We enjoy talking about all things related to classic cars and there storage and try to offer as much advice as we can. Whilst we try to do so regularly both on and off our blog, we’ve come up with this post to bring some of our most commonly provided advice together in one place.
In any industry there is a constant battle between each business and organisation to stay ahead of any fellow competitors. Being on top of the game is the only place to be.
Offering a great service is the main objective, but you also need to make an impact in other ways. And there are many ways to keep on top of your game, especially in the classic car storage arena.
We will talk you through five top ways to keep ahead of any competition you may encounter whilst trying to build up your experience and customer base.
1. Have a company website
The vast majority of the United Kingdom have access to the internet and will use it regularly – it is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of where you are. If a customer was to visit your storage facility, there is always a chance it might be closed, due to it being after closing time or it’s maybe a bank holiday.
Or maybe they might try phoning you but you cannot answer, the person could then visit your website to hopefully find the information they are looking for; otherwise, they can leave you a message or an email for your response.
Overall, it is a cheaper option with regards to advertising as opposed to leaflets and posters. With them physical pieces of advertising, whilst they are good and will work for you, they are not so good if you need alterations made to any of your details, for example; you will then need to get a whole other load of leaflets designed, printed and redistributed.
With a website, these alterations can be made in the blink of an eye, probably without too many people even noticing that there has been a change (it is a good idea to say on your website that there has been a change of phone number, for example, just in case people keep trying to ring the old one!).
Like we said earlier, leaflets, posters and newspaper adverts are a good form of advertising, so still do them but just don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You can use these forms of promotion to get people to visit your website, where there will be more detail into what you can provide.
A company website also offers convenience to the consumer, in that it is a whole lot easier to browse on the internet for any information you require than it is to get in your car, drive to a location and ask questions. That is extremely time consuming.
By offering this convenience, you are ultimately giving your customers a higher level of satisfaction and value. Featuring a section on your website that entertains your readers – advice, tips, what not to do – will keep them interested and will help them to remember you more. Keeping at the head of the customers memory is the key to success.
The convenience to yourself comes when you realise you have more time on your hands; when you find you have time to get on with other jobs, whereas that time may well have been spent informing clients about your service, as opposed to finishing certain jobs.
On your website, you must have an ‘About Us’ page; this is where you talk about yourself and your company, about your history in your industry and why they should trust you for whatever it is you are offering. Most people do their research on potential companies way in advance of speaking to them, so make sure they know who you are.
Posting recent and relevant news stories and updates online, if people see that you update your site regularly then they are more likely to visit it. For example, if your facility had some new storage for cars then you would put that up to let people know. Then word-of-mouth could spread the news.
2. The need for ongoing training
Ongoing training is the best way to keep on top of being the best at what you do for a living. The fact that technology and legislations are constantly developing means that workers are very rarely fully qualified in whatever it is they do; this is why regular training updates are necessary.
Regular training updates are not only good for the employer to show they have the best staff, but from the viewpoint of the employee, it keeps them interested and motivated to put their training into practice. This also means they will be less likely to look for a job elsewhere.
Any courses and learning must be transferable to their actual working environment for them, and you, to gain something from it.
Keeping any qualifications up-to-date is essential. For example, a first aid qualification expires after a certain length of time, so attending a refresher course is a must, otherwise you will have to do the entire course all over again if you let it expire.
As we said earlier, technology and legislations are constantly evolving meaning continuous learning is a crucial part of any job.
Anyone looking for work needs to keep proof of their qualified status, in the form of certificates. An employer is always more likely to employ someone with relevant experience and qualifications.
Even if money is tight at home, paying for your own courses can be worth every penny if it gets you that job that you desperately need.
Maintaining a good level and standard of knowledge, through refreshing your learning, is very important, otherwise it gradually becomes less useful as you either forget parts or there has been a change in training.
If you do not occasionally use and / or update what you have been taught then it will eventually all be forgotten. One-day training is the sort of format from which training can be forgotten, so it is best to follow these up quickly to get the most out of your training.
