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Repair Shop Advice

Archive for February, 2021

Selling Maintenance with a Positive Message

February 27th, 2021

While the last 12 months have not been a great time for most local businesses, several factors have helped auto repair shops weather the storm better than many other industries. That’s true even while many people’s vehicles stayed parked in their driveways for months.  Some of these benefits were time-specific. Examples of this include the classification of repair shops as essential businesses, and repair requests from stimulus check recipients who could finally afford them. But one of the best things independent shops have going for them is the average age of a car.

The pandemic pushed some families without second cars to purchase one rather than relying on public transit or ridesharing – this reduced the supply of vehicles and increased their prices further.  And the industry’s current microchip shortage is forcing auto plants to shut down, bringing down new supply even further.

The bottom line is that the average odometer of an in-use vehicle has a higher reading than at any point in history, and that number is only rising.

This is good news and bad news.  One negative of vehicles becoming ever more reliable is that many of them continue to make it down the road for more than 100,000 miles with nothing more than the most essential of maintenance – oil changes, brake service and new tires.  Customers who wait until they get stranded on the side of the road to call you won’t be calling for a long while after they get their vehicle.

But the growing age of vehicles also means that the average driver spends more years than ever behind the wheel of a vehicle without warranty coverage.  Customers who commit to servicing their vehicles well before they start falling apart can expect to spend a decade or longer in them before it makes sense to leave their old vehicle behind.  Even if customers finance a vehicle for five years, that’s a lot of years without a car payment.

The challenge is that many people don’t prioritize maintenance unless they can see or hear a problem.  And because engines and transmissions last longer than ever before breaking down, a vehicle in need of maintenance is less likely to “ride rough” or provide direct feedback to the driver that it’s time for a peek under the hood.  So even as the vehicle is becoming less safe to drive, and maintenance left undone is turning into damage done, owners continue to put off maintenance until its convenient.  Which, of course, is never.

That’s not good for you – but it’s not good for vehicle owners either.  They’re trading a little bit of time and money for a lot of their vehicle’s lifespan.  It turns out that vehicles are a bit like teeth; you show me someone at the dentist with six cavities, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t get cleanings twice a year.

Three Ways to Help Auto Repair Customers See the Value in Maintenance

1. Don’t Make it an Upsell

Have you ever gone into a store to buy a $20 product and had an employee offer you a 3-year warranty for it?  Nobody is paying for that, and they know it.  That’s why they really don’t even bother trying to sell it.  They don’t even tell you what the warranty covers or how it works.  They already have their finger on whatever key takes them to the next screen, and they’re just waiting for your permission to press it.

That’s what happens when the person selling the product doesn’t believe in it – and you’re not going to sell much preventative maintenance if the person talking to the customer feels this way.  Maintenance isn’t an attempt to make a few extra high-margin dollars off of a customer before they can get out of the door.  It’s an opportunity to change your relationship with your customer (see bullet two for more on this).

Before anyone goes into a conversation about the value of preventative maintenance, make sure they have whatever information they need to truly believe it’s in the customer’s best interest to say yes.  Service writers need to feel better, not worse, about how well you’re serving the customer after convincing them to schedule preventative maintenance.

2. Explain How Vehicle Maintenance Makes You the Good Guy

After you’ve dealt with the customer’s repair, tell them you’re always happy to help them however you can, and that you’d appreciate the opportunity to do the scheduled maintenance on their vehicle because it makes you the good guy instead of the bad guy.

When customers don’t let you do preventative maintenance, shops make their money when vehicles break.  The more work required to fix the problem, the more money shops make.  That makes you seem like the bad guy – and because many customers don’t get around to coming in for vehicle maintenance, you have to deliver a lot of bad news.

Scheduled maintenance turns this relationship around.  When customers let you do scheduled maintenance, you make money by keeping their vehicle safe, extending its life and preventing expensive surprises.  You and the customer benefit from the same thing – a reliable vehicle.  That makes for happier customers and it makes your job more enjoyable, too.

