Before they ever step foot in a collision shop, consumers know they need to get their car fixed after an accident, but how can you attract them to your shop over others in the area? Shops looking to grow and thrive need to connect with customers, not just for their next collision repair but also to become the business they, their family and friends see as the one they trust above all others.
Here are a few ideas for positioning your shop to earn that title.
- Knowing your staff and customers. Besides making for a more positive work environment, having long-term employees is a great way to distance yourself from the competition in the eyes of your customers. When your staff has a relationship with the customer, they don’t have to start from the bottom building a rapport. The process goes smoother, and each visit builds upon that relationship. When your customer feels like they know you – when they can go to “Mike” to fix their vehicle rather than just “make an appointment” – they’re much more likely to be loyal to your shop after a future collision.
- Your company culture. There are so many factors outside of your control – economic conditions, decisions by the manufacturer, competitor’s programs, weather and so on – that impact your business. One that you are in complete control of, however, is your shop’s culture. How do you treat your team? How do your team members treat each other? Cultivating a team-focused atmosphere is the best way to ensure your valuable employees stay under your roof. Building this workplace means having a vision you can share with your team where all will see the fruits of their efforts, creating opportunities for your team to grow and making the shop an enjoyable place to come into every day. Your team will see you in the leadership role, working alongside them. And yes, you may have to retrain or remove certain employees who consistently bring morale down.
- Your reputation. No matter how careful we are with our processes or how hard we strive to serve our customers’ needs, there will be times when things don’t go well. With online review sites, a bad experience can be shouted far and wide to thousands. When deciding to do business with your shop, most consumers research you to see what others’ experiences have been. What will they find about you? While there are companies out there that will monitor your online reputation, there are some simple things you can do to protect your shop online. Regularly look at popular review sites to see what’s being said about you. If you find someone with complaints, contact them and see if there’s a way to make it right.
- Social media and community outreach. Never neglect the role of branding in your overall marketing strategy. When the community is familiar with your shop – for good reasons – it’s that much easier to be at the top of their mind when they need your services. One of the best ways to connect with your potential customers is to have regular, relevant content on social media that they actually want to read. Instead of flooding your feed with before-and-after vehicle pictures, post links that might be of interest, such as recall information, summer/winter car preparation or other items. Also, don’t forget the tried-and-true methods of connecting with people – sports team sponsorships, charity drives and other ways that show you’re a caring, vital, stable part of the community.
This article was originally published by Auto Success.