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Is Customer Satisfaction Your Priority

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Topic Originally Created on Tow411 in August of 2002:


      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.


Auto Rescue 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


Bob said:

Customer service is very important to me. Most of my business comes from transporting new vehicles from dealer to dealer. Each customer I service knows they will get the fastest possible service possible from me. I follow all the guide lines set forth from the manufacture to meet their towing requirements. When I am doing road service work for Motor Clubs or who ever calls, I give a realistic ETA. Very seldom do I miss it. When I do a road service call and have a understanding person, I always give them my card and tell them I hope they never need me again. When I get a bone head, I don't care if I ever service them again, so no card is given. I am aware of the bad mouth publicity. This is just part of any service related business. I also look at someone who is saying unkind things about any business. I look at the individual and say to myself, you would complain if someone hung you with a new rope, and I will use the company they are running down in their venting if the occasion arises. Some people you just can't please.
Oh well, enough babbling and sorry for being so long winded.
Stay safe


Skyline said:

Mr Scott Burrows. You are hitting the nail right on the head. I am currently writing an article to be published in one of the tow newsletters (which shall remain nameless) about this exact issue. Using technology and training to provide the best service to your customers will always be the order oif the day. Anything else just wastes your time, makes all of us look bad and helps to foster the current image of the greasy, nasty tempered tower.


angel roadside services said:

Good customer service is the first 'tool' that should reached for when doing a job. If you do not have good tools, one cannot do a good job.....
Mike Springer
Angel Roadside Services
"Your Angel with an Altitude!"
P.O. Box 4512
Woodland Park, Colorado 80866
(719) 243-7191


towmanjc said:

Do the job the best you can! treat customers like you want to be treated!! just remember! word of mouth can make you or break you!!!


In Memory of DNDTOWINGCOM who 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

Dann - Vegas Heavy Haul Inc. - dba. Big Valley Towing
smoffrd snowrider said:
i'll admit customer satisfaction comes in second Safety Is First
In Memory of Dave Lambert who 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
"I always got my hook.."
Todd Pell
Unknown Member said:
here customer service is a priority. we are in a community of many elderly retired peolpe who are basically living on their pensions. our elderly customers are given discounts in their towing and we normally arrange atransport svce for the if need be. with that said there are other custoemrs in this area who can not appreciate the overhead that is involved in getting them service. it is most unfortunate that many times price is the prevailing factor in these calls. realistic eta's are given and i despise turning down work but if i am busy i will recommend a few of my fellow tow companies round here. when someone fromn out of town calls i give them a relaistic price and if need be quote an hourly rate.
i also give to every customer a business card with my number and name and if they feel they were wronged please call and let me see if i can recitfy the problem.
the motto of the company"we are gentleman helping ladies and gentleman. those who do not adhere to that are promptly removed just my 2c be safe"paper bags fashionable from aug to dec go aints"
Tom Jr 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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  • 7 months later...

I’m a late-comer to this post. Sorry. From a total safety standpoint though, I believe customer satisfaction scores should not must not over-ride the element of on-scene safety. Because some motor-club providers have locked-in focus on 100-percent customer satisfaction, tow operators get hesitant to flat-out tell their customers they’re NOT going to change their flat tire when danger is perceived. When customer satisfaction scores are dollar or bonus driven, common sense goes out the window. No customer service score is worth my tower's getting injured or killed. Accordingly, when tow operators identify their scene is too dangerous to provide service, their company must back their operators decision that doesn’t put them in harm’s way. Having said that, Todd Pell, at Merl’s Service, hit the nail on the head by commenting, “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 isn’t as important as safety.”     R

Randall C. Resch

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