Category Archive Informational

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How to Use the Call Recorder Feature on the Shop Dashboard to Improve Sales for Your Repair Shop

While the most popular feature of RepairPal Certification is the steady stream of quality new customers to your shop every month, there is a treasure trove of additional perks to help your shop increase revenue.

Today we’ll explore one of the hidden gems, the Call Recorder.

This is the first in a series of posts exploring the many features of RepairPal Certification. Future readers can click here to see all posts in this series.

Every RepairPal Certified Shop gets a profile that includes a special phone number and contact link. This is how we track who comes to your shop from our program.

This works seamlessly…your customer connects directly to you, and there is no delay.

However, on the back end, the call is recorded and logged for your convenience.

When you log into your Shop Dashboard, you can see every single customer contact we’ve sent you that day, week, month, or year. AND you can listen to the recorded calls at your convenience.

Why would a shop owner want to listen to incoming calls?

These recordings are available to RepairPal Certified Shops for 3 big reasons:

#1: Judge the effectiveness of your service advisor. Recorded calls make it easy to diagnose problems and recognize wins at your convenience. Coaching is easy with recorded calls, whether you’re correcting behavior or sharing good practices with the team.

#2: Discover what kinds of ROs you’re getting through RepairPal. Knowing what’s most popular makes it easier to anticipate customer needs—and get stellar reviews for knowing what they want ahead of time.

#3: Track your success rate. Is the caller a likely customer? Did you get the RO? Is it a repeat customer? These kinds of statistics help you improve your close rate—and your bottom line.
Ed Kushman, the chairman-elect of the Automotive Service Association and vice president of C&H Foreign Auto Repair in Spokane, WA, sees the value in this service.

He recently told Ratchet+Wrench that a similar phone recording system alone would cost him way more than his total monthly RepairPal investment. Ed uses the Call Recorder to monitor the phone and sales skills of his team members.

This feature helps him determine what to emphasize during his training sessions with staff.

Over-the-shoulder feedback like this just isn’t possible in most busy repair shops. The Call Recorder feature makes it convenient for you to stay on top of your shop’s customer communication and sales processes at your convenience.

And the ability to laser-focus coaching to get the best out of your team is almost worth the price of certification alone.

RepairPal Certified Shops gain access to these recordings along with many other benefits. Click here if you’re curious what Certified status can do for your shop—and for your profits.

And stay tuned for our next feature profile, when we show you how to use the Fair Price Estimator to reduce haggling and cut down the time spent with price shoppers.

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10-Point Checklist to Get More Customers and Higher Income in 2018

You get so busy during the day running your repair shop that it’s sometimes hard to find the time to take a step back and plan for a more prosperous future.

That’s why we created this simple checklist to help you quickly and accurately review your shop’s annual performance in…

  • Attracting new customers
  • Getting more repeat business from existing customers
  • Converting more phone calls into appointments

…and then using that information to increase your success in the next 12 months.
Bookmark this 10-point checklist and use it once per year to keep your repair shop business growing with quality customers.

Download & Print: 10-Point Checklist for 2018

Part 1: Review the Previous 12 Months

If you don’t know where you are, then you’ll have a hard time reaching your destination.

This necessary first step of reviewing the past 12 months is also (thankfully) the easiest. The information is already there in your shop management system, RepairPal Shop Dashboard, accounting software, and other records.

Time-saving Tip: If you have a bookkeeper or shop manager, ask them to gather this information for you so you can take those numbers and skip directly to Part 2.

#1: What is your car count in the past 12 months?

The more information you have about your customer behavior, the better. What was your overall customer retention rate and what was your average visits per VIN this year? How many customers were brand-new to your repair shop?

#2: Where did those customers come from?

If you do know where they are coming from, through notes in your shop management system or the RepairPal Shop Dashboard, then list those totals. You may have categories like: existing customer, RepairPal, direct mail (coupon), email marketing, Facebook ad, or referral.

Note: You may or may not be tracking this information right now. If not, make a plan to track your customer acquisition in the new year so you can double down on marketing efforts that are working and ditch what’s not. Information is power!

#3: What was your cost of acquisition per customer?

Once you know where new customers are coming from, you can easily determine how much it cost you to get them. Divide the amount you spent on that marketing effort by the revenue you made from the customers who came via that effort.

