Repair Shop Advice

Posts Tagged ‘NWZ WORX’

Connecting – NWZ WORX Article for Repair Shops

February 14th, 2013

“To influence your target audience have meaningful content in order to engage them consistently.”

What Is This Buzz About Content?

Lately it seems that every publication I pick up, whether it is automotive or marketing, is telling me “content is king.”  I never realized content had gone out of fashion but then I read that so many businesses had been trying to beat Google’s algorithm changes that meaningful content had been sacrificed to ensure “key words” were in place.  Google caught on to that of course and if content was bland but full of keywords, it wasn’t getting the placement it did in the past.

What is considered good content?  Good content has one or more of the following qualities: 

  • Does it answer questions a customer/prospect might have?
  • Does it entertain a customer/prospect?
  • Will a customer/prospect find the content informative?
  • Will the content work across other platforms such as Facebook, Google +, and others?

 The goal is to engage customers/prospects with good content.  This enables you to build a stronger relationship with your current customers and builds trust with prospects so that they may become customers in the future. 

 What if you don’t have time to write meaningful content?  Use pictures with captions.  For example, the word “sludge” sounds terrible but a “before and after” picture on the subject of sludge would really make an impression on a customer/prospect.  When they say a picture is worth a thousand words…many times they are right on target. 

 Next time you are updating your website keep “content” in mind. 


Connecting – NWZ WORX Article for Repair Shops

January 2nd, 2013

“In marketing, the message is the same only the delivery is different.”

I’ve been in the marketing world for many years now and I’ve noticed many things but mostly, I’ve noticed that the marketing message stays constant for the automotive industry…only how you deliver the message changes.

For generations the independent auto repair shops have been telling people they need to keep their vehicles in good working order. I’ve seen postcards so old they have gone beyond yellowed to a brown tone from the 1920’s reminding people to care for their cars. Those shops were letting their customers know they get the best work for the best value at their shop. Automotive repair shops are still saying that today!

I was reading an article about the “great age divide” when it comes to purchasing. It seems Baby Boomers still enjoy clipping coupons or downloading them and the Gen Y and Gen X generation prefer using their Smartphones to look for the best deals while they are on the go! This tells us that the over 50 crowd likes to plan ahead and will use those coupons you mail or put in publications or post to your website. They will clip and download and present you with the coupon when they drop off the car for service/repair. The younger generations aren’t going to think that far ahead. When they decide they want their car serviced it will be a more spontaneous moment and they will look for a deal on their Smartphone and they will only come to your shop with the phone in hand. Are you ready for that? These “in the moment” generations will make an appointment online in most instances but that too will be done on the spur of the moment.

Some repair shops are more than happy just to deal with Baby Boomers. They spend a total of 3.4 trillion a year compared to Gen Y who spend $200 billion a year. Gen Y is just getting started, however and is a force to be reckoned with if you want to keep your business going strong for years to come.

Next time you are out pay attention to the different generations. (Of course any time you write about generations or gender there will always be exceptions to the rule.)
You will notice that for the most part, the more mature groups are looking around them and although they may have a Smartphone it isn’t in constant use. Now look at the younger generations. I see a 20-something young woman walking her dog, never looking up as she is holding a leash in one hand and texting on her phone with the other. I have seen younger generations out to dinner…they aren’t talking to each other…they are looking at their phones. I have seen young men and women pulling along their luggage at airports while texting all the while…even on escalators! If you want to fully connect with this group…connect with their Smartphone!

I hope 2013 is your best year yet! Happy New Year!

Dealing With Change

November 9th, 2012

“Learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~Eric Hoffer

 In the last few years technology has changed so quickly it has been a challenge to keep up.  We learn one marketing strategy and before we can stop and rest on our laurels another strategy has to be learned. Who would have thought 10 years ago that we could have our Internet “in the cloud” and fax machines replaced. When customers send me a fax it goes straight to my inbox. Goodbye fax machines! Missed a call?  No problem, the message will be sent straight to our inbox with all the information we need.  Our shop owners have customers that want coupons in an instant.  No problem…we have an app for that! If I had to figure out how to harness all this technology myself, it would have been a long drawn out process. Fortunately for me I am blessed with high tech people in my life that made these transitions painless and I’m sure going forward it will continue to be a good experience.