3. Show Customers You Care About Your Relationship with Them

Another way to show customers you’re trying to build a relationship with them and not just upsell them is to offer perks and benefits for customers who bring their vehicle in for preventative maintenance checkups at regular intervals.  The benefits to offer depend on your shop’s size, location and equipment, but could include a free car wash or mini-detail with service, discounted labor, priority scheduling, or free or discounted towing if the car is disabled nearby.

It’s also a nice gesture to send regular customers a hand-written note one to two times a year thanking them for their business.  It’s a gesture that they’re not likely to get from the big franchise down the street, and a reminder that their business really does matter to your shop.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help you bring more cars into your shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

How Important Are Online Reviews for Auto Repair Shops in 2021?

February 26th, 2021

A recent study of consumer perception of online reviews shows that reviews continue to grow in importance when it comes to how consumers make decisions. Consider these key points from the survey of more than 1,000 people:

  • 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • Automotive was the #4 industry for which consumers are most likely to read reviews
  • Star rating was the #1 most important review factor
  • Only 48% of consumers would consider using a business with fewer than 4 stars
  • 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month

Those numbers reinforce the importance of review quality, frequency and recency. If you want to bring more business to your shop, here are three things you can do to keep your online reviews working for you in 2021.

Ask for Reviews

This may seem obvious but we still hear from many shop owners who are hesitant to ask their customers for reviews. Asking customers for reviews is the single most important thing you can do if you want to improve your online ratings. Years ago, customers may have viewed this as an unusual or awkward request, but it’s much more common now.  Most consumers have been asked to leave an online review for a product or service by at least one business and probably many more than that at this point.

Happy customers are also far more likely to leave an online review if they’re asked to do it. Asking for reviews from customers who you believe are happy with your service is one big way to have some influence on who leaves online reviews for your shop.

Otherwise, people are more likely to leave a review when their experience is terrible than they are to leave a review when their experience is great. That’s how a good shop gets a bad reputation.

Ask for Details

A key point to consider is that when potential customers look at reviews they like to see themselves in the review. That means they like to see reviews for the service they need and for the experience they expect to have. 

When you ask customers for a review, encourage them to include specific details in the review.  Who did they work with?  What did they have done to their vehicle?  They don’t need to write a book, but people like to see enough details in a review to imagine that they will have the same experience as that person who left the great review. This is a significant factor in leveraging your reviews to get more business.

There’s another benefit to this: Google likes details too, and if customers mention locations or services in their reviews, your business is more likely to show up when people search for those terms.

Respond Well to Criticism

A study from four years ago showed that people believed five stars was too good to be true. Customers were more likely to buy a product or service with 4.7 stars than with 5 stars.

So don’t panic about a four-star review – or even a one-star review. In addition to making your reviews look more realistic, it’s also an opportunity to respond – and show potential customers how you treat unhappy customers.  For some customers, the way that you respond to an unhappy customer is more important than how many happy customers you have. No matter how frustrated you may be with a bad review, respond in a very professional matter. Remember, from a distance people can’t tell who is right and who is wrong so getting into a war of words in a review leaves you with very little to gain and a lot to lose.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop get more reviews, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

Dynamic Auto Repair is Garland TX areas premier repair shop

February 25th, 2021

Dynamic Auto Repair in Garland TX is the place to go to get your car up and running in top condition. Their team  has a passion for cars and will treat you and your vehicle with respect. Some of their services include transmissions, engine maintenance and repair, oil changes, and brake servicing just to name a few. Stop by the shop at 2518 W Kingsley Rd or call 469-969-0043 to schedule an appointment.

