As auto repair shop owners, more than once you’ve felt obligated to complete a task that will not only earn you no money whatsoever but also take up a lot of time and resources. It’s happened to all of us and yes, we agree, it stinks. Whether it’s offering that free wheel alignment reading to the customer that finds fault in everything to get something for free or performing hundreds of free oil changes to get word of mouth going, these little jobs are anything but little. But what if there’s a way you can view these banal jobs as a way to grow your business?
In the repair shop industry building relationships with your customers begins with the simple act of going the extra mile and showing how much you appreciate their business. We know many jobs can be tedious but offering to take on any job with the right attitude will lead your customers to go to you for every vehicle related job. Let’s face it, their car will break down eventually and as vehicle owners first and shop owners second, there’s nothing more important than knowing you can trust a repair shop and tech.
Many shop owners fail to realize that a repair shop customer is similar to a barber shop customer in the sense that once a person finds their barber, unless there’s a catastrophe, he will return. Same can be said about a person once they find a repair shop they trust, why would they keep shopping around after they’ve found a place that is trustworthy and reasonably priced?
Building relationships is an inherent part of every successful repair shop and taking any job no matter how large or how small is the first place to start. Don’t lose money on every job just because you’re trying to build relationships but just know that the most successful shops are the ones that don’t turn down work.
We’ve all been tempted to turn down work because while we’re on the phone with the customer and he’s describing the problem, as shop owners, we do numbers in our head. Numbers that represent man hours, equipment, ROI and many other variables that come into play. The blunt, shop owner that speaks what's on his mind will not even let the customer finish and let him know the job cannot be done for that price and won’t even be worth bringing in the car to the shop. The realistic, forward-thinking shop owner will realize that you can’t go by what a customer says on the phone and every job deserves to be looked at.
Guess what, that job (that many turned down) actually opened the door for that customer to finally find the repair shop he was looking for. Sure, you may have not made any money from that one sale but now that oil prices appear to be dropping, Americans will use their cars more often which means, yep, you guessed it, even more frequent maintenance.
Unsuccessful shops are unsuccessful because they tend to ignore the bigger picture and are just looking to make a quick buck while successful shops see every new car that comes in as a new opportunity to build a new relationship