And How Being a AAA AAR Has Contributed to its Stability and Growth.
David Goldsmith feels fortunate to have a great shop and team at Urban Classics of Brooklyn, NY – everyone there knows its success is due to their customers. Keeping existing customers happy and satisfied with the service they receive at Urban Classics is a core principle of the business. And knowing how to cultivate a new customer base is also key to the growth of the shop.
David’s shop has 11 bays, 20 employees and even through the past year of business turbulence, especially with New York City being an epicenter of the pandemic, it posted over $3MM in revenue. Urban Classics knows it’s all due to his customers. See what he says about how he does it…
David, what do you feel are your Top 3 actions your shop takes aimed at great customer service for existing customers?
#1 Quality control is most important. Our system requires that EVERY car that is serviced with us gets a 2nd Q.C. after the tech who did the job signs off on it. We are a very busy shop and fortunately with a 2nd Q.C. we catch mistakes before the vehicles are delivered to the customer.
#2 would be the fact that we have an employee dedicated to calling every customer for a post service follow up phone call. Our guy Ron gets a copy of every invoice posted every week and he calls each and every customer to thank them for their business and to make sure they are happy with our service. Every posted invoice generates an automatic e-mail and customer satisfaction survey via Sure Critic but our customers really like getting the phone call from Ron. And if there is a problem, he makes sure it gets handled.
#3 Our Service Writers take the time to review the vehicle history of a car in advance of a customer’s visit and spend time with the customers to help them make informed decisions about the maintenance and repair of their vehicles. They feel empowered with knowledge to make the best decisions.
And what do you feel are your Top 3 actions the shop does aimed at getting new customers in the door?
#1 Quality of repairs as well as the integrity of our work; standing by our repairs with warranties when necessary.
#2 With the above when combined with a standard operating procedure via our CRM system to automatically survey customers with Customer Satisfaction Surveys that post to the internet. We have MANY, MANY, MANY extremely positive reviews which surely brings business our way.
#3 Word of mouth………….
Over the past year, have you added new initiatives to keep existing customers coming back to the shop? Also, any new actions over the year on how you bring new customers into the shop for the first time?
We have expanded use of a service offered by My Shop Manager to send texts automatically every 2 months to customers who have not been back for service for their scheduled maintenance. We used to send these every quarter. The texts are customized and are very low key……’just checking in’….’how’s the car?’…and if we haven’t seen someone in as long as a year it asks if we’ve caused an upset?
In terms of any new actions over the year to bring customers into the shop for the first time…To be honest Covid has caused a natural explosion in demand for auto repair in the NYC area. So, if you’re a good shop, doing the right thing by customers and are visible on the internet and via word of mouth in the community it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with work.
“We are a AAA Approved Auto Repair Shop and we have worked to solidify our work with AAA Northeast. This relationship has brought in a lot of new customers this year.”
What have you tried that hasn’t worked and what did you learn from it?
At times, especially during the darkest times of COVID in NYC, we were indeed hungry for work. We took in almost every car and tried to do jobs we knew we shouldn’t get involved with. They cost us BIG TIME at a time when we could least afford to lose. We learned to stay selective with the kind of work we took in and the type of clientele. If the job seems like mission impossible it probably IS mission impossible. If the customer seems like a high maintenance time waster they probably will waste a lot of your precious time…In a friendly way…send them on their way.
Do you involve all employees in great customer service or just your front desk?
EVERY employee understands his or her responsibility to take care of our customers like they are family. We always discuss at our weekly shop meetings in the front office as well as with the production crew the fact that we are the busiest shop with the most work BECAUSE we collectively go the extra mile for our customers. Exceeding the customer’s expectations is what it’s all about. I am very proud of the fact that I get phone calls from customers who told me how impressed they are with the friendly & helpful manner of a Valet guy or a Porter as well as from our Sales Staff or Receptionist. Our customers know we all really care about them!
What would your advice be for shops and how customer service should be managed and prioritized?
Excellent customer service should be the mantra of every shop. Almost every action in the shop should be judged by how well it furthers the shop’s ability to provide service in abundance to customers. This can only serve to increase business growth and long term viability.
Thanks so much David and job well done at Urban Classics!