The point of this is some of your customers are used to a high tech world.  They want to do things the way they want, when they want.  An automotive service and repair shop has to learn about more than just the latest technology for servicing and repairing all makes and models of cars; they have to learn to embrace technology at the counter.They have to learn (or appear to have learned) how to make technology work to please their customers.  Fortunately you too have a source to help you be high tech without the pain.  You have Repair Shop Websites.


Consumers of all ages look to you to keep their vehicles in tip top shape.  Since you deal with all ages you have to have coupons available…their way (because right now we live in the coupon age)! 


  • Some customers will want to clip coupons from the newspaper or direct mail pieces.
  • Some customers will want to download coupons from your website.
  • Some customers will want you to scan a coupon from their mobile phone.
  • Some customers will want their coupons to come to their inbox.


Today we have to take care of all our customers.  You can’t throw out the traditional methods and just embrace the new…you have to please the traditionalists, the boomers, the Gen X’s and the Gen Y’s. 


Help each customer find a coupon their way!  Keep your website updated.  Don’t have a “coupon” or “special” tab that leads your customers to an expired coupon.  That only frustrates them.  Your website is for consumers…keep it refreshed and they will visit more often to look for those coupons.  You didn’t build the website to entertain you…you built it for your customers.  Make it a wonderful experience each and every time they visit.


If you really want to make a customer happy; when they come in without a coupon, go online for them and print out the coupon.  They will be delighted and it will introduce them to your website in a very pleasant way.


Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or concerns!

Thanks! Rhonda

Getting What You Pay For – Help Me Rhonda Featured Article

July 21st, 2011

“The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things–the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.”

Automotive service and repair shops have recently discovered that some of their long time customers have started doing business with shade-tree mechanics that have set up shop in their garages. These people may not have the expertise, the equipment and certainly not the warranty but they are doing it for a cut rate and getting their parts from the junk yards and buying the cheapest parts they can find from auto parts stores…and they enjoy tinkering with cars. These customers are getting what they paid for…a cut rate service or repair and no warrantee!


I was reading an article in Advertising Age this week. The writer was sharing his amazement. He was working on a bid for a web project for a client when the marketing director informed him that they appreciated the months of effort he and his company had put into the project, but they had decided to go in another direction. It turned out that the man who owned the coffee shop next door had built his own website and offered to do theirs too. When looking at the site, it was just an online brochure…but it was cheap! I am sure they got exactly what they paid for…not much.


I know I have been similarly amazed when a shop owner has decided to turn their marketing over to a relative with no experience. They were cutting their budget and this relative needed a part-time job and liked to dabble a bit. They obviously felt an expert wasn’t necessary. Again I am sure they got exactly what they paid for.


Have you noticed how many people claim to be experts in social media? What constitutes an expert in this field? Are there social media degrees? No. Are their social media certifications? No. Many times it is just someone sitting at home in their pajamas trying to make a few extra dollars. We must all be careful who we allow to interact with our customers. Be very cautious who you pay to do this service for you.


The point of this article is that in these trying economical times it is so tempting to pay less money to get a job done without thinking it through. Consumers are looking for creative ways to save the family budget and business owners are anxious to keep their bottom line intact. In the quest to save money we (I use “we” because we are all consumers) are often overlooking what real value is. Consumers need to be reminded that expertise equals value because the job will be done right and experts back up their work with warrantees and guarantees. How can you spread the word?


• Your website is an excellent place to start. You may need to spell it out for customers and prospects that expert car service and repair saves them money in the long run and keeps them and those sharing the road with them safer.
• Post an article on Facebook and/or write about it on your blog
• Remind others through every communication you use (online, direct mail, deal sites, reminders, group meetings such as Chamber and BNI)
• It may be time to explain your credentials once again. Many consumers still don’t know what ASE means! This is not the time to hide your education! Let consumers know that you and your staff have ongoing training to keep up with the never ending changes on today’s vehicles.


We all know someone in this economy who has lost their job. We all know businesses that need to trim the budget. What we must decide is…do we want experts or amateurs? Do we want just cheap or do we want value? We all get what we pay for.


