The MSO: Increasing Your Capture Rate
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The MSO: Increasing Your Capture Rate

What would it look like if you increased your capture rate by just 5 percent? This is a question I continually ask our management team.

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Joe Carubba is owner, president and CEO of Carubba Collision Corp., a multi-shop operation in Western New York that has grown to four main offices, a dealer satellite office and six production facilities. He has worked in the auto body industry for 35 years, starting out with his father part-time in the 1970s sweeping floors and cleaning cars. He was named the BodyShop Business Executive of the Year in 2013. His philanthropic efforts have included Make-A-Wish, the Food Bank of WNY, and many others. He can be reached at [email protected]

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What would it look like if you increased your capture rate by just 5 percent? This is a question I continually ask our management team.

Let’s consider a facility that writes $500,000 worth of estimates per month, converting $325,000 of those estimate opportunities into repair orders (a 70-percent capture rate). A 5-percent improvement in capture rate would result in additional sales of $25,000 per month, or $300,000 for the year. Think about that – $300,000 in sales for the year. If your gross profit margin is 42 percent, that’s $126,000 gross profit dollars. As you can see, it’s well worth continually working on improving your capture rate.

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The Basics of Selling

So what can you do to improve your capture rate? I think it’s getting back to the basics of selling. Here are some opportunities to improve your selling skills:

  1. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The customer receiving and waiting areas need to be meticulously clean and organized as a starting point to gaining customer confidence. A clean, uniformed staff, certifications displayed on the wall and a freshly painted office also help make that first impression. Research suggests that clean bathrooms have a significant influence on the customer’s perception of your organization.
  2. Make sure your customer greeting is both enthusiastic and professional. “Good morning, welcome to Carubba Collision. How can I help you?” is an improvement over, “I’ll be with you in just a minute.”
  3. Make customers comfortable, and keep them engaged. Offering a customer a seat, a bottle of water or cup of coffee while they wait goes a long way. Make sure your customer service representative is keeping them engaged while they’re waiting for the estimate.
  4. Show empathy for the customer’s situation. Respond with empathy. When customers tell the guest services representative, “I’ve had an accident and need an estimate,” the immediate response, “I’m sorry to hear you had an accident, is everyone OK?” is just one example of how to communicate empathy.
  5. Always assume that the customer has already decided that you will make the repairs and serve their needs. Some examples of taking an assumptive position include:
  6. When you drop your vehicle off, we’ll have your rental car ready to go so you will not be inconvenienced.
  7. We’ll keep you informed during the repair process so you’ll know how your vehicle is doing, and we’ll confirm your delivery date and time.
  8. When you come to pick your vehicle up…
  9. When we detail your vehicle, we’ll … This is also known as the assumptive close.
  10. Customers sometimes raise concerns or objections, especially when you make assumptive statements. This is an opportunity to turn the concern or objection into a repair order.
  11. Use “Feel/Felt/Found” when handling objections – a proven method for answering objections or concerns. Here are two examples:
  12. A customer asks, “Can you save my deductible?” The Feel/Felt/Found response is, “I understand how you feel about having to pay your deductible. Customers raise this concern from time to time. What we have found is that making repairs to your vehicle to the exact repair plan results in the best repair. Protecting the value and safety of your vehicle is our main concern.”
  13. A customer says, “My agent said I need multiple estimates.” The Feel/Felt/Found response is, “I understand how you feel about listening to your agent. Customers come in with the same directive from their agent all the time. What we have found is customers save a lot of time and confusion by choosing Carubba. We can call your agency now and let them know we can work with the carrier directly because of our status with them and get you into a rental car right now.”
  14. Feature benefit. When presenting company features, always include the benefit to the customer. For example:
  15. “Enterprise Rent-a-Car is on site, making it very convenient for dropping off and picking up your car.”
  16. “We are a Honda or OEM-certified collision repair organization, giving you peace of mind that your car will be repaired to the factory specifications.”
  17. Ask for the job!!! So many times, we simply don’t say it loud enough for customers to hear or we don’t say it at all. “We would like to make the repairs to your vehicle. If you would just add your signature to the authorization to repair, we can get started.”

There are two books that will help you strengthen your understanding of the selling process:

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  1. Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is an easy read filled with ideas that will help anyone improve their selling skills.
  2. “Selling for Dummies” by Tom Hopkins is an excellent book that delivers many valuable lessons for improving your sales skills.

Having your front-end staff read books like these and then practice lessons learned is a key to developing and strengthening selling skills.

We measure capture-rate performance and share the results on a weekly and monthly basis. We also measure store performance and individual performance. We run monthly contests, and they get quite competitive. Our individual capture-rate performance ranges from 55 percent to 95 percent. Needless to say, when a staff member is struggling, we find out how we can help them improve and get them the help they need.

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