advantage.
As a training company, we have seen more customers ask us to work with their field service and delivery staff on customer service skills. Leadership recognizes that whenever a representative of their company is in front of their customers, it is important that it is a positive experience for everyone and properly reflects the brand and the company values.
So much of a driver or mechanic's training is operational and technical. Customer service training helps send the right message that taking care of the customer and helping retain their business through caring and professional service is a critical part of their job.
Don't miss out on this great opportunity to define and build your customer service culture and clarify the important role your drivers play in the success of the company, not to mention their own personal success. This will result in a great customer experience and more repeat business.