Rhonda Hiltbrand
Chief Operating Officer
NWZ WORX Multimedia & WorldWide Connectors
Automotive Marketing & Business Consulting, Direct Mail & Technology Services
4270 Mt. Carmel Tobasco Rd.
Cincinnati OH 45244
FAX: 513-688-8303

Marketing With Limited Funds by Rhonda Hiltbrand of NWZ WORX

February 21st, 2011

There is no doubt about it, running a business in today’s economy is tough!  Consumers are driving fewer miles so they need to see you less often.  I just read this account today:

By Eric Schurenberg – CBS Moneywatch (It has been a rough few years)

34% Percent of Americans who say they or their spouse lost a job in the recession

27% Percent who say their personal finances won’t recover until after the end of this year

24% Percent who say their personal finances won’t ever fully recover

32 – U.S. ranking in consumer confidence of 53 nations worldwide

You know you need to market to keep business coming in so what is a shop owner to do?  When budgets are tight you can still market your business.  It takes more effort but does cost less!

Website – Be proactive with your website.  If you don’t have one, get one.  I can recommend a wonderful company that will have you up and running in no time. You don’t want a static website.  That is just a brochure.  You want one that you can add/delete and change up from time to time.  You don’t have to spend a fortune either. Check out this company.  You’ll be glad you did!  If you do a newsletter or a flyer or any type of marketing, they will be glad to place it on your website for you.  Just think…you can mail out or email a marketing piece to your customers, then let it do double duty by placing it on your website for prospects to see!  We send our mutual customers’ newsletters/flyers/blog posts to them and they place it on their website!  Double duty marketing!!

Facebook – I have so many customers who scramble to set up Facebook…then completely forget it.  Facebook alone won’t get your customers to come in more often.  You actually have to be a presence on Facebook…frequently. I’m not saying you have to say something each and every day…but at least once a week!  Facebook allows customers to know you on a more personal level.  You can put a coupon on Facebook too!  It takes time…but doesn’t cost you any money at all!

Email Blasts – Print mail is great but it is more expensive.  If you collect email addresses you can send an email blast instead.  For example, NWZ WORX can still write, design and layout your piece, but instead of printing and mailing, we would email it for you at a fraction of the cost of print/mail.  It still looks like you emailed it! Or…you could just send a text email yourself. It takes effort…you have to collect the email addresses.

The Telephone – If the above are not an option, then consider making telephone calls.  Customers usually enjoy talking to their car care provider.  You may just get a voice mail but cheerfully remind them of their next service and that you look forward to seeing them soon.  It just takes time.

Joint Effort: Join forces with a collision shop and share the cost of your marketing piece.  You both need the exposure!

I hope this helps!  Don’t get discouraged and whatever you do…don’t stop marketing.  Large corporations actually ramp up their marketing when business is slow and spend more.  I completely understand that this may not be an option for you but I wanted to send you some alternatives.  When the dollars are low you can still reach out and benefit from marketing.  It just takes more effort and time.  It will see you through until the economy turns around.  If you stop marketing yourself altogether, when it does turn around you may be left behind if your competition kept on marketing.  Those who market themselves will win!

If you are one of these shops I am here to help you like always!  Just contact me!



Following Up with Customers at a Repair Service Shop

June 25th, 2010

Rhonda Hiltbrand of NWZ WORX writes, “I have the privilege from time-to-time to work with service advisors behind the counter.  It is interesting to see how easy so many of you make it look when I can see it is so involved.  To the customer, it looks easy!  They just come in and drop the keys off.  The service advisor calls and tells them the service needed and the cost involved.  They return and pick up their finished vehicle and pay.  End of story.  Seems so flawless and effortless.


The majority of you do an outstanding job, are great on the telephone as well as in person, always sounding so calm, pleasant and helpful. What the customer doesn’t see is the effort you have to put forth for every job. Finding the parts, pricing and ordering take time.  Most of you are a bit apprehensive when it comes to selling the big ticket jobs to the customer but usually do it well!  I think it is because you come across as ‘helping’ the customer, not just ‘servicing’ the customer. 


