Having a database of loyal customers is one of the keys to your auto repair business being the success you dream of. Having your customers return to you on schedule and on time allows you to plan for the future.
But what if they aren’t retuning to you on time, or are even going elsewhere for services that you provide?
This is where you need to have a long, hard think about your customer retention program, and whether or not you are asking for business, or if you are just assuming that your customers will tell you they are ready to buy something, when they are ready to buy it.
In 2018, if you don’t have automatic service and repair reminders in place in your auto repair business, you have fallen behind the industry standard. Most modern mechanic specific invoicing programs and car databases will allow you to set up automatic service reminders every 6 months, and some of the smarter ones will also allow you to set a repair reminder. These are great for when you identify some wear and tear that will need rectifying soon, but isn’t urgent for right now.
These automatic reminders can go out via email or SMS, depending on which program you use, and are set and forget. This means you set them up once, and they are sent out when they fall due automatically.
If you don’t have these, you are leaving too much up to chance. Your retention rates will be dependent on the customer paying attention to their service sticker.
The second side of this equation is that when your customer does come back in for their standard service, are you making the most of the opportunity by letting your customer know that you are a “one stop convenience shop”?
You might be telling yourself that you are a mechanic, and not a sales person, but let’s remember that your customer is looking for the least in-convenient option when having their service and repair work done. They want to visit you as little as possible due to the logistics involved with their vehicle being off the road.
What does that mean for you? It means that using your skill as the expert, your customer wants you to advise them of everything necessary to keep their vehicle safe on the road. They may not verbalise this, but at the end of the day, it is peace of mind that they want.
So rather than pre-judge that the customer won’t say yes to the expensive repair you have just identified is required, take the time to advise the customer of the situation, its potential consequences, and the price. Then ask the customer if you can go ahead with the work.
Simply, identify the situation, provide the solution, and ask for the sale. …..
Need + Solution = Potential Sale
Don’t simply report that the repair needs doing on the invoice and hope that the customer understands the urgency and re-books.
ASK FOR THE BUSINESS! If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
Save your customer another trip in to your business, which they may find inconvenient, and ask them the question as soon as you identify that extra work needs doing.
The best way to ensure that you make the most from every customer visit is to have a systemised process which starts at the time the customer leaves your workshop after having had a service which includes:
-Setting service/repair reminders as necessary
-Having a phone script for taking bookings
-Having a process for welcoming the customer when they arrive
-Ensuring a systemised vehicle check is performed and all work identified
-Calling the customer to ask permission for additional work
-Having a process for finalising the invoice and handing the car back over to the customer
-Making a follow up phone call after the visit
-Marketing to the current customer base which keeps them up to date with the services you offer including tyres, air conditioning, roadworthy’s, etc.
By having systems in place to ensure that your customers return on time, are aware of all of your offerings, as well as ensuring that extra work gets done on the day, you will not only improve the cash flowing through your business, you will also increase the level of customer service that you deliver to your customers.
This raises the levels of customer satisfaction, increasing the likelihood of you being referred by word of mouth to your customers’ family, friends, and work colleagues. This results in even more customers, and more cash flowing through your auto repair business!
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