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Repair Shop Advice


Monday, August 19, 2019

It’s expensive to gain a customer.  That’s because other shops want those customers, too.  In fact, big shops and franchises spend tons of money advertising to get new customers – sending coupons or mailers to their houses, buying Google ads, and in some cases even buying TV or radio commercials.

They do all of this knowing they’ll never make that money back when a customer stops by for an oil change or a brake replacement.  They’re doing it because they’re hoping that the customer keeps visiting them for years.

After the first visit, the big franchise shops and dealerships also spend heavily to keep them coming back.  They might give them a rewards card or a coupon book.  They might collect their email and address so they can mail them even more discounts.

None of this early business is profitable.  These shops are spending tremendous amounts of money to build a habit.  They want the customer to passively return to the shop without considering the alternatives.  Once the customer starts visiting the shop by habit, the business becomes profitable.

Great Customer Service is the Best Business Hack in the World

Most independent shops don’t have enough money laying around to buy business like this.  Fortunately, if you’re doing a great job at the front desk, you don’t need to.  If you’re just opening the shop, you might need to work hard to get your first customers in the door, but once they’re there it’s not hard to provide service that far exceeds expectations.  Pay attention to the customer when you’re on the phone with them.  Give your service advisor the tools they need to work with the customer.  Patiently explain problems to customers, and give them options to get their vehicle back on the road.


When customers feel like you provided honest service and took their needs and requests into account, they won’t need a coupon book mailed to them to remember which shop they visited last.  If you go out of your way to help them get to a meeting on time, or if you tell them they have a problem but it doesn’t need to be fixed immediately, they’ll remember that you looked out for them.  They’ll turn into loyal customers that follow advice without questioning the price – in short, they’ll turn into your most profitable customers.

Unlike the customers who are lured in with repeated coupons and radio ads, these customers also won’t be coming to you out of habit.  They won’t be passive customers – they will be active ones.  That means you can rely on them for referrals and online reviews, especially if you ask them for the favor.  Both of these things will bring you new customers, but they don’t cost a dime.  All you have to do is to keep knocking customer service out of the park.

Don’t get complacent!

It’s easy to focus on customers when you don’t have many of them.  It gets a lot harder when your shop is full of vehicles and the weekend is nearing.  You’ve still got to make sure your service is top notch – even phone calls with customers you don’t have the time to help.

A great reputation can be destroyed even more quickly than it was created.  An unfriendly response from your business can turn into a one-star review whether you perform work on the person’s vehicle or not.  Negative word-of-mouth and poor reviews will have immediate impacts.  The car count will start dropping but the bills will keep coming. If this happens, all of those expensive ads might start looking like the only way out.  It much cheaper to keep the focus on customer service, even if it reduces the number of customers you can serve!

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


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Searching well on Google is one of the most cost-effective ways for auto repair shops to earn business, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Click here for three ways to earn business while you’re waiting for your new website to “take hold” and generate results.

 


Monday, July 22, 2019

A man you’ve never met rides up in a nice truck, and explains he’s a new fleet operator getting ready to set up in town.  He’s looking for a dependable auto repair shop to provide service for his fleet vehicles, and he’s heard good things about your shop. 

After a 20-minute chat about pricing and service times, he says he’s going to give your business a shot.  He’ll start running work through there in a couple of weeks.  Right now, however, he’s looking to stock some tires for his long haul trucks.  Can you order a couple dozen commercial tires for him?  He’s got a credit card, and he’s happy to pay on delivery and pick them up himself.



If you’re a bit short on business, this is an opportunity that’s hard to pass up.  But it’s probably not an opportunity at all, and you should definitely pass it up.  That’s because the odds are high that the credit card is stolen, and by the time you get the call from the bank about that fraudulent credit card, those tires will be three states away.  You’re stuck with the $30,000 chargeback, and the rage that comes with having no recourse against the criminal who stole the tires from you in broad daylight.

This is just one example of how small businesses can get caught in the middle an expensive scam – and business scams are becoming faster and more sophisticated every day: 

  • Shop computers can get infected with ransomware, and your customer data can be held ransom for thousands of dollars.
  • Employees can quit and take your customer list with them, handing it to their new employer to advertise to them without you ever realizing it.
  • “Customers” can walk in to your shop, see a username and password next to your computer, and use that access to gather the information they need to try and steal your business identity and your money with it.

These types of attacks have been big news for big businesses for years.  But they’re increasingly targeting small businesses, too, in large part because smaller businesses don’t yet have the same safeguards in place to prevent these attacks.  And while you can’t let paranoia prevent you from doing business, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you aren’t bankrupted by a single bad decision:

  • Don’t take credit cards from new customers for large part purchases.
  • Make sure you have a reliable, always up-to-date anti-virus program on your shop computers.
  • Don’t leave sensitive data such as usernames and passwords out in the open, and don’t allow full-database export rights to every employee in your shop.

Most importantly, if someone shows up to your shop offering the deal of a lifetime, approach it with a healthy amount of skepticism.  It only takes one bad deal to cost you the business that you’ve put a lifetime of work into.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help you grow your shop, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

When you open a new shop, it can take years for locals to think of you when they hear the words “auto repair.” But there are steps you can take to increase your visibility and memorability, which will speed this process up considerably.

Click here for five of the most effective techniques to become known more quickly.

 


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

At big businesses, revenues are just now starting to come under pressure after a solid decade of growth.  Because they are focused on quarterly earnings, their response is predictable; they’ll fire staff, reducing their service quality so they can boost profits.  Of course, this will result in a flood of customer cancellations, but that will be someone else’s problem three or four quarters from now.


Small businesses, many of which have been pillars of the community for generations, know they can’t afford this mentality.  Customer loyalty is what businesses need most during challenging financial times, and companies don’t earn it by treating their customers worse.  In fact, spending more on customer service can boost profits handsomely at auto repair shops.  Here are three blogs that highlight ways to do that:

Bad Customer Service is Like Setting Money on Fire

In any given year, over half of all people will back out of a purchase because of bad customer service.  During most of these transactions, the business probably has no idea why they lost the customer.  That’s because bad customer service isn’t generally an intentional decision – it’s an unconscious choice to prioritize your job over your customers.  That’s a bad idea, because you can’t have one without the other!

Upcycle Your Auto Repair Shop’s Customers

It’s expensive to gain new customers.  Whether you’re relying on postcards, online ads, or just the time and effort it takes to maintain a solid business rating online, marketing is a major expense for most shops.

That’s why it’s so important to make the most of the customers you already have!  If you aren’t ‘upcycling’ your best customers by converting them into advocates for your shop, you’re missing out on most of the return on investment you could be earning from any marketing initiative.

You Want the Job, But What’s Your Body Language Saying?

Many customers’ first interaction with an auto repair shop is via phone, so unsurprisingly there are plenty of resources that explain phone etiquette.  Not all customers call before visiting however, and even those that do present many opportunities for service sales beyond that first call.  That’s why it’s important to know the basics of body language.  You might be following a great script, but are you still coming off as disinterested, evasive, or untrustworthy because of some simple signals you don’t even know you’re conveying?

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop earn more business, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

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I cannot believe what a state of the art website that you created for us. We started getting website contacts and telephone calls from our website almost instantly! The first 5 customers spent $1,723 and we got 9 new customers in the first month alone.

John Aldridge, owner
A & A Tire and Auto Service

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