Ongoing training can be expensive, but in the end it works out for the best for you and your company as it keeps you ahead of any competitors. Don’t be fooled by one-day training, this is more like a band-aid solution to fill short-term gaps. Keep these for inductions or raising awareness of anything new and important.
3. Listen to any feedback you receive
How many of you take the time to ask your customers how they feel about the service you provide? And when you are given their response, how long do you spend considering the customer’s feelings and then answering them?
It is extremely important to understand why a customer is asking a question, or why they are making a point about something. Making a positive connection with a customer or client is a good way to improve the reputation of your company, and also to boost sales.
Engaging customers in what they want and like from your services can help you shape what you need to do to meet and exceed customer expectations.
On your website – which we said earlier, you must have one – regularly add updates (relevant news and information) to keep people involved in how you are improving. If someone doesn’t find something on your website that they may be looking for then they could be tempted to look elsewhere for what they need, which is not a good thing.
You also need to take into consideration any customer-facing staff you may have; how they feel about your business and service will reflect in the work they do and the views they have. It is vital to engage with your staff and keep them informed of things.
If you have been proactive in your communication with staff, they will then display confidence when talking to customers. Communication skills must be a high priority with employers.
Customer service has always been, and will always be, an important factor in selling your product and / or services. Even if your price is slightly higher than a competitors, if your customer service is of a higher standard then you are likely to be the one they choose.
4. Use social media
It wasn’t long ago that social media was seen as a nuisance to businesses; now, the opinion couldn’t be more different.
Now, you would most definitely struggle to find a company that doesn’t use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. Being active in the social media network is getting bigger by the second, with companies trying to be ahead of each other.
The reality is that over 100 billion minutes a month are spent with people browsing and using social media – it is only common sense to start using these to promote yourself and your business. Think about how many people could view your site if that many minutes per month are used on social media.
The fact that the older generation have begun to get involved with social media shows how massive it is in general. Social media is a huge thing in everyday life – how many of us check one of our many accounts first thing on a morning? It plays a big part in how we interact with other people.
Being active on numerous social network platforms will spread your brand and business further – you can use this to show your followers that you are more than just a company. By sharing off-topic posts, interesting images or cool videos, you can show your readers that there’s more to your business than simply making sales. Showing this side of you can really help you further down the road.
Once you have built up a good trust with your followers, you can be sure that next time they need something you offer then you will be at the top of their list for who to contact first. People tend to buy and use services of people they know and trust, it is human nature; become friends and followers and reap the rewards.
5. Offer a great customer experience
Great customer experience has always been an important factor, but never more so than now. In the current climate, customers have more choice than ever before when it comes to choosing a service / product; that means to get attention from them you will have to provide excellent experiences for them.
The view and opinion of a customer of you ultimately comes from all the times you have interacted with one another – face-to-face, over the phone or via email. Many interactions offers opportunities for companies to learn more about the customer’s needs and preferences, and helps to strengthen the relationship.
Don’t be afraid to study competitors that are recognised as offering a fantastic service. There is nothing wrong with seeing what they do, but don’t stop there – network at conferences and events to learn what others are also doing.
Converting good customer experience to fantastic, unforgettable customer experience needs deliberate and consistent action from many people.
An effective approach to getting to ‘unforgettable’ is to focus on a certain area until you get the results, and gain momentum and credibility, whilst always keeping the long-term goal in mind, but getting short-term success.
Great customer experience is something that cannot be copied, matched or lowered – like prices of products – it is one of the few remaining ways to gain a competitive advantage. Use it to your advantage.
Here at Classic Car Storage, where we offer secure car storage, we strive to give our customers the best service they can possibly receive. We look after them as best as we can. This can lead to not only them being extremely happy – but they could tell friends / family / colleagues about us, which is only a good thing for us.
Contact us with any questions or queries and you will receive fantastic service.