HDAW Preview: Providing the optimal customer service experience

Updated Jan 11, 2018

Acing a customer service survey can be a big win for businesses today. Customer surveys provide businesses a window into a customer’s mind, and their interpretation of how a business manages key points in a transaction.

But useful as some surveys can be, Colin Gold of Gold Hospitality says businesses should never become too enamored or focused on their results. Comprehensive customer service is about more than bullet points and survey scores. It’s about being the best at everything, not only the things that can be tracked.

During his upcoming Aftermarket Briefings presentation at this month’s Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW), Gold says he is eager to share his expertise on how businesses can build dynamic customer-centric cultures that transcend customer expectations and surveys and become true differentiators in a marketplace. A veteran hotelier and hospitality expert, Gold says there’s virtually no business doesn’t cannot benefit from better customer service, and in his upcoming presentation he plans to prove that to the aftermarket.

As one might expect, Gold says changing customer service culture begins with people.

“Your focus should always be on what is the best experience for your customer, and that only works if everyone is on board,” Gold says. He references his past hotel career as an example.

“Imagine a customer arrives at a hotel and is greeted by the valet and doorman, but then the front desk employee doesn’t give him the time of day. All of that goodwill [the other employees provided] just left.”

The same risk exists in the aftermarket, where counter employees are expected to optimally manage hundreds of interactions each day with stressed and frustrated customers in need of an immediate solution to their vehicle problems.

Gold says ensuring those front-line associates are best prepared for that work requires a true top-down approach. Employee buy-in starts at the top, and there’s no better way to jump start widespread changes than getting an executive to commit. Gold says too often today executives only commit to a concept. Or data, like a customer survey. But he says lip service to change doesn’t do anything. There’s more to great customer service than four- and five-star reviews.

“So many people today want to influence their survey scores, but if you focus on a great customer experience, the good survey scores are going to come,” he says.

Though Gold will only have 20 minutes to speak on building a strong customer service culture at HDAW, he’s excited about the opportunity. The hospitality veteran says the tricks of his industry work anywhere, and can be hugely beneficial to any company’s bottom line.

And for what it’s worth, Gold says providing top-rate customer service isn’t actually difficult so much as omnipresent. It’s about getting employees to commit to providing the type of service they personally are so eager to receive in their own lives, and then doing so for every customer interaction. It’s about making customer service part of your company’s DNA.

“You want to create a culture that truly embraces customer service,” he says.

Please be sure to check back later this week as Truck Parts & Service previews all of this year’s Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) speakers. 

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