Accurate Invoice = Happy Customer (Lesson 4)
The way in which your customer perceives the control that you have in your business directly relates to their trust in you.
(Please read the previous sentence a couple of times so that it sinks in.)
The story below demonstrates exactly how the way you invoice can impact your customers and the relationship they have with your business.
Like many families, the Wilson family – Karla and Jack – own two vehicles. One is a stock standard Suzuki Swift, the other an ageing but well-loved Holden Jackaroo. Karla drives one vehicle, and Jack drives the other. They each have their own preferences for vehicle maintenance service providers.
Karla prefers an auto workshop run by a family friend whom she trusts and has known for a long time, while her husband prefers another. However, as he works long hours as a sales rep, it is often Karla who does the picking up, dropping off and invoice payments for the cars. The place she prefers is small, busy and well, quaint to say the least. It is what she likes and it is where she feels comfortable.
On Karla’s last visit, which was a regular service, the invoice was surprisingly more expensive than usual. This was okay by her. She understands that costs rarely go down; however, she did want to check that it was correct. The account had no details on it for Karla to refer to so she waited to speak to the receptionist at the front desk.
The receptionist was busy with ringing phones, a queue of waiting customers and a stack of papers in front of her. She couldn’t find what she needed and to add to her mounting problems, the owner of the business was nowhere to be found. He had been working since 8am; it was now 4.45pm and he was on his first and only break of the day.
When Karla finally got to the front of the queue after 5pm the receptionist didn’t have the details of the work that was done and the mechanic responsible had gone home. So, Karla paid the invoice, partly because she was in a hurry, and partly because she felt extremely sorry for the receptionist who really was doing the best she could under the circumstances. However, at that moment, she decided it was the last time she would use that auto workshop.
It was a place she had trusted for more than ten years; however that long-term trust was erased in just one experience. Even though she had known the receptionist for quite some time, she no longer felt comfortable returning to that auto workshop.
Of course, Karla doesn’t know how an auto workshop works, but she, like everyone else has concerns – that if the receptionist can’t find the most basic of information, what else can’t she find? What else might have been overlooked?
Karla’s next service was done at an auto workshop the next town over. It was a reasonable drive and less convenient. The business was about the same size, and was just as busy. A very confident young receptionist told her that the car would be ready in about two hours, and if anything changed they would let her know.
After an hour and a half she received a phone call to say she actually needed two new tyres, which she agreed to, and she was also told the car would take a little longer than expected because of the tyres. After another 45 minutes Karla received an SMS message to say the car was ready.
When she went to pick up her car, the receptionist showed her the invoice, which was itemised and clear – the amount due was more than she expected, however the paperwork explained what the costs were and it all seemed very fair. She happily paid her invoice and now this auto workshop, which is still an inconvenient distance for her to drive, services both of the family vehicles because she feels that the inconvenience is worth the trip.
In just one visit this new auto workshop created a trusting bond with their new customer through efficiency and invoice transparency.
This new auto workshop gained Karla’s trust simply by having an organised and streamlined system that made her feel secure in her decision to use their services. They are maximising profits and winning new business.
So, which of these two auto workshops most accurately represents your business and why?
To your success,
Australia’s #1 Automotive Business Growth Expert