International Door & Operator Industry

SEP-OCT 2012

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 34 of 132

SALES&MARKETING by John Zoller & David Bowen, Zoller Consulting, Inc. The Need for Better Customer Service On a recent trip I experienced even worse than usual customer service from an airport in Maine. The departure board displayed the wrong gate for the fl ight. Fortunately, the airline personnel at the check-in counter were warning passengers of the mix up as best they could, but they were many confused customers scrambling to make sure they were at the right gate. To complicate matters more, the signage typically displayed showing the next fl ight to leave was blank further confusing customers. The fl ight was scheduled for a 12:50 p.m. departure, but by 1:10 p.m. it was obvious the fl ight was delayed, but there was no airline personnel at the gate desk to acknowledge or explain the delay and no announcements were made informing the passengers of the delay or when the fl ight would board for takeoff. As a seasoned traveler I found it nec- essary to complain. When a young lady appeared from the jet way to manage the boarding process I told her that the airport's failure to communicate was ter- rible customer service. She murmured that they had cut staff and she was sorry for the confusion. As I refl ected on my frustration, I won- dered how often garage door customers leave a dealership disappointed with cus- tomer service, maybe even as frustrated as I was with the airport that day. Like airports and airlines, dealers have signifi - cantly reduced staff as sales volumes have dropped during this prolonged slowdown of construction activity. Worse yet, some 32 International Door & Operator Industryâ„¢ dealerships have terminated customer service savvy employees with less tenure in favor of employees with longevity or special relationships with owners or man- agers. In short some dealers are guilty of trimming talent in order to retain long time employees or relatives that in turn might adversely affect customer service. Given that the opportunity today is pri- marily in the residential and commercial replacement or retrofi t market, excellent customer service is more critical today than at any time. In this market, unlike the halcyon days six years ago, the dealer must go to the customer and sell him. In the past, when business was plentiful, customers came to the dealer hoping the dealer had the time to take care of the customer. Today dealers advertise online and through traditional media with the goal of drawing customers to their dealership. Money must be spent with search engine fi rms to get position to attract Internet browsers, showrooms must be well designed and attractive, and sales persons have to be trained on how to professionally sell in the customer's home. Great customer service is a must today. The last thing a dealer can afford is to turn off a customer with poor customer service in either the selling phase or the installation phase of the sale. Let's look at several areas that are prone to customer service breakdowns. The style and process of the simple act of answering the phone can be a problem for some dealerships. The main receptionist must obviously be warm, friendly, pleasant, knowledgeable and effi cient, but she or he must also have equally talented backup. The employees charged with being the second or third answering person must also have the same or at least acceptable communication skills as the receptionist in order to make sure the potential customer has a good experience and is happy to have called your dealership. First, there must be a phone answering system, specifi cally one that limits the number of rings to three or less before a person answers the phone. Nothing angers a Continued on page 35 "What good customer service looks like."

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