When it comes to acquiring new customers or retaining current customers, there are a couple of methods to choose from.
Some ways are:
- The time and money you spend on marketing, trying to reach new customers.
- The time and money you spend on your rewards and loyalty programs, enticing your customers to keep coming back.
- The time you spend working with dissatisfied customers, intervening before they stop doing business with you.
If you manage your shop by the numbers, you’ll quickly learn that a typical new customer does not become profitable until their second or third repair. Retaining your customers is one of the major keys to success for the overall longevity of your shop’s health.
But car repair is not a frequent, inexpensive, or low-involvement purchase. Offering rewards for oil changes and tire rotations can keep customers loyal to you. Although those are very low-profit sales for your shop, you have started to build a rapport with your retaining customer base.
Creating a rewards program is a very fast way to keep customers coming back, even though it might not be the most profitable.
Who enjoys dealing with unhappy customers?
Don’t answer that question. Instead, answer this: How many consumers enjoy complaining to their repair shop that their car was not fixed right, or that the work was sloppy, or that small items were overlooked, especially on big-ticket purchases?
9 out of 10 dissatisfied customers won’t tell you they’re unhappy. They just stop doing business with you instead.
When this happens, you lose:
- All the marketing and advertising money you spent to acquire that customer.
- All the rewards, discounts, or incentives you might have spent on that customer trying to retain them.
- All the future profits you could have made from that customer.
- Any referrals you could have received from that customer.
That’s why you need a healthy returning customer base. Some technicians take great pride in their work. They make certain that every little detail is painstakingly attended to on each repair, no matter how long it takes. If you tracked what percentage of your customers who kept coming back after that tech serviced their car, it would prove to be quite high.
Then there are the techs who rush through every ticket as fast as they can. They appear to be very profitable to the shop they work for. But they might overlook small things.
Maybe they won’t mention the nail they see in a tire during a 30,000-mile service, or the burned-out tail light, or the driver’s door trim that’s rattling, or the rearview mirror that’s loose.
But customers will eventually discover all those overlooked items, and odds are they’ll do it soon after they get their car back from you.
What can you do to improve the customer experience?
Find your dissatisfied customers and intervene before they take their business somewhere else. In the long run, if you retain enough of those customers, you’ll have a very busy — and very profitable — repair shop.
You can also become RepairPal Certified which attracts more customers, surveys them to get fresh and honest reviews, increases your average ARO, and greatly boosts your customer loyalty. RepairPal has an extensive partner program where you can receive additional appointments and calls from partners like:
- Consumer Reports
Find out if you qualify over at repairpal.com/shops.