Anyone running a business knows that in order for a lead to become a prospect and eventually a customer, you need to follow up. Auto repair shops are no exception.
Follow-ups are fundamental for your shop to avoid customer attrition/churn.
Loyal customers in rural areas will continue to visit your shop if you treat them right and have competitive pricing. But in today’s fast-paced, digital-centric world, we can no longer rely on customers walking in when they need to.
In this 9 part auto repair shop marketing series, we have put together the same number of articles to help repair shops adopt a digital presence.
But to do that, we need to nurture current clients and let them know they are top of mind for you. Start with the basics, follow-ups.
Traditional vs New Age Follow-ups
Every repair shop uses tools that tell you when it's time to follow up with a client. Whether it's an oil change, tire alignment, or check-up, clients will be informed.
But those aren't the only types of follow-ups your competitors are offering.
JFK once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country". And this is exactly the type of thinking shop owners need to apply.
We're too concerned with getting a hold of customers and asking them to return to get more of their money. Instead, there are various types of follow-ups that tell our customers we're here for them. Here are 5 follow-up tips you need to put in place today.
#1. Post-Service Follow-Ups
Hotels have a cool feature where after you check out, they send follow-up messages asking how your stay was. For some less auto-savvy customers, they will appreciate a follow-up call after every visit.
This call will not only make the customer feel appreciated (something hard to come by with big shops) but also teach them about what services were performed on their vehicle.
You might think this can get expensive but with churn rates at an all-time high (customers always want better pricing) your bargaining chip will always be customer service.
Post-service follow-ups also allow you to receive feedback from your customers while their visit is top of mind. Negative or positive is always welcome. Customers will always want to talk about their experiences.
These follow-ups can be either through email or phone calls but with so many bots and automated emails, a call will go a long way.
#2 - Tailored Messages and Calls
The only time I like to receive emails in bulk is when a flash sale for my favorite pet supplies product is on sale. Other than that, I don't want to read an email that was sent to 100 others that says someone values my opinion.
Personal messages and calls are hard to come by these days and though many millennials and Gen-Z prefer texts, I prefer a human.
Reaching out to customers directly using the notes your techs have on each visit will have a far greater impact than a "rate our service" bulk email.
#3 - You Missed your Last Visit Reminder
Last year's pandemic was catastrophic for many. But from a follow-ups perspective, many organizations upped their game. Gyms, restaurants, large repair shops, and even bars gave me a call asking why I hadn't been back in a while.
If you're expecting x customer and they've missed their appointment, instead of ignoring them, why not follow up and ask if everything is ok.
Now, if a few customers missed their appointments, a follow-up needs to be mandatory in order to bring attention to a potential issue.
#4 - The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease
We lose many customers who are unhappy with the service they receive that don't speak up. But customers who leave our repair shop unsatisfied and upset, need to be given more attention.
There are clients who clearly aren't happy anywhere but this doesn't mean they can't be repeat customers or bring in more.
Following up with an unsatisfied customer can help understand if these issues are with pricing, staff, or delivery times.
#5 - Don't be afraid to ask for help
As humans, we love to talk about ourselves, and advice is always happily given. If you ask a customer how their experience went at your shop, they will happily tell you the good and the bad.
Not every customer will leave happy or ready to give a 5-star review. But it's better to ask and not lose a customer.
Remember, your customer is also being prospected by your competitors. Staying in touch and applying improvement tips can tip the scale in your favor and have a long-lasting relationship with your customers.
Bonus Tip - Loyalty Program for your Auto Repair Shop
According to Small Business Trends, 39.4% of customers will spend more at the businesses they're loyal to. 60% will even recommend that business to others.
Loyalty programs aren’t just for hotels and or airlines, they can also be implemented at auto repair shops as well. Have a punch card where every time a customer gets their vehicle serviced with you, they get a stamp. Sounds simple but I remember eating at Subway as a kid 3 times a week just so I could get my 7th sub free.
Be sure to stay tuned to our next article on how to build a website for your auto repair shop.