By Jonathan Ganther
Hey guys. I'm new to the forum and was looking for this subject but couldn't find it. Sorry If I'm posted something that's already been discussed. I own a brake shop in Austin, TX. We do anywhere from 10-20 brake jobs a day. We only do brakes so I don't know how much full service auto shops deal with this problem but... Customers are constantly calling in claiming they've bought the best parts or they want to provide their own parts because they've done research and know what is best. This drives me crazy. First of all they don't know whats best. Then after being told no they get offended and act like tons of shops allow this. What is the best way to handle these customers? Just send them away? I'll quote them a price using our parts and they act as though its a rip off. What shops are doing this for their customers? I feel like I'm letting jobs get away from me. Any experience with this?
What's everyone using and what do you prefer in terms of online parts ordering? Are you using something integrated into your shop software or a standalone website from napa, o'rielly, advance, autozone, or other local or regional parts supplier? What do you like about it?
Using Napa Prolink and AdvancePro along with worldpac speedial
I was recently having a conversation over lunch with a college buddy of mine who has a PhD in computer science and owns a web development company we were casually talking about business etc and started discussing websites and ROI. This got me thinking about my shops site and how efficient we are in tracking the ROI. We currently use Autoshop solutions (were with them before he started the web company but plan on switching) and pay about $190 a month in web maintenance fees with includes updates, hosting and a portal to login to track views etc but it made me start wondering if I really knew the true ROI of my website. Every month I look at the numbers and the reports and see bounce rate, time per page etc but never really have sat to think what that really means and if my website is serving its purpose (to capture the attention of and bring in new customers). On top of that we have our adwords budget and all in all I feel like we are just throwing money out there hoping it will stick and assuming that the site is making us money.
So my question is how is everyone else tracking the ROI of their website?
Also, if you don't mind my asking, what is the typical amount (or rough estimate) you pay monthly for web maintenance (if you have it) and do you feel like you are getting your money's worth from your hosting company? My buddy has offered me an opportunity to come into his business (I have a background in IT as well) and to offer some insight in capturing some business from the automotive industry but I just wanted to get a feel for the problems which you guys are facing today to see if I am the only one with these questions and issues or if this could be an industry issue worth pursuing.
By Mail Shark
Tracking the return on your auto repair shop’s direct mail marketing can be a challenge. One tool that can give you a tremendous amount of transparency into your direct mail ROI and that I recommend almost 100% of the time is call tracking.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what call tracking is and how it works, it involves putting a unique phone number on your direct mail that isn’t used anywhere else. When someone calls the number, it forwards immediately and seamlessly to your main phone line. This gives you the ability to track and record all phone calls from this special number, in turn giving you some transparency into how your direct mail marketing is performing.
There are of course many other nuances, capabilities, and uses for call tracking that you can learn about from companies like CallRail or Conversa, just to name a few.
That said, it’s critical you understand call tracking is NOT the be-all end-all when it comes to determining how well your direct mail marketing is working. If this were the case, you’d have to assume that 100% of every new repair order you get calls directly from your mailer. However, we all know this will never be the case. Here are a few reasons why.
Your Online Presence
Before they consider using you repair shop, many prospects will go online to check out your website. If a customer lands on your website – assuming you aren’t using a PURL (Personalized URL), which is almost never the case with most auto repair shops – they do their research and then call your shop from the phone number on your website. In this situation, you immediately lose insight on how they heard about you.
Customers are also reading your online reviews, whether on social media or review sites. Sites like Demandforce, SureCritic, Carfax, Repair Pal, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. all have your shop’s contact details, including your phone number. Any call from customers who used these sites removes transparency on how they heard about you.
Our auto repair shop clients consistently tell us customers will just stop by their shop with their direct mail piece in hand. I’m not just talking about quick lube shops that are based on walk-in traffic. I’m talking about general and specialty auto repair shops. It’s great when customers have your mailer with them, because you can attribute these customers to your direct mail marketing. However, this won’t be reflected in your call tracking, which is another reason call tracking isn’t the be-all end-all when determining ROI.
Online Appointment Scheduling
More and more auto repair shops are offering online appointment scheduling. We like to position these shops as being easy to work with, and part of that is promoting their online appointment scheduling. We include verbiage on our direct mail pieces to inform customers they can conveniently schedule online, and most times we accompany this with a QR code that brings them directly to the appointment scheduling page.
This is similar to my first point regarding your online presence and website. However, I also want to point out this specific example because in these cases, we’re actively pushing people to go online to schedule their repair or maintenance service, thus losing transparency from call tracking.
All that said, call tracking is an effective tool that gives you a lot of transparency into your direct mail marketing ROI. However, you should also be running matchback reports that compare new repair orders during (and in the trailing months following your campaign) to your direct mail list. This helps you identify customers who were missed on call tracking or by your service advisor. You can then use your call tracking data in conjunction with your matchback reporting to get a clearer picture of your direct mail ROI.
If you’re using EDDM® Retail or EDDM® BMEU, you won’t be able to execute matchback reporting because there’s no mailing list to compare your repair orders with.
Executive Vice President of Sales
Email: [email protected]
Our current supplier for shop supplies just announced a 25% increase on nitrile disposable gloves (Ouch), as well as a 10% increase on wiper blades and metal spin on filters. I have limited to no choice in forwarding these increases to customers. However, I am in the market of seeking other suppliers. What companies do you currently use for such stocked inventory? Any recommendations?
What are your thoughts in asking the techs to supply their own work gloves? Perhaps a non disposable nitrile grip?