Managing Your Service Department: What Does Your Vehicle Say To Your Customer?

Perception is often reality, at least in the eye of your customer. Two things instantly tell the customer how skilled the technician is. The first is appearance. Arriving in a clean uniform, with no visible body art, is a huge plus. The second thing is how neat the work area is when the tech finishes the job. Those two things significantly impact your customer’s perception of value. If the area is at least as clean as it was when the tech arrived, it instantly tells the customer, “If the tech was that neat and respectful of my home, he or she MUST do great quality work!”

Now are the techs appearance and a clean work area really a measure of their technical ability? Of course not. However, perception is often reality in the eye of the customer.

Guess what else makes an instant impression? The external appearance of your vehicle screams about the quality of work a company offers. Again, is that fair? The answer is a resounding no. But it DOES make a lasting impression on the customer.

My wife and I were taking our normal early morning walk down the main street of our town when this rumbling sound reached our ears. When we turned to look, we noticed the sound was followed by a cloud of smoke. It wasn’t long before the vehicle pulled up next to us. It was old, the paint was fading, and it had numerous dents from fender to fender. The sign on the driver’s door, or at least the part that could still be read, proudly displayed the name of the contracting company along with its phone number. Without my saying a word my wife turned to me and said, “I would never use that company. If they can’t take care of their vehicles, I seriously doubt they do quality work.” Wow, talk about a classic example of a poor first impression.


By the way, the reverse is also true. Take a look at the vehicle pictured with this article. What instantly comes to your mind when you glance at the van? “Great looking van, so the company MUST do quality work, right?” Well guess what, they do! Niteliters originally installed our landscape lighting years ago. Being a progressive (and wise) company, they soon offered quarterly maintenance agreements. We signed up, and each quarter they clear away the trash, adjust the lights, change the timer when Daylight Savings time starts and ends, and they replace burned out bulbs. Talk about hassle free; we love it.

So let’s go back to our original point. Perception “is” reality, at least in the eye of the customer. Ask yourself this question: What are my vehicles saying to my current, and perhaps more importantly, future customers? Guess what, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

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