Perhaps you spent $2000 on a mailed coupon campaign and gained 200 clients. In this scenario, each client cost you $10. Do this calculation for each method of acquisition of new customers.

#4: How much profit did you make from this customer acquisition method?

Now that you know where they’re coming from and how much it cost to get them, what profit did you make?

In the above example, a mailed coupon campaign gained 200 clients at a cost of $10 each. However, the coupon was for a loss leader—an oil change. You sent the coupon betting you’d get more service work from that customer to make up for the small initial loss. Did you?

Do this calculation for every method you use to gain new customers and note how much money on average you made or lost.

#5: What was your average repair order amount? Most frequent repair? Most lucrative repair? Least profitable repair?

Use your shop management system to calculate these figures. Knowing where you make your money (and where you don’t) will help you promote the right services on your website, RepairPal Shop Profile, etc.

#6: How many customers left reviews in the past 12 months?

Social proof is a strong selling tool. If you aren’t regularly getting reviews from your clients, you’re missing out on new business. Determine how many reviews you’ve gotten this past year via RepairPal, Yelp, Facebook, or other sites and compare it to your total customer number. What percentage of customers are willing to give you the public approval you need to gain new customers?

Part 2: Plan for More Customers in the Next 12 Months

Now you’ll take the information from Part 1 and determine how to improve it in the coming year.

#7: How will you re-engage existing customers?

Now that you know how many times customers did (or did not) do business with you last year, how can you increase that number? For some great ideas, click here to watch our popular webinar on How to Increase the Value of Your Customers, or our article on 3 Ways to Get More Business from Your Auto Repair Customers.

#8: Which marketing campaigns are most effective in gaining new customers?

You know how each marketing method performed, so how will you double down on your winners and get rid of your losers? Are there new methods out there you haven’t tried yet but want to? When you free up the money from losing campaigns, use it to try something new (like Kevin Millard of All American Auto Repair did). Click here for an overview of 5 different repair shop marketing options, or check out our helpful webinar on Social Media Marketing for Repair Shops.

#9: How will you gain more customer reviews this year?

Are you asking for reviews at checkout? Sending an email request after? Using RepairPal to obtain verified reviews for your profile? What regular action(s) will you take next year to get more reviews so you can win more new customers? And how will you turn around negative reviews? (This webinar will teach you how to respond to them.)

#10: How can you increase your average RO? Get more of your most lucrative repairs?

Now that you know what’s most profitable for your shop (even if it isn’t your most expensive repair), it’s time to become known as the expert at this service. You can promote it as a specialty on your RepairPal profile so car owners in your area who search for it on RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator immediately see you as the best fit for their specific repair.

To increase your ROs in general, check out these valuable instant video trainings on Selling Advanced Diagnostic Services for Maximum Profit and 18 Specific Technologies to Increase Profits.


You’re Done!

That wasn’t so hard, was it? And now you’re on track to gain more repeat business from existing customers, more new customers, and greater profits in the coming 12 months.

Put those plans into place right now so you can start measuring the benefits.
Then mark your calendar to use this checklist once a year and you’ll see continued growth and prosperity for your repair shop.

And if you’re looking for a reliable way to get 10-12 new customer contacts per month and gain a 2X, 4X or even 10X average ROI, then you owe it to yourself to book a 15-minute no-pressure demo with our team to see what RepairPal Certification can do for you.

The average RO for referrals to our Certified Shops is over $500 (more for warranty work), and 94% of shops stick with us after a 3-month trial.

Will you be one of them?

Schedule your 15-minute demo below.

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5 Ways to Get More Customers for Your Repair Shop During the Holidays

Getting new customers for your repair shop is about more than just advertising everywhere and crossing your fingers people remember you when they need service.
You’ll get better results by focusing on building relationships and establishing strong partnerships than you will in sending a coupon to every single potential customer in your area.

And the good news is these actions are often easier, cheaper, and faster than blasting your shop’s name across every media platform you can find. Keeping this strategy in mind, here are 5 tips to grow your repair shop during the holidays.

#1: Get More Repeat Business Using Mom’s Advice

Mom told you to do it because it was polite. But did you know that saying “thank you” is also profitable, especially during seasons of goodwill and gratitude?
Thank you emails enjoy a whopping 42.51% average open rate (Source: Remarkety), performing better than almost any other type of email.
And these emails get an average 10.34% conversion rate, meaning 1 in 10 customers will purchase again. That makes this simple email a pretty low-effort and cost-effective way to increase your business year-round by strengthening your customer relationships.