Why do customers turn down certain services?  I’ve seen this happen all over the country.  Why turn down a brake fluid flush but do all the other recommended services? Why refuse an air filter replacement? These are the kinds of things that make you go…hmmmmm. 


We can only surmise that the customers have to pick and choose the most pressing items because of budget restraints.  That is understandable.  The big question is…how to get that service accomplished and when? The items refused aren’t necessarily big ticket items…in fact…the majority of items customers seem to be turning down are inexpensive.  The fact that you recommended them means these services need to be done and sooner rather than later.


These unsold items mean the customers’ cars aren’t as safe as they could be and it also means your shop is losing out on dollars sold.  These small items add up to big dollars over time!  If you feel the service can truly wait until the next visit 3,000 miles or so down the road, that is fine.  Just make sure you note that the service was turned down and emphasize its importance when the customer comes in again.  If you feel it really needs to be dealt with sooner, a follow up call or an email reminder a couple of weeks after their initial visit is a good idea.   


You might also want to use visual aids.  Showing a customer a ‘dirty’ air filter and telling them what the filter’s purpose is may prove helpful.  Showing them what ‘clean’ fluid looks like as opposed to ‘dirty’ fluid might also give them a sense of urgency.  Should your parts supplier actually be running a special a few weeks later on the refused service/repair part let the customer know.  It may encourage them to take care of the situation sooner rather than later.”

The War for Prospects-Now in Your Favor…

June 9th, 2010

If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a dozen times, how can I get new customers, I need new customers? The bottom line is that prospecting is extremely difficult and will always be difficult but a new tool has come on the market that just may give you the edge you’ve been looking for.

It is called Housing Connectors. This start-up company has an approach that gives you a huge leg up on your competition. I’ve been marketing for the independent repair industry for over 21 years and when I see a concept like this, I have to tell you about it.

What makes Housing Connectors different than other new mover programs is that you are given the opportunity to contact a prospective mover even before they MOVE. This can give you a four months lead over others! If you sign up, you will be given exclusivity for as many zip codes as you need for just one low price. And because they are a start-up company, you will receive an additional three months absolutely free giving you a15 month’s contract instead of 12.

Here is how it works. When a prospective mover enters the website an email is sent to you letting you know an individual is moving in your direction. This person or family can either be renting or buying. As soon as a contract is signed, you will again be notified. It will be up to you or a marketing company you hire to contact this family and congratulate them on their upcoming move and to introduce your services.

There are no guarantees when prospecting but when you are given the opportunity to talk to someone, one to one without any competitive interference, it gives you an advantage. There will also be the opportunity to set up your own business networking group like no other.

If you are interested in getting more information on this affordable new mover program, you can get on the ground floor with minimal risk and exclusivity; call NWZ WORX Multimedia at 800-473-0202 ASAP. Housing Connectors will only hold your zip codes for us to give you for a short time.

It costs you nothing to find out more,

George S. Zabrecky

CEO President, NWZ WORX, Multimedia

Repair Shop Websites partner

NWZ WORX Multimedia: Repair Shop Websites Feature Story

May 18th, 2010

You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

It seems like it was only yesterday that to make any sort of impression, good or bad, someone had to at least come to your shop first. Times have changed.

Here are the steps a consumer usually takes to find an automotive service and repair center:

  • They drive by and make a mental note of your shop name
  • They ask neighbors, friends or business associates if they know of your business
  • They check out your website
  • They may even look for a Facebook page
  • They call your shop

All of these steps happen before they even consider giving you a chance to impress them in person.

Now they are ready for a first visit.  Your shop was either recommended or at least nothing negative was said. They found your website inviting and informative, they were impressed by your telephone etiquette and they made an appointment. Will they be impressed when they arrive?

You only get three seconds…make them count.  Your attire, your grooming, your mannerisms and body language all speak volumes.  Your visual and behavioral appearance has been appraised from head to toe. You don’t even have to speak one word and you have already made an impression.  Once that impression is made it is very hard to reverse it. That is why making the right first impression is so important.

