Sustaining, and growing your shop
As we push into another year of auto service repair, we need to ask ourselves “how do we grow our profits and fill bookings?” To do this, we believe a very effective method is looking into what the competition is doing in your area.
Out of all the auto service shops around you, who sticks out? Is there a chain that’s raking in dollars and cents? Are there failing auto service shops? What are they doing – or have done – to get themselves into this situation?
A huge problem a lot of shops seem to have is that people generally don’t start looking into their offerings until they MUST. After looking into the top service repair shops around us, we have come up with a list of 6 things YOU can do to give your business a boost.
Work with insurance agencies
Make sure you build an alliance with insurance agencies. We know this can seem tedious and annoying but it’s worth it. When a shop goes through the necessary steps to become sanctioned by an insurance agency, it can do wonders for the shop.
Insurance agencies almost always force customers to get repairs needed at shops they (the insurance agency) has an alliance with. This means when insurance claims go through, your service shop is included in a special list of recommended service shops sent to the customer by the insurance agency.
It doesn’t stop at just going through all the tedious paperwork, but you should also think about introducing yourself to the local insurance agencies. Simply drop by and hand out a flyer, or a business card.
When customers come in to get repairs after a collision and leave happy, the likelihood of them coming back is exponential. Checking out surrounding service repair shops, we can see the best ones mostly have been sanctioned by insurance agencies. Their ratings speak for themselves.
Certified Female Friendly
It’s no surprise a lot of women have trouble going into service repair shops. They feel like they will be taken advantage of and lied to. There are services out there that your shop can use that actually gives you the ability to call yourself “female friendly”.
You can then show off your certification with pride through all your communications material. Put up the certification in your shop, post it on social media. It’s a badge you can show women that gives them confidence in your shop.
Compared to the other shops that DON’T have this certification, it can do wonders for your shop. You can even start to corner the female market! You can be sure to bank on those women to telling their friends and family about you. Interested? Check out our blog on making your shop more female friendly. Websites such as www.certifiedfemalefriendly.com and askpatty.com offer these services.
Become a thought leader!
Give your customers (and those interested in you) confidence. You can do this by starting up a monthly newsletter you can post on your website. Fill it with blog posts, article, videos, anything you can make that offers people value. Offer customers your thoughts and opinions on auto repair. Pick a trending topic and answer questions your customers tend to have.
This positions you as a knowledgeable, tech-savvy shop that actually knows what you’re talking about. When customers are just starting their search for a repair shop they need, do you think you would choose a shop with a blog answering common questions, or a shop that doesn’t do anything? We’ll give you a hint, it’s not the latter!
Network, network, network! Attend industry meetups, local meetups, trade shows, anything that lets you connect in person with people. You’d be surprised but a lot of shops are connected to larger shops, dealers and even big box stores.
Many shops do this to let these larger service centers know they are available to take on the overflow of repair jobs. You could take the lion’s share of the service job you did, and give a small percentage to the larger store.
Bigger stores don’t want to lose out on ANY profit and sometimes they are willing to subcontract smaller shops to fill a void they have in service jobs (if someone is sick, too many repairs, etc.)
You could even connect with the local ride-sharing companies, taxi companies, rental agencies. Let these places know you’re a reputable shop, and to keep your shop in mind for when it’s time to service their fleet! These places don’t go out of their way to find a shop, they find shops by word of mouth! Be a part of that!
Give your customers some incentive for referrals
It’s no surprise that EVERYONE loves free stuff. As the automotive industry has an unfortunate standing as “untrustworthy” with some people, it takes a little convincing before someone eventually does business with a shop. When it comes to referrals, this industry may very well be the most effective for customer referrals. People simply trust what others have to say about a business. Word of mouth advertising is the most effective for a reason.
That’s, why you’re shop, needs to do all it can to boost customer referrals. Hand out business cards to customers with special referral coupons on the back. Subscribe to your newsletter, give them a little freebie like free windshield wipers.
Give your customers even more reason to stay a customer with your shop. To put it into perspective, would you trust a shop your friend went to or one you’ve heard nothing about more? We believe its the first option! We see a lot of shops starting to give both the person who gave the referral along with the referee. What we mean by this is, if you get a friend to signup for a service you provide, the person who referred their friend also gets a small discount. You’d be surprised but this is a great customer retention AND acquisition strategy.
Digital Vehicle Inspections
Finally, the secret a lot of shops, dealers and other top shops are keeping from you. Digital vehicle inspection! Digital vehicle inspections are top shops secret to increasing average repair orders, building customer trust, educating customers and growing their shop’s profits. After doing a check of what the top shops around us, we have found that the shops that just keep on reeling in more customers are using digital vehicle inspections.
Not only do you want a digital vehicle inspection system that works, but you also want one that generates a clear return on investment.
AutoServe1 is the choice repair shops from all over North America are choosing to increase average repair orders but to also build trust with customers through transparency and education of customers. On average, shops that have implemented our digital vehicle inspection technology have increased average repair orders by 25%! It’s the way the industry is trending, so don’t be left behind.
So don’t let the other guys sway all your customers away from you, implement the inspection process quality shops already have.