As Featured On BY ANDREW JOHNSON
Joe Jacobs, owner of DW Campbell Tire & Auto Service in Atlanta, says many first-time customers are “scared to death” of the repair experience and rarely trust repair providers. He wanted to find a strategy to build consumer trust that would also differentiate his facility from competing shops in the market. So Jacobs earned the Top Shop certification through RepairPal in September 2012, an organization that certifies repair shops for adherence to business standards such as work quality, equipment and tooling, and training.
“Certifications help shops stand out from the rest of the group. If you’re able to differentiate yourself with a third-party certification, that lends much more credence to your story,” Jacobs says. “Customers walk through your doors with much more confidence if they’re able to find that you’ve been verified for things like warranty, price, quality and service.”
Art Shaw, CEO of RepairPal, says consumers are driving their vehicles longer than ever, with the average length of vehicle ownership at 11 years. That means there’s a growing need for automotive repairs and maintenance as the number of out-of-warranty vehicles increases on roadways.
But consumers are doing more proactive research prior to visiting repair facilities. Online searches for auto service and repair have increased five-fold in the last five years, Shaw says. Consumers ask friends and family for referrals, they drive by shop locations to assess appearance and customer traffic, and they scour the Internet for additional information.
“What people want is high quality at fair prices,” Shaw says. “And they want help understanding whether those needs will be met.”
Shaw says consumer traffic on
has increased 44 percent year after year since the organization launched, one indicator that more people are looking for shop certifications.
Since earning its certification, DW Campbell has grown its primary market from a five- to a 25-mile radius, and increased incoming phone calls by 40 a month.
“People are finding our shop through the RepairPal website. It has expanded our reach quite a bit,” Jacobs says, noting one customer recently drove 30 miles past more than 200 shops to get to his facility. Those improvements have resulted in a monthly revenue increase of $3,000 to $5,000.
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