The Starting Point: Delighting the Customer

You take your car in for service. The service office is immaculately clean and resembles a hotel lobby. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is in the air, and you ask yourself "How come I cannot smell any car fumes?" The service manager greets you, is well dressed in a neatly pressed shirt and tie, with a name badge. You give him the keys, and he asks you "Do, you mind if I go through our 12 Point Service Guarantee?" He then places the form in front of you, and points his pen next to each of the guarantees as he explains each one to you.

You then drive off in the courtesy car. The car is the latest model, and it drives fantastically. As you are driving it, you say to yourself that this will be your next car. You are phoned later in the day by the service manager to tell you the car is ready for pick up. On you arrival, your car is waiting at the front of the office, and has been cleaned inside and out. Before you are about to pay, the service manager, goes through all of service points that were carried out. You do not even care about how much the service was because it was so good.

A couple of days later, Suzie, from the customer care department of the dealership gives you a courtesy call. She asks you a few non-intrusive questions about your thoughts on the service, the performance of the car, or any questions that you may have about the whole experience. The car is working perfectly, and you are totally satisfied by the experience, and you love the fact that the dealership wanted to know your thoughts.

Here is an example of a perfect link between what the dealership had in mind as they were creating the vision, mission, values, and unique selling proposition for their business, and what the customer wants from any engagement. Can you see how the dealership has built a system?

  1. On your arrival the service staff had uniforms and name badges so that you could identify them with ease. Before they serviced your car, they go though another script – the 12 Point Service Guarantee. From all the current affair shows that exposed dodgy car services, consumers have a general fear of being cheated on what they have paid for. This 12 Point Service Guarantee reduces the fear in the purchase, in highlighting that the dealership will deliver on their promise.
  2. The courtesy car, that is provided, is also a system. It is a marketing system that is designed to get you hooked on the latest model of cars. Car manufacturers and dealerships have done thousands of studies on the impact that driving a new car has on future purchases.
  3. Upon your arrival, the car is cleaned for you inside and out. In a time poor society we sometimes find it difficult to clean our cars, and the dealership again has saved you time and money.
  4. When you collect your car, the service manager goes through another script with you of explaining all the service points that were done to your car. This is again to reduce the fear in your mind, that you have received what you paid for.
  5. The follow up phone call is to gain customer feedback on the service. The dealership records all of the information, and discusses it in team meetings. Any issues that are raised are quickly dealt with.

The systems that have been developed by the dealership have been well thought out. The systems have always focused on the customer first, prior to the needs of the business first. This is always a challenge for many businesses, as we try to make our life easier, instead of the customers, and in doing so, lose a lot of business because we have created barriers to make the purchase easier.

Most of the time, these barriers are called 'procedures', and these procedures need to be defined separately from systems. Procedures are designed to reduce or eliminate any losses to the business, such as theft, fraud, or anything to do with the processing of financial transactions or inventory management. Systems are designed to either;

  • Increase sales and profit
  • Save time
  • Improve the quality of service that is given to the customer


  1. Write down one common engagement that you have with a customer that you would like to create a system for e.g. customer purchase, a refund, a customer complaint, a phone enquiry etc.
  2. What are the customer's expectations from that engagement?
  3. Close your eyes for a moment? Can you visualise how that engagement is carried out? Now write it down.
  4. Write down step-by-step how the engagement is carried out? List all of the functions of the business that is involved in this system e.g. marketing, finance, human resources, sales, administration, and operations/production.

About Tony Gattari, Achievers Group

The author is founder and Chief Energy Officer of Achievers group. He is a much in demand passionate professional speaker, business educator, author and corporate, business advisor. He has worked with over 140 businesses around the world.

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