I recently was in Orlando for a gathering of fixed ops folks from around the country. The discussions ranged from staffing woes to parts shortages to mobile service possibilities. The fixed ops directors and service managers in attendance shared their expertise and best practices on these topics and others.
But it was an outsider who gave the best lesson on customer service and, in a way, customer retention. Louree Jefferson had spent the meetings' two days in the back of the banquet room quietly restocking the soft drinks and sweets required to fuel the all-day discussions. As the meeting was coming to a close, the banquet room captain shared with the group that Jefferson has been named the hotel chain's Employee of the Year three times and also has won a slew of state and national hospitality awards.
Jefferson, who memorized the first name of each person in the room, gave a sandwich bag to each of us filled with a penny, a marble, an eraser, a rubber band, string and a Hershey Hug and Kiss. Each symbolized a "pick-me-up" — an eraser to make mistakes disappear, a rubber band to stretch beyond your limits and the Hug and Kiss as a reminder that someone cares about you.
Her attentiveness resonated with all of us in the room. And it was not lost on this group of automotive service professionals focused on customers coming back again and again that Jefferson's work is the reason this semiannual meeting is held at that hotel year after year.
She provided a good reminder — amid the talk of repair orders and revenue — that a successful fixed ops department starts with stellar customer service.