There’s a lot of competition in the automotive aftermarket these days. Setting yourself apart from the competition is difficult – especially when time and money is limited. It seems like the dealerships have a monopoly on a great auto shop customer experience – but that’s just not the case. There are simple but strategic adjustments you can make to the way your shop does business that will dramatically change the way customers feel about you. Let’s take a look at four key ways you can create a great auto shop customer experience.
It All Starts with Honesty
Today’s auto repair customer is looking for a shop that won’t fleece them out of their money. They want their problem fixed quickly and correctly, and that’s it. They don’t want to be sold a whole bunch of services they don’t need. They don’t want to feel like they’re being talked down to. And they most certainly don’t want to feel like they’re just a number in your shop management software. Your goal should be not only to convince the customer that you’re on their side but to actually mean it. This means not being dismissive of customer concerns or acting like their questions are, well, dumb. On the other side of the spectrum, if a customer comes into your shop who has obviously done their research, respect the effort they’ve put into solving their problem on their own. In turn, they’ll respect your shop and your expertise. This is where every great auto shop customer experience starts.
Time is Money
Your objective when a customer brings their car through the door should be to get it back in their hands, fully repaired, as quickly as possible. While we’re not suggesting you cut corners on repairs, we are suggesting you take a look at your dealership operations and see if there are places where you can eliminate wasted time. One of the key places to do this in the checkout process. How many times have your service advisors complained about the end of day rush? The line of customers stretches out the door, everyone is cranky and wants to go home (customers and service advisors alike), and nothing is moving fast enough. What if you could text your customer their invoice earlier in the day as soon as their car is done? They can review the charges, enter their credit card information, and sign with their finger right on their smartphone screen. This is already a reality, thanks to our new Text to Pay feature.
Be Proud of Being a Local Business!
There’s a lot of pressure on auto repair shops to compete with the dealerships. While you should always strive to create a top-notch auto shop customer experience, this doesn’t mean you have to imitate everything the dealerships do. As a local business, you have a big leg up in the trust game. Customers want to know that you care about them and about their communities. They want to know that you live just down the street, that your kids go to school with theirs, and that you take pride in making sure the residents of your community can get where they need to go. Don’t discount the value of these intangibles! They mean more to your customers than you realize.
Get to Yes
Today’s auto shop customer (and consumer in general) comes to the table with the expectation that their needs are going to be met. They want to know that the service they will receive is exactly what they need, delivered on time by a friendly and competent team. We all know that the customer isn’t always right, but within reason it’s your job as the auto shop owner to give them what they’re asking for. That means empowering your team to do what it takes to say yes to the customer. Would a discount really smooth over a rough customer service experience? Authorize your service advisor to make those judgment calls without consulting you. Did the customer call in with an additional job they’d like done halfway through the day? Work with your techs to shift things around so your customer doesn’t have to make a return trip. These are the little moments that make or break an auto shop customer experience.
Convenience is King
All of these tips basically boil down to one simple concept – your customers crave convenience. They want the right product delivered the right way for the right price – and they don’t want to worry that you’re getting rich at their expense. One simple yet significant step toward offering convenience for your customers is to sign up for Text to Pay with 360 Payments. If you’re ready to upgrade your shop’s checkout solution, give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you how we’re transforming the way the auto industry accepts payments, one shop at a time.
PS – Read our guide on how to hire and retain the top automotive talent in your area.
PPS – The automotive industry is being transformed by technology. Read more here.