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Ray Allegrezza

Service drives sales success

Ray AllegrezzaRay Allegrezza
The other day I was surfing online looking for information about customer service.
     After poring over screens of information, I next checked to see which product segments have the dubious distinction of being high on consumers' hate lists.
     Not surprisingly furniture stores were right up there.
     I say not surprisingly, because I routinely get calls from consumers who beg me to call a particular furniture retailer or supplier on their behalf.
     If it makes you feel somewhat better, the research I did showed that lots of consumers said that maybe the only thing more miserable than buying furniture was buying a car
     But I know that is not always the case. The reason I know is that I recently got to meet Tim Ciasulli, CEO of privately held car dealer Planet Honda in New Jersey.
     I first heard about Tim from Kevin Freiberg, a well-known author of business bestsellers. Kevin featured Tim in his book "Guts," which examines 25 leaders who blow the doors off business as usual.
     Tim has grown Planet Honda into the nation's most successful car dealership on the foundation of two core principles: employees for life and customers for life.
     For both groups, Tim has achieved the unimaginable - he has made buying a car fun.
     Ciasulli had the guts to make his employees' welfare his personal concern. To create a one-of a- kind customer experience, Tim made sure that every aspect of the dealership functioned for the customer's convenience and pleasure.
     The employee attrition rate at Planet Honda is less than 1% annually.
     As for customers, they not only buy more cars at Plant Honda than at any other Honda dealership, they also spend more per car as well.
     After reading about this remarkable guy, I went to cars.com and checked out Plant Honda reviews. Here's just a few of the headlines from his customers: "Magnificent!" "Excellent Customer Service," "Planet Honda Rocks," "Great Dealership!"
     The reason he is getting rave reviews is simple - he spent the time and money needed to conduct focus groups with consumers to find out what their expectations were when visiting a car dealership.
     But Tim didn't stop there. He created an experience that surpassed the customer's expectations. And in the process, he made customers for life.
     Are you driving your business in such a way that you're getting the same kinds of reviews?

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