Tick’s Auto Repair & Wheel Alignments specializes in keeping your vehicle rolling

February 23rd, 2021

Ipswich MA area Tick’s Auto Repair & Wheel Alignments is the place to go for all of your car repair needs. All repairs are carried out by their certified, expert technicians, and they have years of experience. They do everything from oil changes to a complete engine overhauls. For instance, they use high-tech diagnostic equipment to guarantee your vehicle is repaired. Additionally, they only use the highest quality replacement parts, filters, oils, and components. Call the shop at 978-356-8710 for an appointment. You can also visit them at 113 Central Street today.

Thrifty Car Care Center will treat you like family.

February 17th, 2021

Car repairs can be stressful, but it helps when you have a repair shop you can trust. Family owned and operated since 1980, they will give you honest advice, top-notch service, and fair prices – just like family. Thrifty Car Care Center has been a part of the Evansville, IN for many years and their trained technicians strive to treat you and your vehicles with the utmost respect. They offer an extensive variety of services including  alignments, brake repair, electrical services, heating and air, tires, and engine repairs. Stop by the shop at 4500 East Morgan Ave or call 812-437-5011 today to make an appointment.

Benson’s Automotive Service is Your Neighborhood Auto Repair Specialist

February 16th, 2021

Benson Automotive Service is Peoria’s go-to shop for car repair and maintenance service. All repairs are carried out by their certified, expert technicians, and they have years of experience. They do everything from oil changes to diagnostics to transmission. For instance, they use high-tech diagnostic equipment to guarantee your vehicle is repaired. Additionally, they only use the highest quality replacement parts, filters, oils, and components. Save time by calling 309-682-2011 to schedule an appointment or just stop by at 2453 Knoxville Ave and drop your vehicle off at their shop.

 

New England Automotive is Burlington Vermont’s Go-To Repair Shop

February 16th, 2021

New England Automotive is the place to go for auto service and repairs when you are in the Burlington Vermont area. Throughout owner Dustin’s years repairing cars New England Automotive has developed and earned a reputation for honest service and straight-forward advice. Their loyal customers keep coming back because they know that they can trust Dustin to give them all the information they need to make an informed decision. Some of the services they offer include oil changes, brake service and repair, diagnostics, heating and A/C service and repair and more. Stop by the shop at 2071 Williston Road or call 802-660-9700 today to schedule your appointment.

Gabriel’s Auto Repair is the Aurora IL area’s most trusted repair shop!

February 15th, 2021

Car repairs can be stressful, but it helps when you have a repair shop you can trust. Family owned and operated since 1989, the team will give you honest advice, top-notch service, and fair prices – just like family. Gabriel’s Auto Repair has been a part of the Aurora IL for 27 years and their trained technicians strive to treat you and your vehicles with the utmost respect. They offer an extensive variety of services including, alignments, brake repair, electrical services, heating and air, tires, and engine repairs. Stop by the shop at 901 Aurora Avenue or call 630-896-1323 today to make an appointment.

Kristian’s Auto and Truck Repair can do whatever your vehicles need!

February 10th, 2021

Kristian’s Auto & Truck Repair in Oaks, PA is the place to go to get your car up and running in top condition. Their team has a passion for cars and will treat you and your vehicle with respect. Some of their services include transmissions, engine maintenance and repair, oil changes, and brake servicing just to name a few. Stop by the shop at 960 North Drive or call 215-398-2329 to schedule an appointment.

Michael’s Automotive & Sound Inc. has the years of experience needed to fix up your car to perfection

February 9th, 2021

Randallstown, MD area Michael’s Automotive & Sound Inc. is the place to go for all of your car repair needs. All repairs are carried out by their certified, expert technicians, and they have years of experience. They do everything from oil changes to a complete engine overhauls. For instance, they use high-tech diagnostic equipment to guarantee your vehicle is repaired. Additionally, they only use the highest quality replacement parts, filters, oils, and components. Let them set your vehicle up with a new sound system while you’re there. Call the shop at 410-922-8411 for an appointment. You can also visit them at 8609 Liberty Rd today.