First and foremost I want you to try and think about the number of female customers you think you have frequenting your auto repair shop. Female customers may not be as regular as males but why do you suppose that is? Females drive to work on a daily basis too and their cars are not exempt from breakdowns so the answer is simply, many feel they don’t know enough about cars and don’t want to get ripped off. In an era where we are seeing a growing number of stay-at-home-dads, as auto repair shop owners we need to do all we can to increase the growing number of female customers. But how do we do that? I’m glad you asked. Here are 5 Tips to Increase Female Customers in Your Auto Repair Shop.
First Impressions Matter More
Women are sometimes as discouraged from visiting repair shops on their own just as much as men are taking their teenage daughters shopping. So our jobs as owners is to make sure our female customers feel comfortable and treated with respect. By respect I don’t mean insensitive or “cute” remarks about their choice of vehicles or assuming they don’t know anything. We mean opening the door for them, always greeting with a smile and being as patient as you can.
These days most of us (both men and women) know more about technology than vehicles. Therefore, taking the time to explain things that for you may seem simple makes a great first impression on female customers that think we’re going to take advantage of their lack of knowledge of the repair industry.
Improve your Waiting Room
A few of these tips can be taken into consideration to help you build a better rep among auto repair shops in your area, like this one for example. Suppose many of your services aren’t as quick as an oil change yet not as long as rebuilding an automatic transmission. If customers find themselves having to stick around for a few hours why not make sure you improve your waiting area?
Have fresh coffee and cookies (in case of children as well) or even develop a partnership with a neighboring coffee shop. Nothing can take the stress away from waiting but you can show your customers that you want them to feel comfortable with having to wait for long periods of time. Just because customers are visiting an auto repair shop doesn’t mean they’re interested in the automotive world so having a dull room with a few car and driver magazines from 2001 won’t do, unfortunately.
Be Detailed and Always Explain the Problem
Unfortunately, repair shops have a bad rep mainly because of a few jerks that have taken advantage of customers’ lack of knowledge. For that reason customers (more so, women) don’t like to visit repair shops and try to avoid it at all cost. Show them how you’re different from the rest and to the ones that seem interested, promote technicians showing them what the problem is with their vehicles. This will provide a certain level of trust and customers will appreciate you taking the time to teach them about a world that may baffle them.
Within five minutes of talking to a customer you know how knowledgeable they are so don’t offend them by explaining something they already know yet confuse them by trying to explain how an internal combustion engine works.
Round Trip Shuttle Service is a Nice Gesture
A common problem customers have when visiting any auto repair shop is estimating how long a service will take. Other problems arise or your shop might be swamped with work which affects the total wait time for customers. For that reason, customers don’t always have a way to get back home or to work and it is here where we can really make a difference.
Men are usually nonchalant about a situation like this but imagine a young woman, not knowing what is wrong with her car, unaware of how much time it is going to take to solve the problem (or how much) and on top of that, no ride to work or home? Scary. Offer a shuttle service that drives your customers wherever they need to go. We don’t all have the means to offer a loaner car (and if we do, the 1951 Studebaker Champion from the movie The Mask comes to mind) but driving your customers where they need to go can easily be arranged and will make a big difference.
Last Impressions can be as Important as the First
Everyone says you only get once chance to make a good first impression, which is true but the same can be said for the last impression you leave on a first time customer. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve been to any retail store or restaurant where everything seems perfect but then right at the end something goes wrong. Whether I see the waiter standing around talking or on his phone when I politely requested the check or an angry/rude employee, there are many things that can go wrong right before a goodbye that can influence whether or not your customers return.
If it’s a female customer always make sure your last impression is left with a smile and if they have kids with them, treat them to a nice lollipop or candy. The smallest gesture will do and what may cost cents for you will leave a lasting impression on them.
What does your shop do to have more female customers visit?