Tips for making your Thank You email effective:
1. Don’t get fancy with the subject line. A simple “thank you” is all you need to make sure the recipient knows what type of email it is (and opens it).
2. Offer a coupon or discount for the next service, as these are shown to more than triple purchase rates (Source: Remarkety).
3. Or you can ask for a review when the customer is feeling most positive about what you’ve just done for them. This helps you capture future clients.

Pro tip: Only ask for one action per email from your customer. If you ask them to book a future service, don’t ask for a review. If you ask for a review, don’t ask them to schedule the next service. But you can give coupons in both scenarios!

Here is a sample thank you email template you can modify for your own use:
Thanks for choosing for your recent service. Your family’s safety and comfort while driving is top priority for us.
That’s why you’ll get a 15% discount when you book your next now. Click here to schedule, and we’ll send you a convenient reminder when it’s time to come back.
Thanks for your business, and we look forward to keeping your vehicle in top shape for years to come.

#2: Show Your Holiday Spirit to Increase Sales

Giving thanks.
Helping those less fortunate.
Getting a great deal.
Those are the core tenets of the holiday season from a consumer standpoint, and you can touch on all three with one simple promotion at your repair shop.

3 ideas for simple campaigns you can start today:
1. Offer a free road trip inspection for a donation of canned food. Bonus tip: Display those cans inside a car on your shop’s lot and invite the local news to showcase your promotion.
2. Offer a discount for adding gifts for needy children under your shop’s Christmas tree.
3. Start a campaign to fund vehicle repairs for the local shelter, food bank, elder daycare, or other under-funded community service. You add X dollars to the fund for every repair. (Don’t forget to promote the donation on social media and with your local paper.)

#3: Make It Personal to Make it Profitable

People do business with those they know, like, and trust. And with polls showing 2 out of 3 people have had a negative experience in our industry, quality shops face an even greater challenge in appearing friendly to potential new customers.
The holidays are a perfect time of year to showcase your team’s personality and likability through friendly photos on social media and positive stories about your team members on your About Us page.

Tips for showcasing your team:
1. Include personal interests in your bios like hiking, pets, or hobbies. Include employee’s participation in the community – e.g. Church, Scouts, Shelters, Schools, Sporting Programs etc. Finding common ground with your prospects is key to getting them in the door for regular maintenance.
2. Use candid photos of smiling team members rather than stiff, posed photos. Make your shop look like a friendly place to visit.

#4: Join Forces for the Greater Good

‘Tis the season to work together to help others. What businesses in your area also serve your same market?
If you can piggyback on their holiday cheer, you’ll reach brand-new customers with almost no effort.
Contact these community businesses now and offer a coupon or free service to add to their annual client appreciation gifts.

The benefits work for both sides: the business owner adds value for his customers without spending extra money, and you get exposure to a brand-new audience without spending a lot of time or money.

Some business owners to approach for this campaign:
• Real estate brokers
• Home service companies (plumbers, HVAC companies, lawn services, contractors)
• CPAs, accountants, and bookkeepers
• Moving and relocation services
• Kennel and/or daycare services

This holiday campaign can be extended to work year-round with real estate agents and moving companies.

#5: Grab a Permanent Spot on Santa’s Nice List

It pays to be good. That’s Santa’s mantra—and it’s ours, too.

We reward over 2000 Certified shops by sending 10-12 new customer calls and messages every single month.
Does that sound like a gift you’d like to receive this year?
These warm leads come from power partners like CarMax, USAA, The Warranty Group, and one of the top tow services (serving 13 of the top 16 insurance companies).

Top that off with leads from the 4+ million monthly visitors to our website and Fair Price Estimator, and you see why 94% of shops who start with RepairPal stick with RepairPal—even though we don’t require long-term contracts.

So if you’re looking for a steady stream of quality new customers all year long with no extra effort on your part…

…then you owe it to yourself to schedule a 15-minute, no-pressure conversation to get all the details.

Give yourself the gift of quality new customers all year long.

Yes, I want more customers now – fill out the form below to schedule a demo.

