Transformational Customer Service

Transformational Customer Service

Would you like to learn how to earn $122K from every one of your customers? Then give me a couple of minutes of your time. The best news is that it won’t cost you a dime.

That’s what I call an AMAZING return on investment (ROI)!

I want to share a new way to think about the interactions with your customers, what I like to call “Transformational Customer Service.”

Most collision repairers view a customer as a “transaction” to be dealt with—a dollar to be made in exchange for some service provided. This is short-term thinking but is what most shops do, unfortunately.

Research and data provided by the late Steve Schoolcraft, founder of Phoenix Solutions Group, indicate that a fully engaged customer had a lifetime value to a shop of $122K on average.

If you knew that a customer walking through the front door of your business right now was worth $122K, would you treat him or her any differently than how you and your staff typically do now? Of course you would. You would think long-term.

Instead of a single transaction, think “transformational.” Ask yourself, “How can I transform this human being into a lifelong raving fan of my body shop? Into a trusted friend.”

It can be frustrating when shops treat people differently when they discover their vehicle has been deemed a total loss. I find that some customer service representatives (CSRs) believe that a particular transaction won’t bring in any money, so they minimize the expense on the transaction and the customer leaves.

I see some shops exploit these situations by piling on what I feel are unreasonable fees to manage the totaled vehicle while ignoring the deep emotional needs of the customer.

This is short-term transactional thinking at its worst, and most of your mediocre competitors are doing it, which is the exact reason you should do the opposite.

A total loss situation is likely one of the most traumatic experiences customers go through. At the same time, it provides an incredible opportunity. Events that occur in highly-charged, emotional situations become deeply imprinted in a person’s memory.

If you can position yourself as the person’s trusted guide through this perilous journey, you will likely earn a level of trust like none other for any future automotive needs.

Sometimes, you might receive a call from a customer wanting to know who you recommend for other automotive services. They might say, “My transmission is acting up. Who should I call?”

After becoming their trusted guide, they will likely tell family and friends about you and your business.

For example, if Uncle Bill scrapes the side of his Buick on the neighbor’s mailbox, your customer will likely go out of their way to confidently tell Uncle Bill that he must go down to Ed’s Body Shop and ask for Sally because Sally will take care of him!

That’s transformational, not transactional.

Don’t assume a 97% Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) score has anything to do with a customer’s willingness to refer your business. Many people are willing to check a survey box saying they are willing to refer family and friends to you, but in reality, they WON’T unless you have earned their trust first.

That’s transformational, not transactional!

For more information about eliminating repair plan errors, consider becoming a member of of Elite Body Shop Solutions’ online body shop management training community. Join Operations Monthly Live (OML), an online management training program and community of high performers. Here you’ll find hours of world-class training, including information about how to set up a successful blueprinting program and creating an accurate repair. With a very affordable OML subscription, you can join me live for an hour each month, where you will learn a new, relevant topic and be able to ask questions while interacting with many of North America’s best collision operators. A new lesson has been added to the Operations Monthly Live library called “Elite Level Customer Service,” where independent repairers can learn how to increase the growth of their businesses with little or no money.

To learn more, subscribe to the Dave Luehr YouTube channel and visit the Elite Body Shop Academy at

About the Author:

Dave shares his experience from over 30 years as a collision repair industry leader in leadership, lean and Theory of Constraints. Once the owner of a body shop himself, Dave draws on the realities of a real world collision repair shop in his consulting, writing and keynote speeches.

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