Let’s look at some simple ways to build trust more quickly.
Clean Up Your Advertising
A lot of advertising repels people. It brags about the business, boasts how great they are, or proudly exclaims how long it’s been around. It conveys arrogance.
Good advertising attracts people by focusing on problems the customer might be having, and then offering solutions. It shows what the customer can expect. Here are two examples:
- Rather than boasting “We’re experts with 30 years of experience,” try saying “Worried about being without your car? Most repairs are done in one day with an appointment.”
- Rather than bragging “We have factory-trained technicians,” try saying “Puzzled about how to explain what’s wrong with your car? No problem. Fill out our easy online questionnaire. That will help you explain your concerns.” And if the shop does not have a questionnaire on the site, consider it highly.
Improve Your Communication by Listening Better
People distrust those who don’t listen to them. Small improvements in your communication style will yield great gains in customer trust. If you haven’t already studied active listening skills (every business owner should), here are some quick tips. Practicing these things will let people know that you value what they have to say:
- Don’t jump to conclusions. When listening, don’t start thinking about an answer. Just concentrate on understanding what the other person is saying, and what they are feeling.
- Repeat back to them what you heard. For example, “I understand you had a bad experience at another repair shop, and that you’re concerned it will happen again. Is that correct? Good. Then let’s talk over a few ways we can ensure that doesn’t happen, OK?”
Make It Easier for People to Do Business with Your Shop
You and your staff don’t have time to listen to voicemails as soon as they come in. But customers don’t like waiting for an answer. The longer you make them wait, the more unappreciated they feel. That destroys trust.
To lessen that problem, offer other ways for customers to communicate with you:
- Confirm appointments by text one or two days in advance.
- Email, online chat and social media are all methods successful businesses use to engage with consumers. It builds a sense of community and trust. Use them.
Make it easier for people to contact you when they need to. Cars need less maintenance and repairs these days, so you’ll need to find ways to engage more potential new customers.
Promote Your Warranties Clearly
You know that if you use the best parts, and don’t skip steps in the repair process, repairs will last a long time. But “warranty” is still an unpleasant word to many shop owners. It shouldn’t be.
When giving estimates, always mention your warranty. Make it a selling point.
Do you offer longer warranties on certain repairs? Great! Is it free or is there an extra charge? People like having choices. It makes them feel that they are in charge.
Start with Your Techs
Customers aren’t the only ones who care about trust. Contrary to popular opinion, automotive technicians don’t list money as their number one reason for staying at a shop, or for leaving it either. Trust and respect are more important to them.
The way you distribute work has a huge influence on whether your techs trust you. Here are two ways to build that trust:
- Do you explain how you make decisions when allocating work among techs, or do you expect them to accept your decisions blindly?
- Is your shop’s warranty policy on labor clear and in writing? Is it part of your onboarding training for new techs? Do they get paid something, or nothing, for their labor if a part goes bad under warranty? Be clear on all that, so everybody knows what to expect when those situations arise.