As you know, it's always easy to complain and focus on bad customer service. We have it enough. How many occasions of indifferent customer service have you had?
I wanted to write about a place that we get exceptional customer service, but how could I write an article saying 'I love Winger Hyundai'?
It would seem like a sponsored promotion. So I asked if I could speak with a manager. I ended up having a nice 45 minute chat with Grant Vincent who turned out to be one of the two principals of Winger. Considering they have nine branches (seven auto sales /service; 2 service/parts), I was quite surprised he took the time to see me.
First, why would I even say I love Winger? Prices? No. It's simply that they provide such an outstanding customer experience. Everything is 'yes Mrs. Mayo-Smith. No problem Mrs Mayo-Smith. It's not driving right? Bring it back and we'll take care of it for you Mrs Mayo-Smith'. They are honourable. Attentive. The cars come back cleaned.
That must be why we bought four (second hand) cars from them and keep bringing them back for servicing (rather than going to a garage for a tune-up). If I, a notorious frugal individual (just ask the kids) am willing to pay extra for that wonderful care, other people must too.
Of course they have a clean showroom, nice bathrooms, newspapers and the ubiquitous coffee machine. An atmosphere that is nice to be in. That's a simple matter any business can do.
But here is what I notice that is different. It's the consistency and pervasiveness.
From the top down - the sales manager, to the receptionist, to the parts department staff, to the mechanic passing in the waiting room, it's their customer is king, (or in women's case queen) attitude. They're all cordial, friendly, happy to help, explain.
We've been their customer for over two years now. Every single experience has been the same.
What did Grant have to say? 'You can go to 23 different places to buy a car, shop online and find the right model and price that you want'. Two years ago when shopping for a car, an individual visited an average of five dealerships two years ago. The average is 1.2 visits now.' This is why one of his top business goals is customer satisfaction, which will help them achieve growth. 'Customer service is the only point of difference we have'.
What are the ingredients in his recipe for success?
Hands on leadership
Grant feels the leader makes the difference in an organisation. They have to have the drive and energy. Leadership is vital. Has to be visible, doing everything also himself - pitching in. This is leading by example. Team have ability to cross over and help. Secret door chime means help.
Systems and processes
Documented ways of doing things which are reinforced in action. For example in relation to customer service requirements are. Smiling. Alert. Instant attention. Phone doesn't ring more than once or twice. During business hours staff have 30 minutes to respond to email enquiry. After 30 minutes an alert goes to their manager if that enquiry isn't answered. After 60 minutes and alert goes to Grant.
Doing our best for staff. Train and motivate
'Hyundai is one of the most strategic and disciplined brands globally. For example people and product knowledge training days are mandatory. Our standards start here'. 'We ask 90 per cent from all staff, and offer recognition and rewards. They are rewarded monetarily based on sales results, but it's not just that. We have and look through customer surveys. We give monthly prizes on who gets the best results, and it's not just a monetarily focused.'
'We have an internal HR systems which documented in great depth every aspect of each role. Everything is defined. Goals. Ideal actions. Time allocated to each. It puts everything in black and white. We try to ensure communication is both ways between managers and teams. Feedback generates systems and this way we can document best practice as time evolves. This is done through monthly meetings to see if role description is still apt, and to tweak as needed.
Aside from the awards they've won like sales, dealer of the year, marketing dealer (four times) their clients notice. After all the customer satisfaction I have with them was enough to lead me to write this column!