When a local business like Taurus Service Centre has been in business for over 14 years – You know they’re doing something right. We spoke with Carol and Khalid the business owners of Taurus Service Centre to find out a bit more about how they grew their business.
Hi Carol and Khalid, thanks for taking the time to chat to us. Firstly, why did you become a tradie?
I became a tradie to make a difference! When I was at uni, studying computer engineering, I had a car that I really loved and wanted something simple to be done on it. When I went to pick up the car from the tradie, it took him 5 minutes to do it and he still charged me $50 and I thought, you know what, I want to do this. Customer service was shocking and I thought nup, if we can offer the customer service and that then I’d really like to do this
What do you love most about being a small business?
Carol: The personal interaction with our customers
Khalid: It’s the sense of belonging. Being a local business, you end up building relationships with people from that local area and it becomes like “I’m going down to a friend’s workshop” rather than “I’m going down to a mechanic”, and also, the support you get out of them.
What are you known for? What makes your business unique?
Carol: Our honesty, reliability, satisfaction. This is what I see, these guys do all the work, but what I see here is the background and I see them happy and they leave with a smile and that’s great satisfaction
Khalid: What makes us different is that there’s no surprises – we always communicate with the customers so when they come in, they know exactly what they are in for. So they come in with a smile and leave with a smile because there’s no hidden surprises.
Carol: We’re upfront with them and tell them this is what needs to be done. We don’t work until they’ve given their approval and they feel a lot more secure that way. They know we’re not ripping them off and we give them the options of what can wait and what can’t, so you speak with them and educate them. Not everyone is mechanically minded so therefore the way the guys represent themselves and speak with their customers, they understand it and they feel the importance of knowing exactly what needs to be done.
What is your top piece of advice for someone about to start up a small business?
Do your homework. It’s not as glamourous as everybody thinks it is. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication. Without a doubt, it’s very hard. Be prepared… be prepared to be the cleaner up to being the owner because you’ll have to do everything with that business.
What are some of the ways you ask your customers to provide feedback with a review?
Carol: We’ve been quite lucky, when we give customers a card from True Local and say, “if you’re happy with the work we’ve done or our service, please, your honest feedback will be great”
Khalid: A lot of the new customers get quite excited when they come to pick up the car and they say “we’re going to let people know”. So I tell them, “if you’re going to do that, do me a favour, put your opinion whether it’s good or bad because it will help us improve at the same time”. A lot of the people will actually log-on and put a review. People will never tell you to your face that they’re not happy, but they’re happy to do it behind.
Carol: We signed up to True Local in 2006 and we’ve only had 2 negative reviews.
Khalid: We had one guy who gave us 1 star and he completely bagged us – the beautiful thing is, I didn’t know about it straight away, but customers have replied back to him and it was awesome. I jumped on and responded saying “if there’s something we’ve done and you’re not happy with, we advise that you come back”.
Carol: We always respond to our reviews – we always thank them for their kind words since they’ve taken the time and effort.
What advice would you give to other local business who might want to increase their online reviews on platforms like True Local?
It works both ways – you work with the customer, and the customer works with you, then that will go around word-of-mouth and people will google and see our True Local listing that always appears on top.
For us, a lot of our customers feel obliged to do something in return and it’s usually to asking them to give a review to spread the good word. We get cakes, dinners, lunches but we simply ask them to go on True Local and leave a review.
[Khalid and Carol have such close relationships with their customers and they know how important it is, especially being a local business.] It’s only a small community here and there’s so much cut-throat competition, but we deal with it with respect and integrity.
Why are online reviews and feedback valuable to you?
It gives us exposure and helps us to understand that we are doing the right thing for our customers.
Unfortunately as tradies, we do have quite a shady name out there and as I say, bad news travels fast, but True Local has made good news travel faster. It’s exposed us to a lot of different avenues. We’ve received comments from people over the phone saying they’ve read the positive reviews on our True Local listing.
How do you go above and beyond your customers?
Giving it our 100% – we treat our customers’ cars as if they’re our own cars, so we look at the little things as well, not just the big job. For example, the (car) interior light, that people often forget about and when they get into the car later and it lights up, they realise “oh, they picked it up”.
Do you have any tips and tricks on your true Local listing for other small business owners?
Keep your content up-to-date such as new photos. The site is very good for what is intended. What makes True Local so unique is the reviews – the simplicity in it. I use True Local on a normal basis, to look for things, because straight away it gives me insight into the business. There’s people telling you their opinion, and people don’t like to lie so people will tell you the truth.