6 Tips To Help Your Auto Shop Improve Customer Loyalty
The auto shop industry has intense competition, so it’s important to build your customer base and then retain those customers.
Auto shops need to put an emphasis on quality customer service to establish relationships, build trust and provide a satisfying experience to the consumer. Keeping your customers loyal will create a consistent flow of business.
The goal of traditional marketing is to convert people who aren’t yet customers. Promoting your business to new people brings positive results but can get expensive.
Consider these statistics from Invesp:
• It costs five times as much to gain a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
• 89 percent of companies see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention.
• The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is five to 20 percent.
• Existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products and spend 31 percent more, when compared to new customers.
Clearly it is easier and much more affordable to focus on the customers you already have and build a rapport with them.
We understand that auto shop owners and managers are busy juggling many roles and responsibilities, so the team at Conceptual Minds has compiled some ideas that are affordable (and not too time-consuming) to help create loyal customers for your auto shop.
1: Build a relationship with your customers
Some customers choose an auto shop simply because they trust the mechanic who does the work. The auto shop, Foreign Auto Experts in Elkridge, MD, has a five-star Yelp rating (we should all be really impressed by that!) and most reviews include the technician’s names:
Greet your customers when they arrive, check them in promptly, apologize if things are running behind and take the time to explain why you recommend a service. Engage with them to build a relationship of trust and loyalty.
2: Be accessible & timely
Make sure your hours of operation are accurate for each location on your website and all of your social media platforms. Nothing is more frustrating than a customer driving to your shop at 6:30p.m. because your Google+ profile says you’re open but you aren’t. They’ll quickly be able to do a Google search and find a location nearby and go there instead.
Also, return phone calls, inquiries and emails within hours (not days) before you lose the opportunity to earn their business.
3: Be a source of quality information
Consumers often do an Internet search to diagnose what is wrong with their car. Create a blog to offer information, advice and interesting topics. Suggested topics include:
• Tips to get the most distance out of your tires.
• How do I know when I need new brakes?
• Why is my Check Engine light on?
Your company’s blog will allow local consumers to visit your website for advice and guidance, build trust and make you an area expert. When the time comes for a consumer to need a service or repair, your auto shop is sure to be a front runner for the job.
4: Be social
Use your social media profiles to create a helpful, friendly, appreciative image of your auto shop. Ideas could include:
• Posting helpful tips and information (from your blog).
• Taking pictures of your customers (with their permission) and thanking them for their business. (A customer may tag themselves in the photo, allowing their friends to see the post as well, which gives your auto shop more exposure.)
• Sharing pictures of your technicians working on a car or doing something funny. (This could provide an opportunity for customers to rave about their favorite technician and create a positive image about your shop and workers.)
5: Get involved in the community
Consider sponsoring a youth sports team, local walk-a-thon or city celebration. Giving back to the community is a great way to get your business in front of potential customers with a positive image.
6: Keep in touch
After a customer has their car serviced, send them an email thanking them for their business. If a technician recommended a repair that the customer declined, consider sending the customer a coupon as an incentive.
Keep in mind, it’s important not to “over-communicate” or send emails that aren’t applicable to the user. Segmenting (breaking down communication by group) and timely communication are key to business success in today’s world.
Focusing your marketing efforts on your existing customer base is one way to assure continued success. Creativity, strategy and emphasis need to be implemented to keep your auto shop in your customers’ minds. We hope these ideas provide you new opportunities to grow in success.
About the author: Taran Sodhi is the chief executive of Conceptual Minds — a marketing firm that caters to the tire and auto industry.