I’m sure if you have a shop that’s been around for years, you have some amazing relationships with your customers. How many have become your dear friends? How many people have brought their children to fix their cars with you?
You must know that the best marketing is word of mouth. A angry customer tells everyone about their experiences. The goal? Build an incredible level of trust and connection with your customers.
We are human. Mistakes happen. Parts fail. Times don’t line up. Maybe you even missed a frozen caliper in an initial brake inspection.
If you haven’t built a relationship of trust, you may be in for a tough conversation that will end with an angry customer. On the other hand, customers that trust you are likely to give you a chance to fix things and maybe even laugh about it later.
- Show people you care. You know how people say to pay attention to bumper stickers and the toys kids carry to build conversation? It’s actually really good advice. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve connected with customer over their kids reminding me of my sisters, or even the customer driving a car that I love. If you can connect with your customer on a personal level they tend to trust you.
- Show empathy. Let’s say you have a customer that has 5 different things that are wrong with their car. There are a few different ways to sell the job: You can be the aggressive hard seller that pushes repairs that might be okay to wait on. Or, you can prioritize the repairs and allow your customer to confidently put off a repair for a short time if it won’t hurt their car.
When you don’t push a customer to do maintenance or repairs that they can wait on, they are more likely to trust in the future. When a major repair comes along that can’t wait, you’ll have the authority and trust to close the sale.
Remind yourself what it was like when you didn’t have loads of money in your pocket or had to come up with a chunk of change last minute. Talk from your heart. Show passion for your job, the car and educating your customers. Empathy can come across in many different ways in your business. This is just one but you can use your imagination to consider many more.
- Talk about your personal car experiences. Customers want to connect with someone real and genuine. I find that talking about my own car problems, cars I’ve owned, or even my car adventures really makes for a fun experience with my customers. Customer having a brake problem? Share with them the last time your car had problems with its brakes. Be real. Be honest. Show your customer that you are just like them.
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve told the story of my first car and how the fuel pump went out within a day of buying it. I emphasis that everyone thought it was the battery and then the alternator. It took a few weeks before they found the true cause of the problem. I use this story to emphasize the need for diagnostics so that the correct problem is found the first time. I talk about how frustrated I was that I lost so much time, and how glad I was that I didn’t pay for it because so much money would have gone down the drain.
At the end of the day we know that our bread and butter are the return customers: loyal fans that come in every oil change, trust us to fix their cars right, and keep their families safe. Would you trust anyone to maintain your safety? Would you give your hard earned money to anyone who says that something needs to be fixed?
Building a relationship of mutual trust and respect is the foundation of long term customer loyalty.
Author: Chaya Milchtein