Auto repair is a highly competitive field; many shops struggle to stay afloat or break even. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have a successful, lucrative shop. With the right management techniques and planning, you can establish an excellent reputation and attract a large, consistent customer base. Here are a few ways you can turn your auto shop into a successful venture with true staying power.
Customer Service Matters!
The customer experience is a major deciding factor for most consumers, particularly for services. Having a friendly, responsive relationship with your customers will go a long way in making them return or refer their friends and family. Clear communication about estimated time frames, needed repairs, or explanation of charges are essential. If a customer doesn’t understand why certain work was required, they may feel taken advantage of and avoid returning. Transparent communication shows your customers that your shop has integrity.
Every customer interaction should be focused on providing the best experience possible. From the moment you receive their first phone call to the moment they drive their car off your lot, they should feel cared for and welcome. All service writers should be trained on how to communicate with customers in a friendly and professional manner.
If you have any customer complaints, resolve them quickly. Discuss the problem objectively, without placing blame or making them feel defensive. If you’re not sure how to resolve the issue, ask the customer what they feel would be an equitable solution. There will always be some unreasonable customers, but most will appreciate your efforts to make things right.
Reduce Employee Turnover
Reliability and consistency are two major factors in having an excellent reputation. This can be hard to achieve if you have an ever-changing cast of employees that need to be trained on your shop’s policies and procedures. To reduce employee turnover, ensure that you’re treating your employees well. Pay them fairly, provide them with benefits, and treat them respectfully. This will not only make your employees happy and secure, but it will also improve customer relations.
Most people are leery about using an auto repair shop that they don’t know. Customers can be very particular and may get nervous if they see a new face every time they come in. If you have a talented technician leave, some customers may choose to follow them to another shop. By having a consistent team, your customers will be able to develop a sense of trust with your shop and employees.
Offer Guarantees on Repairs
When a customer spends money on repairs, they want some sort of assurance that their vehicle will work properly – or that if it doesn’t, you’ll make it right. By providing them with a guarantee, you’re telling them that you stand by your work. This guarantee can be based on miles or time. For example, a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty on all repairs. Give your customers a reason to trust your workmanship, and they’ll be more likely to return.
Create an Ethics Statement
Many people feel uneasy about working with auto mechanics because their lack of knowledge puts them at risk to be taken advantage of. There’s also the issue of unscrupulous shops that overcharge or perform unneeded services. Give your customers assurance of your integrity by creating an ethics statement that describes your shop’s stance on honest, trustworthy repairs. Stress your commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Once you’ve created your ethics statement, hang it prominently in your waiting area or other areas with high customer traffic.
Reward Your Loyal Customers
Repeat customers are the cornerstone of every successful business. Not only do they provide you with consistent income, but they’ll more than likely refer others to your shop. A perfect way to thank them for their loyalty (and increase it) is to send out periodic offers for free or discounted services. This could be something as simple as a discount on their next oil change. It will cost you a little money in the short term, but it will pay off by reinforcing their loyalty and giving them extra incentive to return.
Use ProfitBoost Shop Management Software
Today’s customers expect services to be fast, easy, and digital. Using our shop management software can help you give your customers greater flexibility and improve your daily processes. You’ll be able to communicate with them via text or email, eliminating frustrating phone tag or miscommunications. For example, you can send your customers a repair estimate via text. They can deny or approve it and send it back to you right away. This makes the entire customer experience streamlined and increases the efficiency of your shop.
Additionally, you’ll be able to move away from paper records. All records are stored in the cloud for easy retrieval. Digital vehicle inspection, estimates, repair orders, parts ordering, and even credit card processing is all handled within a single intuitive system, reducing the need and cost of additional programs. Plus, you’ll able to conduct profit analysis to determine which services are profitable – or costing you money. Start your free trial today.
Having a successful auto shop takes time, but by following these tips, you can establish your shop and develop a steady customer base that will want to keep returning!