- Customer Service
New customers are exciting for any business. Sales are the lifeblood of the company and new customers mean growth. If the job is done right, the customers will be back again. This is known as “customer loyalty.” But how can you earn customer loyalty in the PDR industry? Surely, you don’t want them getting into yet another car accident to keep them coming back. There’s always a way you can let customers know just how important they are, even if you never see them again. Hello: referrals!
Here are 5 simple and effective ways to earn customer loyalty:
- Great Customer Service: From the first phone call to when the customer first arrives, it is important that they are treated well. Studies show that over 50% of customers have ended a relationship with a business because of how they were treated. How you can ensure great customer service could be as simple as offering someone a water bottle or asking them how their day is going. Check to see if your customer service team is answering all of the customer’s questions and making them feel valued. Customers will remember when they’re treated well and when they’re treated horribly. On average, people who have a poor experience are more likely to share that opinion with others, and to share it with more people than they would a positive experience.
Put simply: Happy customers = more business. Unhappy customers = no business.
- Communication: By setting up a database of your customers’ contact information, you’re able to maintain communication in a number of different ways. These can be newsletters, birthday greetings, or some of the latest customer-relevant news in the industry that shows you’re a shop that knows the industry more than your competition. But don’t send the same junky emails that your competition is sending them with throwaway advice like “how to plan a road trip tip” and “how to keep your dog safe in a hot car.” Give the customers information they can actually use, or at least a personal message that will show you care about them as a customer (you can still automate these). and always, always ask for referrals.
- Incentives: People love it when they get a little something extra for their business. Consider setting up a reward system that with any new referral from an existing customer gives them either a percentage off their next service, free car wash, etc. Whatever it is, these little perks help establish customer loyalty and gives them an incentive to reach out to their friends and family to be new customers.
- Honesty: There’s a phrase that goes, “honesty is the best policy.” That’s because it’s been proven to work with the most successful companies and individuals. This is not to say go ahead and make mistakes. Rather, it’s about being upfront about whenever an error occurs, but maintain a sense of humility and apologize. By maintaining this sense of humility, it allows the customers to empathize with you & you with them, as opposed to jumping straight to anger with you over making a mistake in the first place. Just remember to be truly honest while being, well, honest. Nobody likes someone B.S.ing their way out of a mistake.
- Innovation and Technology: Where a lot of auto repair shops and technicians make mistakes is they are stuck in their old ways of conducting business. Piles of paperwork containing valuable documents from estimates to repair notes consume offices and sometimes, all the business owner can really do is rely on the word of their technicians. This old way of conducting business may have worked 20 years ago, but we live in an ever-evolving technological world where the products and services we use become outdated. By using the latest technologies available that are easy to use and designed specifically for the auto repair industry, it allows you to be current in a better & smooth work environment. Not to mention, it looks a lot better for a customer to walk into a shop that’s not stuck in the stone age with desktop computers and fax machines. Consider using technology to make the transaction easier on the customer – from scheduling an appointment on your website to approving and paying for the repair right from the technician’s mobile device.
All in all, ask yourself what it would take for a business to earn your trust? Is it feeling important? Is it being truthful and owning up when they’ve made a mistake? Is it communicating with you and providing you with relevant knowledge? Chances are, a business earned your trust through making you feel valued and that you were in good hands with knowledgeable people. Whether you’re an auto repair technician or a fully operating shop, if you follow these simple and effective ways to earn a customer’s loyalty, you’ll have one thing money can’t buy: trust.