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.
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?
#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.
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.