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RepairPal’s 2017 ASE Master Automobile Technician of Year is Michael Aubrey

What Should You Ask Your Mechanic? (and other important consumer auto repair questions from RepairPal’s 2017 ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year, Michael Aubrey)

Intimidated by going to a repair shop and asking questions? Don’t worry—it’s normal.

You’re afraid of paying for repairs you don’t really need or (worse!) bypassing recommended services and later regretting it.

If only you had a trusted resource, someone who’d give you the straight scoop…

Good news! At RepairPal, we specialize in transparency and consumer education, and so do our 2000+ Certified Shops. That’s why 4 million automobile owners visit the RepairPal site every month to use our Fair Price Estimator and get referrals to quality repair shops in their area.

Today we’re proud to introduce Repairpal’s ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year 2017, Michael Aubrey. Michael is an ASE Master Certified Technician at Spartan Automobile Care Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, and he sat down to answer a few questions about finding a good repair shop.

What are the most important questions customers should ask their mechanic before taking their car to the repair shop?

“These are the basic three: Do you provide a written estimate? Do you offer a warranty? Are your technicians certified?”

(By the way, these are three things you’ll always get at a RepairPal Certified Shop.)

What do you think keeps your customers coming back to your shop for car repair and service?

“First, they get customer service by the same people every time they come in. We also help them keep track of what maintenance their car needs and will need.”

All RepairPal Certified Shops are required to use a shop management system to track repairs and maintenance for customers. You don’t have to explain the history of your car every time you take it in for service.

What makes a repair shop trustworthy?

“They have to stand behind their work, get the job done when they say they will, and stick to their estimate.”

With the Fair Price Estimator, extended warranty, and verified customer reviews, consumers can trust that a RepairPal Certified shop meets these “trustworthy” guidelines.

What three pieces of advice do you have for car owners who are looking for a reliable auto repair shop?

“Look for a Shop that can offer a nationwide warranty. Make sure their technicians are ASE certified. And then make sure the shop is recognized or certified by an Automotive Association like RepairPal or AAA.”

What was your reaction when you found out you received RepairPal’s 2017 ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year?

“I was shocked. I have seen articles about and interviews with winners and have wondered what it would take to win it. But I never imagined that I would win it.”

Michael shouldn’t be so modest! To even be considered for the award, a technician must be ASE Master Certified (the highest level) and have taken 1 or more tests in the automobile test series in any administration in the preceding 12 months and must have the highest average passing score across all automobile series tests taken in the last 5 years.

Michael exceeded those requirements, and as shop foreman for Spartan Automobile Care Center in Massachusetts, he’s led his team to reach an impressive 93% on RepairPal’s Overall Quality Scorecard for repair shops.

Ever the gentleman, Michael is proud to be in the company of the other technicians who’ve won ASE awards this year. “It is humbling I’ve been working on cars for a long time and I’ve met so many great technicians. It is an honor to be recognized with them.”

Michael will be recognized at an awards banquet during the annual ASE Board of Governors meeting in November, held in San Diego.

What drives your passion for the Automotive industry?

“I have always been fascinated with anything transportation related—planes, cars, boats, motorcycles. I was a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force working on supersonic fighter jets. I’ve worked on race cars and street rods. I have a couple of vintage motorcycles. So it is just natural for me to be working on cars and understanding how they work. The advances in technology and what it has done for performance and reliability and economy amazes me and it has driven me to learn more and stay current. I look forward to what the future holds for this industry.”

We couldn’t agree more with Michael, and we’re proud to award him with ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year.

Michael is a fine example (though far from the only one) of the kind of quality people who work in the more than 2000 RepairPal Certified Shops across the country. If you’re in West Springfield, Massachusetts, be sure to stop by Spartan Automobile Car Care and say hello.

And if you’re in some other part of the country, know that you can always find trustworthy technicians like Michael Aubrey when you need an auto repair or service.

Want to learn more about becoming a RepairPal Certified Shop? Fill out the form below. 

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Compare 5 Shop Marketing Plans

The best marketing program for your shop is the one that sends more customers, with higher ROs, and gives you the greatest return on every dollar you spend.

However, it’s hard to compare apples to apples without spending hours digging through the fine print.

So we put together this handy chart to help you decide the best place(s) to spend your marketing dollars to land more quality customers.

Comparison of different auto repair marketing services

A whopping 94% of shops remain in our program month after month, year after year. And in just 15 minutes, we can show you why we’ve earned that loyalty.

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