Social psychologists call this the “threshold effect.”  At this decisive moment the consumer will determine:

  • Your trustworthiness
  • Your social position
  • Your moral character
  • Your success in your business

Make sure that consumers aren’t disappointed on any level.  Today consumers aren’t just looking for someone to fix their car because they can find that anywhere.  They are looking for a business that meets their needs emotionally as well.  They want to feel genuinely cared about and they want to feel they can trust you with their vehicle and their wallet.  They will also know if your marketing isn’t a good representation of you.

“Nothing will put a bad product out of business faster than a good advertising campaign. Advertising causes people to try a product once, but poor quality eliminates any possibility of a repeat purpose.”

–Morris Hite

As a business owner you want to make sure that the first impression customers get when they walk through your shop door is a great one.  Another important factor to keep in mind is that in the eyes of the community you serve you are your business.  Therefore, whatever you do and wherever you go reflects not only on your personal image but on your professional image as well.  You are a walking advertisement for your business each and every day.

Impress consumers with your website, your telephone etiquette, your shop’s appearance, your professional appearance and your service. All of these add up to a lasting good impression that they will want to pass on to others.

Your Website – The New Yellow Pages

February 9th, 2010

 For many years shop owners and other small businesses have seen their marketing dollars be swallowed up by Yellow Pages.  They had slick talking salespeople convince them that without an ad in their Yellow Page book their business was doomed.  They also felt that they had to have the biggest ad going and finally, they felt it had to be a full-page ad and then a full-color ad.  Thousands of dollars were spent on this endeavor.  At best it was a prospecting piece as it was in no way targeted marketing.  The shop owner had to hope that a prospect would pull out the book, turn to automotive repair and out of all of those listed, pick them to call and do business with.


Then along came websites.  At first they too were very expensive and took weeks or months to put together.  Overtime though they have evolved so that they are very affordable and can be functional in no time.  People today are surfing the web instead of letting their fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages.  Today, if a business doesn’t have a website they are viewed suspiciously by the general public as a non-reputable business or at the very least as a not very state-of-the-art shop. 


My advice to all shop owners is to rethink how you spend your hard earned dollars.  If you feel you must have a presence in the phone book, make it a one-line bold listing or a very small ad.  You will be in the white pages anyway and most people know where your business is and the name of your shop because seeing it as they drive by is why they are considering doing business with you.  They can go to and put in your business name to get your phone number too.


One of the business trends predicted for this year is the combination of direct mail and web-based campaigns.  This trend started in 2009 with much success and shop owners are targeting their best customers with direct mail that will lead the customer to their website to visit personalized URL’s that deliver segmented targeted information.  Web-based campaigns are keeping businesses thriving in this economic downturn and customers and prospects of all ages are very web savvy. Gen Y is set to be the largest generation replacing the Baby Boomers as the biggest group and they grew up with the web.  They certainly won’t be using Yellow Pages. 


If you don’t have a website yet, get one very soon.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how affordable it will be and what it can do for your business.  

By Rhonda Hiltbrand

NWZ WORX Multimedia

 A Repair Shop Websites Partner Story

Quality & Value – Priority for Repair Shop Consumers

December 22nd, 2009

“It used to be much more about price and want.  Now it’s more about value and need. I think it is a much more sophisticated approach to shopping.”

~Guy Blissett, consumer products leader for IBM Institute for Business Value

Automotive repair shop consumers don’t want to spend their money on something that lacks quality for that would be wasting their money.  They aren’t going to do that.  They do want value for their money. While price is a major factor for 83%, 72% site quality as a top priority

I read a lot about “do it yourselfers” being on the rise with some people getting tips online about how to change their oil, brake pads and other such items in order to save a few dollars.  Others are simply hoping their cars will go longer between services.  The majority though are still opting for regular service because they aren’t going to buy a new car in the near future and they want their current one to last.  How do you make sure they realize that “shopping around” for the best price isn’t necessarily going to give them the best value for their money?

Also, remember that value isn’t all about price. Value is about quality customer service, quality car care and a good price…not always the cheapest price!  The best news is…giving your customers the best customer service doesn’t cost you anything except thoughtfulness, a little time and good manners.

Repair Shop Websites Partner Story

By: Rhonda Hiltbrand, NWZ WORX