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I'm also interested in this and had a live demo. I'm not really interested in the email advertising (see Gmail and their new filter system) or their mail outs (Hand addressed envelopes seem to work better and are comparative in cost). But I do like the way they break down your customer database into categories with details, maintain your social media accounts, and actively pursue positive online reviews. They also let you see how you compare to other local shops in advertising and other numbers.

 

Joe, I can tell you this. I have spoke with a customer who used to go to another shop and I asked for her opinion on mail outs (thank you notes and reminder cards). She said she had gotten a reminder card from the other local shop and said it looked cheesy/mass production/not personal at all. She said my hand addressed thank you letter and reminder letters that I personally sign looked way better and came off a lot more personal (she kept it and showed it to her friends). I'm 99% sure the other shop was using customerlink.

Edited by mmotley
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Hi Joe,

I have been with DemandForce, MechanicNet, and now CustomerLink. I also considered the new Alldata offering.

 

All are fairly similar, what I liked about CustomerLink is the fact that they only deal with Auto Repair. MechanicNet...when I needed things changed, it was impossible to get anything done. Everything was very quick to sign me up, but afterwards it was lagging. DemandForce was working fairly well, although CustomerLink was a little cheaper, and I really liked what they did with the mailers. I am not sure if our customers were ready with text messages, but I had a huge fallout with text messages through DemandForce and perhaps that's what made me change.

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I am not sure if our customers were ready with text messages, but I had a huge fallout with text messages through DemandForce and perhaps that's what made me change.

 

Was CustomerLink recommending sending a text message ad to all your customers? If so, I can see this having a negative impression. Curious if they have success with this anywhere.

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Wow I had a demo with CustomerLink too. Haven't had any issues with DemandForce but CustomerLink had a great setup as well. Cheaper and no contract.....

 

P.S. I have customers who love the text messages and some who could care less. All they need to do is opt out at the first text and they will never receive one again.

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CustomerLink doesn't have the text message option. DemandForce does, I had it setup that I sent a preliminary text to acquire approval. I wouldn't ask for permission, sometimes I'd forget...I had one guy in particular throw a 3 minute tantrum on the phone about privacy and then ask me which service that is since he's a lawyer and his company could use something like that...great guy. :rolleyes:

 

 

Otherwise, the lack of contract was really easy to switch. If you're ever with DemandForce, prepare to get a call from a professional bully at the end that will try dissuade you by any means necessary to not cancel. I told him that I would consider coming back if CustomerLink wasn't working but by the nature of his phonecall, I won't be back. He didn't care, he lost his commission and was pissed...he also offered a lower monthly price.

Edited by Big_K
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I just did a 4 month deal with Customer Link and used a tracking number to report any calls from the flyers. The only phone calls I received were 2 wrong numbers, one looking for a plumber and the other asking for their "Uncle Steve" and one person asking if we were hiring. I have started simply passing out flyers myself and using the post office and their route delivery option to target people around my shop and received much better results. Not to mention when I asked if I could change anything about the program to get better results all I was offered was a free month of mailers if I didn't receive any calls. However since I received 3 calls (the first of which came before the mailers were even mailed out) this was also not an option. After cancelling service I was also charged a $90 fee the next month and could not be told why. In my opinion their professionalism disappears once you start the service.

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  • 1 month later...

 

Was CustomerLink recommending sending a text message ad to all your customers? If so, I can see this having a negative impression. Curious if they have success with this anywhere.

Law requires that if you are sending something for promotional services, you're required that the customer opts in themselves. So no sending a text message without consent.

 

We're probably going to move away from customer link soon. Their postcards were useless, and their review system stays..on their review system. Its nice to have all the reviews, but they aren't in the most effective place - like they would be on bing and google (I'm looking at going with overdrive strategies maybe, for reputation stuff. they were recommended to me by a friend). But i've moved our email marketing off, over to just mail chimp, I think the demographic photos are a bit cheesy, and I doubt their effectiveness. Looks cool from shop owners perspective, but that may be the extent. Looking into replacing all they do to save $300.

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Could you guys elaborate on the usps services? Thanks.

Basically you take your own flyers, postcards, etc. to the post office and buy a route and every address on that route gets one of your pieces. They have all the info as far as how many houses and businesses are on each route. It is very reasonably priced (I am just north of Atlanta and can buy most routes for under $50) and the main hassle is getting the flyers printed. I do all of my own but you can also farm it out to companies like Vistaprint.

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  • 5 months later...

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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