What’s the secret to great customer service in any garage or automotive workshop?
Actually, culture is the secret to success in any number of key performance indicators in your business – from productivity to staff retention.
Get culture right and you’re in the fast lane towards achieving your business goals.
In this article we’ll share with you some tips and advice on achieving and maintaining a great culture in your business.
What is culture?
Culture is a bit like your business’s personality. It includes the accepted behaviours, expectations, attitudes, values, ethics, and goals of not just management but everyone in the team.
Culture matters because it dictates what it feels like to work in your company, and to be your customer.
Creating a great culture isn’t about introducing a few perks, like Pizza Fridays (although that kind of thing is great). It’s about a shared mission and purpose.
Improving culture requires leadership
In a recent article customer service expert Shep Hyken explained that creating a culture that sticks – where everyone on the team has bought in – is really about people.
“Get the right people on the metaphorical bus, all happy to be going in the same direction, and you’re on the way to creating the culture you want,” he said.
“Leadership must decide what they want the company to be. That’s where the culture begins. It needs to be clearly articulated.”
Shep said management must create a defining statement about their service culture.
“Keep it short – one sentence or less,” he said. “Once you define it, you must live it, hire for it, train to it, and constantly remind people about it.”
Tips for improving culture in your workshop
Here are some tips for creating and maintaining a winning culture in your workshop.
Have a shared mission
The highest-performing companies all have one thing in common: they each have a shared mission and purpose. That’s what Shep was talking about above. Tesla’s is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”. Perhaps a good one for a workshop could be “servicing our customers’ vehicles like they’re our own”? Whatever it is, define it and live by it!
Be the driver of change
Change doesn’t just happen. You need to be driving it every day. Lead by example.
Bring the team along on any changes
Choose your language carefully when introducing changes and think carefully about the method you use to communicate them. Don’t get off to a bad start unnecessarily.
Hire people who fit the culture
The people on your team have a huge influence on culture. Hiring (or retaining) the wrong employee can be hugely detrimental. When you’re hiring, don’t just look for skills; look for personality and attitude.
Feedback is a dual-lane carriageway
Feedback is the secret to constant improvement – and it works best when it’s encouraged both top down and bottom up. A little praise or word of encouragement can create a sense of belonging and pride, and lead to greater productivity. Constructive feedback should be a training opportunity and a positive experience.
Act on feedback
When feedback does come up to you from the team, listen and act on it. That way your team knows they’re valued and they have the power to bring about change.
Don’t forget to celebrate!
If you have a huge and profitable week, if you achieve a business goal, if the apprentice has finally qualified – celebrate. Nothing makes a team feel like a team more than a celebration.