It's no secret that it's cheaper to earn repeat customers than it is to try to gain new ones. In fact, it can cost up to FIVE times as much to attract new customers to your automotive repair shop than to keep your current customers happily coming back time and time again. Yet, so many shops (44% to be exact) are more focused on customer acquisition rather than retention.
Many factors can contribute to better customer retention, but most factors are relationship oriented and have a lot to do with how the shop communicates to its customers. 89% of companies see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention, so what steps can your auto repair shop take to fuel customer retention?
1. Provide consistency in the experience. Think of all the big name companies that are killing the game. There are expectations set before customers deal their brand. They know what they want and how they want to be treated. The best auto repair shops understand this concept have set procedures in place for everything they do. When customers feel that there is consistency, they are more likely to return for future repairs.
2. Develop effective marketing programs. Marketing for customer retention has a different objective than marketing for new business. Marketing for retention should be focused on building and strengthening relationships with your current customer base. Setting in place something like a rewards program that offers incentives every time the customer returns is a great example of how to market to your existing customer base.
3. Offer and deliver good value. Delivering good value is something customers appreciate. Your prices should accurately reflect the amount of time, care, and effort you take to repair each car that drives though your bay. Great repair shops are competitive, not greedy.
4. Utilize reminders for appointments and recommendations. Customers should be notified when services are due on their vehicle or when they have a scheduled appointment either by email or mail. Or if you’re shop is up to date on the latest technologies, you can schedule automatic appointments before they leave your shop! Being able to forecast their next oil change or tire installation is a great way to keep your customers coming back without putting a ton of pressure on them.
5. Deliver on promises. If you want your customers to continue to return, then make sure that all of your employees choose their words carefully when they are making a commitment to your customers. They trust that you will follow through completely with what you say, and it would seriously damage that trust if you under-deliver.
For more information on providing great service, read 7 Tips on Delivering Extraordinary Service.
6. Keep you shop up to date on the latest technologies. It may sounds silly, but your customers want to see you grow too. They want to know they you’re keeping up with the industry to they’ll always have a reliable repair shop to come to. Adapting new technologies like a shop management system or digital vehicle inspection software are two great ways you can delight your customers. Being able to create a transparent relationship with trust and mutual understanding is incredibly valuable to you customers.
By implementing these tips into your automotive repair shop, you’ll create a level of expectation that your customer will not want to lose. They know what they’re in for, they know they can trust you to deliver on your promises and offer them fair, reliable service. They know that by coming back, they have incentive with exclusive customer discounts or coupons, and they know that you’re making strides to stay competitive so they’ll always have a shop to come to. Making these changes all at once might be a little overwhelming. Try starting with just one, and see how well your customer retention improves.