Before my time working at Repair Shop Websites, I conducted business research in the pharmaceutical industry. I interviewed some very smart people along the way. Some of the best bits of wisdom I received were the ones that seemed the most obvious.
One quote that stuck with me came from an executive who helped small companies that were being acquired by some of the biggest names in the industry.
“When you want something, just ask,” she said. “The worst that can happen is that they’ll say no.”
The truth is that it can be uncomfortable to ask someone for something they might not want to give you. People miss opportunities for first dates, salary increases and lower car and home purchase prices because they’re too scared of rejection to ask for them.
Whether it’s the shop owner, service advisor or another employee, this can happen a lot in auto repair shops too. Here are three things repair shops want (or should want) but often don’t ask for.
#1 Online Reviews
It’s a well-established fact that people rely on online reviews to decide where to buy local services including auto repair. And Repair Shop Websites’ own research has proven that customers are over three times more likely to leave a review if they’re asked to do so. Despite this, many repair shops don’t ask for reviews from customers they know are happy with the service they received.
The reasons vary. In some cases, the service manager frequently forgets to ask. In others, shop staff don’t want to make the customer feel pressured into saying nice things about the shop. But one of the biggest reasons shop staff don’t ask for reviews is that it feels awkward to ask a customer for a favor right after they paid for service.
It shouldn’t. For most customers, it’s a much smaller request than asking them to part with a few extra dollars for high-mileage oil or upgraded wiper blades. And even if they don’t intend to leave you a review, they probably aren’t going to tell you that.
If you feel like a customer had a good experience (or if they tell you they’re happy with the shop), take the extra ten seconds to explain that great reviews help bring more people into the shop. Tell them it would help you out if they could post a review about what services were done to their vehicle and what the experience was like. We’ve even put together this quick guide on how to ask! And we provide a tool to our customers that makes it really easy to email their happy customers to ask for a review.
If just 10% of your customers give you positive reviews, there’s a good chance you’ll be the most-reviewed (and best-reviewed) shop in town within six months. That will have a major impact on your shop’s search results.
#2 New Employees
There are some places where it makes sense to be careful advertising your need for additional employees. If a Help Wanted sign is the biggest one on your shop window (or on your website) customers might assume you’re too busy to handle their vehicle and take their business elsewhere. Competitors could also try and use your staff shortage against you when talking with potential customers.
With that said, you shouldn’t miss any opportunities to let people know you’re hiring new technicians or service writers. As you are probably well aware, there is a major shortage of auto repair technicians in particular – if someone can get the word out to an interested technician that your shop has an opening, it’s probably worth the risk you’re taking to advertise that information. So be sure to let friends, family, business associates and anybody else who might be able to help know that you are looking for somebody.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employees for referrals, either! If your employees are having to work extra hours to keep the doors open, they’re not going to be upset that you’re trying to fix the problem. In fact, offering a sizeable referral bonus to any employee who helps you find a technician is a great way to show them that you’re willing to put money towards solving the problem. Over-worked employees will appreciate that fact – even if they don’t have anyone to refer at the time you ask.
#3 New Service Revenue
Nobody enjoys the dreaded upsell.
When you buy an electronic device at the store and the employee at the checkout has to offer you a 3 year “replacement plan”, you can tell they hate asking if you want it. You can tell they know your answer, too; they already have their finger above the button to take them to the next screen.
If your shop offers a service that your employees loathe selling this much, don’t ever ask your employees to sell that service to your customers again.
But you probably don’t have a service like this. If you run an independent shop, you offer services that you believe are a good value to your customers. And if you’ve invested in training or equipment to offer a new service, it’s because you think it’s valuable, too. Ideally, your service writers and technicians have been trained on that value, and they believe in the service as well.
So don’t upsell customers – educate them! The best way to make those investments worthwhile is to make sure your customers know about your new services. If you were excited enough about a new service to buy the equipment required to offer it, let that excitement come through when you tell your customers about it.
If they don’t take you up on the offer, that doesn’t reflect poorly on you for offering it! You’re just doing your job, which is telling them what you think is best for their vehicle. Even if they don’t take you up on the offer today, they could always come back and ask for it when the problem it addresses becomes more obvious or more significant.
If you really want to avoid the perception of an upsell, there are even more laid-back ways to educate customers. You can tell them about the service after you’ve given them the receipt for today’s service, which makes it a nearly pressure-free interaction. You can staple printed material about the service on their invoice, which lets customers read about it when they aren’t face-to-face with you. But don’t be shy about letting customers know all about your new services. That’s the best way to earn a return on your investment – and to allow you to keep investing in new services, so your shop can keep up to date with fast-changing vehicle service requirements.
To learn how Repair Shop Websites can bring more business to your shop, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com to learn more!