The other day my husband and I were driving down the street and we passed a local oil & lube shop. I made the comment that I like that place because they always have cute sayings on their marquee to get people to come and do business with them. The funniest was one they had last year – “The best looking oil change guys in town! Come see for yourself!” That was something that made me giggle and it was different than anything I’d seen anywhere else. When I think of it, it makes me smile because of that and it’s a good feeling. It had nothing to do with the customer service they deliver, the quality of their work or their prices, but it was a feeling generated through humor.
My husband, while amused by my memory of that marquee, has quite a different feeling about the same shop. He had met the owner of that oil & lube shop at a Christmas party in our neighborhood a few years ago. We were new to the area at the time and my husband said to the owner “Oh, you own that shop. I’ve got a Chrysler and am looking for someone local to do business with for minor repairs and oil changes.” The gentleman responded “Oh, Mopar parts. I don’t like working on those. They are always trouble to deal with.”
Guess where we’ve NEVER gone to get our oil changed, even though it’s less than 2 miles away from our house. Now, it has nothing do with the quality of their work, the timeliness in which they can change oil or their price. We’ve never even set foot in the store. It’s because of the negative feeling projected because of the car we owned. And it was in a social setting, not in any way related to business.
The one thing that I constantly blog and speak about is that buying decisions are based on emotion. If people don’t like the way they feel about you or around you, they won’t do business with you. Everything, tangible or not, will impact the customer experience. Even though this conversation had not taken place in the business setting, the experience fed into the feeling of confidence that customers need to have when doing business with us. The customer’s highest need is certainty, and this did nothing to help foster that.
Because the owner clearly told him he didn’t like working on Chrysler cars, my husband questioned the quality of work they would do. Really, it’s not too far of a stretch. If we don’t like doing something, we usually don’t tend to do our best at it.
Had this owner recognized the fact that he had a potential new customer in front of him, he may have used the following response “Welcome to the neighborhood! Make sure you come on by next time you need an oil change. We’d love to have you as a new customer.” Really, that is all it takes for most people to try a new place. An engaging feeling and a sense of value for the business customers bring to them. The words that we use make a big difference. The way we say things make a big difference. The way we communicate in any way with a customer makes a big difference. What we do and say consciously or not feeds into the feelings of the customer that make up the overall experience.
So when interacting with anyone at all, remember that in both professional and social settings, remember that everything counts.