The missing element

By Andy Fiffick, Chairman MACS Worldwide and Owner Rad-Air Cleveland, OH

Most of us pay attention to our bottom line, our pricing and our productivity numbers to stay on top of our business. These are all very tangible and measurable elements of our business that help us make the day-to-day decisions that keep us in the game. I would propose that there is a missing element that we may not be paying enough attention to.

As we all know, there are many levels of customer service ranging from the downright offensive or imaginary all the way up to the “do anything at all costs to make the customer happy.” Where do our shops fit in the realm of things customers expect from us as service providers? How much customer service can we afford? How much is too much?

Is washing every vehicle after a service and picking up or delivering the vehicle back to the customer too much? Is walking the person out to their vehicle under an umbrella to shade them from the sun going too far? Should we provide them coffee, snacks, soft drinks and a movie theater while they wait for their vehicle to be serviced? I’m not sure where to draw the line here.

What I can tell you is that for some time now all of the vehicle manufacturers have figured out that giving outstanding customer service and building relationships with their customers is the way to get repeat business into their dealership shops. New dealerships are springing up all over the country with plush waiting areas, movie theaters, small cubicles for clients to use as offices, free WiFi, snacks, StarBucks, free car washes (all week long), child play areas and other amities that would make your head spin.

The service departments have temperature controlled drop-off and pick-up areas so the client doesn’t have to get hot, wet, or cold during the drop off and pick up of their vehicle. They have learned that they can increase market share through these programs, and we need to react to this strategy to keep our customer base and grow our businesses.

I’m not sure that we in the aftermarket repair industry understand how important customer service is to our bottom line and survival. Outstanding customer service is as important to a healthy business plan as any other line item you may see on a financial statement. However, customer service is not a tangible number that shows up in black or red as do all of the other numbers on our spreadsheets. Therefore, we sometimes ignore the true cost of great or lacking customer service.

I believe that a true indicator of healthy customer service policies is the ratio of new to repeat customers entering your shop. Take a poll and see what your ratio is. I have found that the most successful shops operate with 80% repeat-business on a daily basis. Providing great customer service may be the missing element to putting your business over the top.

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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