Trust is a key ingredient in the relationship we have with our doctor or dentist. For the owners of European Prestige Auto Service, that is the kind of trust they want their customers to have in them.
While trust brings high expectations, it also breeds increased loyalty and word of mouth as satisfied customers market your business for you, often without being asked and for free.
Building trust with your customer base comes down to three key factors, according to Tony Nigrone and Hazel Commerell, from the MTA WA member business:
- communicating with customers;
- treating customers with respect; and
- having the expertise to deliver what you promise.
Having a trusted relationship with customers also results in them being more understanding when things don’t go to plan, such as delays in sourcing parts.
“Communication is a big factor. When a customer comes here I normally ask ‘ is there any other issues with the car?’ They usually say ‘no I don’t think there is anything’. ‘Would you like me to call you if there is?’ So you have that understanding straight away,” Tony told Motor.
“We normally spend about half an hour checking the different aspects of the car – we communicate with the customer and let them know the list of issues from both and active and preventative maintenance standpoint. This is very important for them to know so that they can budget for the potential costs of the service and repairs.
“People don’t have $1000 sitting in their back pocket doing nothing; they do appreciate that we understand that. If something doesn’t need to be serviced, then we believe in the flexibility in giving our customers the choice and knowledge.”
“We insist on letting our customers know where their money is being spent. A lot of people go to repair centres and lose confidence in that workshop – it’s happened to me. I’ve had my car serviced and without any communication, they’ve gone and completed $2,500 worth of work without solicitation.
“At European Prestige Auto Service, we don’t conduct our business as such; service and repairs won’t proceed without informing the customer and letting them know the amount of work required before proper authorization to carry out services and repairs.
“People spend a considerable amount of money on a good car, and they expect expert advice, knowledge and delivery of our promises. If you can have good communication skills with them, you can build a relationship like you would with family and they will accept you like your own dentist or doctor.
“Communication and accountability really is key when it comes to developing ongoing trust. Hazel Commerell, partner in the business that has premises in East Perth and West Perth, agrees treating customers with respect and courtesy is important.
“We love all sorts of European cars. Whether they are an old classic, or a brand new car. We love them all and appreciate the kind of attention they each deserve,” she said.
“I’ve had customers tell me of their experience elsewhere where they have been told ‘if you can’t afford to maintain a European car you shouldn’t own a European car’. We don’t agree with that. You have to work with your customers ‘ work with their budget and work out the best way to move forward, that’s how we gain the reputation and trust with them.
“Be honest and transparent with them, they have a big repair or small service, show them the parts replaced and give them an understanding as to why something had failed.”
The best marketing
Having a strong reputation with customers also turns them into advocates for your business, resulting in a high level of repeat custom and strong word of mouth.
While the business supports local sporting clubs, it does not advertise. It doesn’t need to. “We’ve had clients who were referred to friends, referred by business associates. Repeat customers usually talk about us to other people,” Hazel said.
We have clients who are so happy with us. Tony has saved me that much money – and they automatically go online to write a review about us. They actually go and post a review on our behalf.
“The motto we have a Transparency, Honesty, Integrity. That’s what we abide by because your reputation is gold and don’t want to tarnish it.”
If you can have a good communication skills with them, you can build a relationship like you would with family and they will accept like your own.