The demands of running your shop can be challenging – making timely repairs, managing inventory, training employees, marketing your business – but they’re certainly rewarding.

But as a small business owner, you know what drives your success. And that’s providing the customers in your shop with great value and great service.

What are you doing specifically to make sure your customers keep returning?

To keep your customers happy and appreciative, here are 10 simple steps you can take to make them feel good when something goes bad with their car.

1. Be sure you listen to customers, really listen to them.

Listen to exactly what they say about their car, and what problem they’re having. When they know you’re truly paying attention to them, and not just looking at them as dollar signs, they’ll feel confident they came to the right place.

2. Never lie to a customer.

This should be a given, but people almost expect a service shop to fudge the truth. So, stand out from your competition by simply communicating honestly about how you can help repair their cars, what’s involved with each repair, and how much it will cost. And don’t try scare tactics like saying something makes the car too dangerous to drive. Always be truthful, or you’ll never see them again.

3. Meet three repair qualifications.

For the repair service you provide, make sure: it’s quick; it’s of the highest quality; and it’s trustworthy.

4. Always keep your cool.

Understand that no matter how good a job you do, there will be an upset customer here and there. When that happens, always maintain your composure and look to resolve disputes in an acceptable, calm, professional manner.

Turning an angry customer into a satisfied one speaks volumes about your excellent customer service.

5. Treat all your customers with respect and courtesy.

After all, they’re paying your salary. And treat your employees with the same respect and courtesy. That ensures they’ll treat customers the same way.

6. Use social media to your advantage.

A Facebook page can be really helpful if you make it about cars in general, not just about your business. Customers will appreciate and enjoy it more if you do. Post items geared to car safety, seasonal driving tips, basic maintenance, auto trivia, car-buying advice, etc. Produce how-to videos showing simple do-it-yourself tasks, like changing wiper blades, checking tire pressure, and adding fluids. And project a pleasant personality along with a sense of humor.

By using online technology to position yourself as a trusted auto resource, you’ll put a real face to your business, not just be that faceless repair place down on the corner.

7. Implement customer-friendly policies.

Such as loyalty discounts, money-back guarantees, guaranteed turnaround times, and free vehicle inspections. These show you really care about caring for your customers and their cars.

8. Put your expertise on display.

Once a customer is in your shop, keep building on their trust by making sure you display the trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced coursework, and ASE certifications for your employees. They all represent recognized levels of technical competence, reassuring customers they’re in the right place.

9. Show your community pride.

Let customers see anything demonstrating your community involvement. Plaques for civic involvement, sponsorships of local events, membership in the Better Business Bureau and other consumer groups shows you care about your community. And when customers know that, they know you care about the people living in it.

10. Be upfront about your rates and fees.

To reinforce your good customer service, show all your rates, fees, guarantees, accepted methods of payment, etc. right in the front office or waiting room. Let your customers see them, and that way there are no surprises.

In today’s highly competitive – and highly interconnected – world, you need to pay more than lip service to the ideal of good customer service.