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Is Customer Satisfaction Your Priority (from 2003)


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08-03-2002: Scott Burrows Wrote,


        I often hear from Towing company owners that cost is the biggest factor in losing a customer and that on-time pickup and delivery is not the major factor. However, consider the following results of various customer satisfaction surveys.

•        Over 80% of customers who leave a business leave because of poor service or poor product quality.
•        In a 1997 study of leading public companies it was found that the stock value of companies devoted to utilizing customer satisfaction as a strategic business development tool increased 147% from 1986 to 1995. This increase in stock value was twice as much as the value increase of their closest competitors.
•        "Service leaders" could charge 9% more for the same products, expand their market share and grow twice as fast as the "poor providers."
•        Totally satisfied customers are between 3 to 10 times more likely to initiate purchasing towing services. Totally satisfied customers will recommend your firm to other business associates.
•        Reducing customer defections by 5% can increase profitability between 25% and 85%.
•        A typical business hears from only 4% of its dissatisfied customers. The other 96% just quietly go away and 91% will never come back. Seven out of ten dissatisfied customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor. On average, a satisfied customer will tell five people about the problem and how it was satisfactorily resolved.
•        Somewhat satisfied customers are open to overturn from competitors, thus at risk. They are a nominal source of referrals, which slows a company's ability to grow.
•        Dissatisfied customers seek out competitors. A typical dissatisfied customer will tell 8 to 10 people about his problem. One in five dissatisfied customers will tell twenty. Dissatisfied customers have a negative impact on sales and marketing activities.

        Do towing companies need to face the brutal fact that their service failures and other interactions with the customers may be the true cause of losing customers? Do towing companies need to develop and, more importantly, enforce company-wide standards for delivering the world's best customer service? How about taking a look at your standards for service and give yourself an honest evaluation?


Several towers have contacted the office inquiring what the towing association is able to do for its members in trying to secure an affordable health care coverage package. Without offending anyone, I would report we are doing just as much as each member will allow us to do. Several committees have researched this subject in the years since it was last offered, and where they find an agent or representative willing to give a quote, that is where we hit the wall.
        To put together any type of quote, underwriters require a "census" of proposed applicants. We have yet to receive a completed census from any member towing company. I wonder if it is because some feel threatened; that by disclosing employee demographics, there might exist the possibility of another member company "raiding" their roster and hiring away a key man.
        There may be other reservations preventing the completion of a census - I don't know. So, attached to the revenue is a "Census Information" form. Please take a 1/2 hour to review this form, fill in the appropriate information - BUT, leave the employee name blank (just use some letter or number you will recognize). AND, leave the current carrier blank, if you wish.
        I want you to feel comfortable in the information you disclose. I also want you to be confident that the information submitted will remain confidential, and will be used to compile a summary of the employees for submission to version underwriters. Once suitable rate quotes have been obtained, a report will be published in the newsletter and on a fax broadcast.
        Remember, this will only work with the participation of our members. This is not something we are trying to force feed you - this is something YOU have asked for.
        Note: see the notes from the T.R.A.A. Board of Directors meeting; they are working in a similar program through the OWNER OPERATOR INDEPENDENT DRIVERS ASSOCIATION (OOIDA) and this may be a choice for some towing companies.

Autorescue said:


I'll be the first to admit I do not spend my time trying to be politically correct.

When a customer calls they are told a realistic eta that I can provide if it's acceptable to them I get the job, if it's not they are free to call elsewhere.

When I get to the job site I try to be as cordially with the customer as they allow.

When I do a job I do it to the best of my ability although it may not always be correct, I'm just not a perfect kind of person like a lot of others seem to be!

When I do a job for a customer I am not trying to get their repeat business, I hope they never have to call me again!

When people call and say they used us years ago when they had their last service provided it makes me feel pretty satisfied.

When I do a service for others I do it knowing full well that I am the highest paid provider in the area, and in a town of 20000 I think most of them know it also.

When I do a service for others I am there to make money in a quick and efficient manner.

I am in business to make money while providing a service, a service which I might add does not always make others happy, so what can I say, be efficient, know your job, be respectful of others, and get PAID.John R.

Formula One Towing


DNDTowingcom said:

Customer service. What I tell our employees and potential customers is as follows. Any tow truck can move a car or truck the same as ours. The only thing we have to offer that is different is better customer service. Better service is what you will get from us.~Dann

Dave Lambert said:

You can't say too much about "first impressions". You're being judged as soon as you arrive (and meeting your ETA). First your unit then the operator.

The first impression sets the stage for everything else. Those who wear uniforms are a step ahead. We're suppose to be professionals and it can only help business to dress like one.


Bighook18 said:

Steve you are 100% correct.

Safety is our first priority also. We will never do anything to compromise safety for any reason. Customer satisfaction is huge in our industry, but it isnt as important as safety. On that note, strive for unequalled customer satisfaction, but keep safety your first priority.

Todd Pell
Merl's Towing


Tomjr said:

Customer satisfaction is my priority but there is such a thing as a bad customer.I set new customers off on the right foot but I also have bad customers nobody wanted from back when I started. I have found that they are never happy, want to chisel you for the sake of chiseling and dont pay on time on principal. Customer service is a 2 way street. If a custom er has realistic expectations they will be very happy with honest etas and fair prices. If the customer is a bum they are never happy. I got wise to that over the years and if they are not happy who cares, the rest of the people in the business know they are bums also so their negative oppinion doesnt hold water. But customer service is #1. I believe in making the customer feel like they are always right. "The customer is always right except when they want to tell me the price or tell me how to do the job". You tell me 1 what 2 where 3 when and Ill handle the rest.

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