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By Joe Marconi
Don’t Let A Customer Compromise Policy
A women came to the shop a few weeks ago asking for a donation for her son’s baseball team. The woman has come to us for minor service work a few times, but not one of our loyal regulars.
After we gave her the donation, she thanked us and made an appointment for her car. It had a check engine light on and “claimed” it was diagnosed at another shop. When she brought the car in for her appointment, my service manager explained to her that we needed to obtain certain information from the on board computer and then discuss what tests would be needed to determine the cause of the problem. She was vehemently against paying any testing charges, stating that the car is already diagnosed and it needs a catalytic converter. She said, “Just put the catalytic converter in, no other charges." When my service advisor asks why the other shop didn’t do the work, she said, “Your shop gave me a donation, so I wanted to show my appreciation and come to you."
After a few rounds of trying to reason with the customer and against his better judgment, he agreed to just install the converter.
Well, guess what? Yes, the car is now back with the check engine light again, and with the same code. My service manager at this point explained that this would have been avoided if we only followed our policies and procedures and properly tested and diagnosed the car. She stated, “I never told you NOT to diagnose the car, I just didn’t want to pay for the diagnostic charges again.”
No amount of reasoning would sink into this women’s brain (or lack of a brain) and we now have to start from scratch to see why the check engine light is on.
The lesson: Don’t let anyone sway you away from proper procedure or policy. In the end WE were wrong and now we have to make it right. A lesson for all of us.
By Joe Marconi
An aftermarket insurance company wanted me to install a used rack & pinion that they would provide from a salvage yard that they do business with. It’s bad enough that their arrogance dismisses the fact that we make money both on parts and labor, but to think that I need the business that bad that I would compromise my integrity.
I flat out told the insurance company, “NO”. I also told them, “this is my job, my business and I have an obligation to my customer to do the best job possible and do what’s in the best interest for my customer". I spoke to the customer and explained the situation and what I thought was the correct repair. She agreed and paid the difference to install a quality reman unit.
Shop owners, agree or disagree?
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By Joe Marconi
Retail stores have known for a long time that adding or increasing the size of shopping carts also increases sales. Consumers may go to the store with a list, but as they pass through the aisles, having a cart makes it easy to add to that list.
While your repair shop does not use shopping cart, the same strategy can used. Every customer that books an appointment as done so with some sort of list; an oil change service, a brake issue, tire rotation, etc.
Through an effective multipoint inspection and looking at service schedules, you can make suggestions to your customers that can add to their cart; essentially increasing sales per vehicle.
One last thing: Always make service and repair suggestions to the customer that is in their best interest and have value, and you can’t go wrong. It’s actually great customer service.
By Joe Marconi
A few weeks back I had a problem with my refrigerator. I got a referral and called an appliance repair company. I called three times and each time I called this is what happened: "C and E appliance, please hold." I was put on hold three times for about 5 minutes. After being put on hold each time, a women would say, "What's the problem?" No engagement, no sign of interest for me the customer, no signs of caring. I gave the women a brief description of the problem and each time she told me someone would call me back. Well, no one did.
So, I called for the 4th time, and as the person answered the phone I said, "DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD." There was silence, so I continued. I explained to her that she has spoken to me three times, I left messages three times and three times you told me that someone would call me back. She replied, "You are talking to the wrong person, if you have any complaints, write a letter to my boss, after all he won't listen to me anyway." I hung up the phone and called another company.
The lesson and takeaway here is simple: Who's answering your phone? The wrong people on the phone in your shop can kill your business. Have meetings with your people. Make sure you review your phone skills policy. If you don't have one, create one. Empower your people to people to handle issues. And make sure you log every phone call. If you feel you have a problem, start recording phone calls.
Your phone is your lifeline to future business. So, please ask yourself....Who's answering your phone?
By Ron Ipach
I'm going to go out here on a limb here and tell you -
YOUR ONLINE REVIEWS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN ATTRACTING MORE CAR COUNT!
First of all, the reviews given by your customers reveal the health of your business. If your customers aren't saying good things about you, that's a warning sign that you better get your act together right now and start providing a better experience for your customers.
Also, if you only have a few handfuls out of all the hundreds or thousands of customers you've worked saying good things - that's not a healthy sign either. They may like, or even love, doing business with you, but if they aren't telling the world (aka writing an online review), their little secret is hurting your chances to attract more car count.
You see, studies show that 92% of folks will read reviews before making a buying decision, and if you don't have a stellar reputation (4.7 or higher), they'll move on to the next shop.
In fact, I advise that you completely stay away from any form of online advertising for new customers unless your score is at least a 4.7 out of 5.0. Why? Because your prospective new customer will easily be able to compare you with everyone else and will more than likely choose the shop with the better reputation - negating all the time, money, and effort you've put into your advertising efforts.
Look, you can argue with me all you want, but we're talking human nature here. Most will always go with the higher recommended shop. Why not? If you don't have a great reputation score, all you're really doing is advertising for your competitors that do.
But your score isn't the only factor being looked at. There are actually three factors that are important about your reviews.
1. Quality (4.7 or higher overall score is needed)
2. Quantity (These days, a minimum of 75 reviews are needed, but in highly competitive areas, 150+ is needed)
3. Recency (You must be getting 1 or 2 new reviews every single week)
=== So you say you do a great job, your customers love you, but they just aren't writing those positive reviews that you need in order to let the rest of the world know how awesome you are, right? Here are three ways to get more reviews:
1. Ask. (Duh!)
2. Bribe. This has been very effective for a lot of my clients in the past, however it's also considered a no-no by the review sites and may get your account shut down if they find out.
3. Use an automated service like Soapboxx to do it for you that will email or text your customers after their service, ask if they were happy, and then send them directly to Google, Facebook, YP, or wherever you wish so they can write a quick word about their experience.
Soapboxx is the only automated review-boosting service created specifically for the auto repair industry and the beta-testing of the software has just been completed. (See just a few of the remarks from the users below) Go to www.Soapboxx.io for more details.
Check out what some of the members of the new Soapboxx platform are saying...
Whatever you choose to do, ask, bribe, or automate the whole thing - put getting more 4-5 star reviews at the top of your to-do list. It's simply the best thing you can do to help attract more car count to your shop!
By Carl Spandau
hello! i just opened a shop and am having a hard time gaining traction. im looking for some marketing techniques that work good for new business. i have tried social media and google add words with zero results. also are any of the social media marketing company's any good? the ones that call 20 times a day claiming to manage everything and create material for your pages. seems like the only people stopping by are the previous tenants customers and he did not have the best clientele. he marketed heavily discounted repairs, free estimates, bring your own parts. everything i dont want. I would appreciate any tips to getting people into my shop
my shop is a 4 bay with just me and my wife. very clean and remodeled with all the tools a shop needs except an alignment rack.
thank you for your time!