First of all, Imma say it. Second of all, the customer is wrong.

Oooooh… controversial, right? Yas! I’m feeling a little sassy today!

Seriously though. My ‘real’ job – is literally a Customer Experience Manager. My job, is to make sure that your experience, at my shop, is amazing. We have that crap down, too. I mean, I am super good at my job. I am great at it even. Our scores show it. Customer Service is my pride and joy.

Now, you might be saying, “KRISTIE! The customer is always right!” Well, now you are wrong, too. Lol! Let me give you an example. I am at WAWA this morning. I am standing in the checkout line, and there are two people in front of me. Both people are on the phone. The young lady that was the clerk, was awkwardly trying to catch the first person’s eye. I know she was trying to ask them if they wanted a bag or not. She was also trying to be polite, and not interrupt their conversation. So, customer #1, talking his head off on his phone, never acknowledges the clerk. He is staring down at the credit card machine.

Once his total shows up, card inserted, tap tap tap, he grabs his stuff and walks out. Not even one nod of acknowledgment to the clerk. Customer 2 repeats the same process – almost exactly – and walks out the door. It’s my turn in line.

In that moment, I became painfully aware of my bluetooth earbud sitting in my ear. I quickly pause my audiobook, and pull the earbud out. “Good Mornin’!” I say.

The young lady says back to me, “Well, good morning! Thank you for getting off the phone, but you didn’t have to, no one else does. ” I replied in a panic almost! “I wasn’t on the phone, I was just listening to an audiobook!” She obviously didn’t care if I was on the phone or not – but for some reason I felt ashamed for the way the two customers in front of me behaved. She was such a sweet and lovely young girl working this morning. And those two people, missed an opportunity to engage with another human and to make her feel valued. They missed out.

That got me thinking. We live in a society of instant gratification. Self entitlement. The “I’M GONNA CALL MY LAWYER!” – Mindset. Remember in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, how Veruca Salt was a spoiled little brat. We, as customers, often do the same. I am including myself in this mix, so don’t get it twisted. We have amazon – get it quick. Cell phones with games or social media so we never have to be ‘bored’. Liposuction, Credit cards, Uber Eats, On Demand, Fast Food, Sudden service, WiFi, video games, grocery delivery, and the general lack of having to ‘wait’ for anything . And it seems, the more convenient things have become – that we have become much more impatient and much more entitled. You would think we would be more grateful, but it doesn’t seem so.

You want to know one of the reasons that my team and I are so successful in the customer service genre? In an industry that it is almost impossible to make people happy? I will give you one big tip. I DO NOT CHANGE MY CUSTOMER SERVICE MINDSET FOR ANYONE! So, my CSR’s are instructed to wait. And by wait, I mean this. We are in control of this situation, we are the professionals, so we are going to show you how it’s done. If a customer comes in- on the phone, and instructs me to go ahead and go over the forms while they are on the phone – I don’t. I reply, “These forms are way too important, and I want you to be able to focus on your call – as soon as you are finished with the call, you let me know – and we will get you taken care of. Take your time. ” And guess what, I mean it. I’m not being a smart alleck. These forms are important, and your phone call is also. There are humans on both sides of you. I will give you the time and space you need to complete your call. And then we will get you taken care of! I want to make sure that you are set up with a great level of expectation, and that we are clear!

In the 10+ years, I have never had one customer buck up when I refuse to do business while they are on the phone. I have seen a few look shocked, but that’s it. I want my customers to feel like they are connected to us and that we care. Because we actually do.

Now – let me explain to you a few things that happen at our shop. If you have never worked in the body shop industry – auto repair industry – you might not know. Consider this a public service announcement:

  • Machines make vehicles, humans repair them. We strive to be perfect, and get it as spot on as we can. Please, have some grace. We are human and it takes time.
  • Paint match. Listen, bumpers are different colors than sheet metal. That’s just the way it is. Paint adheres differently. Look at your car before your drop it off. If it doesn’t match then, it won’t match after. If it does now, it will then.
  • You, as the customer – deserve updates throughout the repair process. You should receive them from your insurance adjuster and the shop. An adjuster’s information is only as good as what the shop gives them – so if you have questions, call the shop.
  • Body shops want to repair your vehicle. If an insurance company says something IS NOT related, we have zero control of that. We get paid to repair, remember that. Screaming and cursing at us will literally get you no where. We can’t do anything without their approval. I can also guarantee you, that if you curse and yell in my shop – I won’t be able to advocate for you for anything, because I am going to have to usher you elsewhere as to not offend my other guests.
  • Body shops, especially shops like mine that do insurance work, are so regulated it is crazy. We are audited by everyone. So, we aren’t a crooked industry trying to make a quick buck off you. Just like all lawyers aren’t jerks. All accountants are not dull. Don’t make assumptions.
  • If you tell someone in a shop that you are going to contact your attorney because an insurance company is saying that something isn’t related. Please do. We want you to. So does the insurance company. We are well versed in this, and we aren’t kidding.

If you have any questions about the body shop industry – shoot me a comment or email me in the about me section. I’ll answer asap.

So, here is my challenge to you. Let’s try to be good customers. When we check out, tell your boyfriend to hold on the phone for a second, and talk to our clerk. Let’s show up a few minutes early to our appointments. If we go to pick up some shoes, and they don’t have our size, ask the salesperson if they can help find them – rather than huffing away or sulking. If you have to wait for a table at a restaurant, play a game of ABC with your kids and chat with your spouse. And at your next meal with your family – have everyone put their phone on airplane mode. Let’s be good customers to everyone we interact with.

I’m a realist. Sometimes, you are gonna get someone who sucks. An employee or business that is just subpar. Don’t get mad – don’t freak out – don’t yell. Just move on up the chain. Also, If you want some more Customer Service tips – Let me know. But, I can’t divulge all my secrets.

I gotta stay number 1.


The Best CSS squad on the Planet! (L to R) Eric, Rebecca, and Tariq!)

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.

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