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Repair Shop Advice


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.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Big businesses use something called “bus factor” to make sure they aren’t set up for failure down the road.  The bus factor is a funny, yet morbid, way of referencing how prepared you are for employee emergencies.  The bus factor is defined as:

How many people would have to be hit by a bus before this project falls apart because there aren’t enough people who know how to run it?

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The good news is that none of your employees are likely to get hit by a bus.  But unfortunately, every day there are auto repair shops that unexpectedly have to deal with an employee who suddenly can’t come to work for months; some employees never make it back to work.  This often happens during bad circumstances, like a sudden illness or injury, or a death in the family.  Referencing an uncommon event such as being hit by a bus is a way to avoid having to discuss planning for unfortunate events that lead to team members being at the shop one day and suddenly gone the next.

Although many independent auto repair shops have a small, tight-knit team, that doesn’t make the bus factor any less important.  In fact, it makes it more important.  If you’ve had the same staff for years, the odds are high that everyone has been performing their own unique tasks for years.  That means there’s very little knowledge overlap on certain tasks – and if one person was suddenly not at your shop, there would be a steep learning curve to make up for that employee’s absence.

To avoid this fate, at least two people need to be cross-trained on any critical shop task or service.  The “back-up” should also have an opportunity to practice the task or service from time-to-time, to make sure they remember how to do it and that no major changes have arisen since they were last trained.

Documentation is also important.  People do forget processes that they don’t get to use regularly, and it’s a terrible time to realize you’ve forgotten a process after the primary task owner isn’t around to remind you.  Documentation is extremely important for tasks that have a single point of failure for security reasons, such as maintaining shop books or paying staff.  Without training or documentation, a shop can easily go bankrupt while family and staff scramble to learn how to accomplish the most basic elements of business management.

Cross-training also has the major side effect of lowering stress levels.  When employees do need to be out of the office unexpectedly, it’s often because of a stressful event that has happened in their lives.  Knowing that someone is able to take over their duties at work and execute them well allows the employee to focus on getting through whatever personal curveballs life may have thrown their way without feeling like anyone is being let down by their absence.

Would your shop survive the absence of any one employee?  If not, your shop and the families that depend on it would benefit from a plan to execute in the absence of any one of your key employees. That list should include you.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your 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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