The auto repair industry is an extremely competitive one – you don’t need us to tell you that. It can be hard to figure out how to get that edge, especially when the dealerships seem to be practically made of money. What can you do, aside from offering consistently high quality at a fair price, to set your shop apart? Fortunately, there are a few key principles you can follow to ensure that your auto shop customer experience is the best it can be.
Listen to Your Customer
This sounds so easy, but it’s where so many service advisors and techs go wrong, and it can make or break the auto shop customer experience for a client. Really listen to what your customer is saying about their vehicle and the issues it’s having. They may provide you with extra information you don’t need. They may talk at length about a small issue that you suspect is a symptom of a larger problem. Whatever you do, don’t dismiss their concerns. You might know more about cars in general than they do, but they know how their specific vehicle usually behaves.
Be a Wealth of Information
Your customer may know a lot about how their specific car behaves and drives, but generally speaking they aren’t all that knowledgeable about cars in general. You don’t need to lecture your customer, but be forthcoming with information regarding preventative maintenance, better driving habits, or even just details on the problem they’re currently looking to solve. You’ll gain their trust when you prove that you have their best interests at heart, and they’ll be more likely to return to your shop when their car starts making a funny noise.
There’s always the temptation to try to get a customer to purchase additional services when they come in for maintenance. While you can certainly recommend add-ons that you think will legitimately prolong the life and health of their car, resist the urge to sell them a whole bunch of things they really don’t need. You’ll come across as an oily salesperson who is taking advantage of them, and they’ll never really trust that you’re doing what’s best for them. To ensure a great auto shop customer experience, remember that honesty is always the best policy.
Don’t Lie to Your Customers
Of course, you’re sitting there thinking, “No way would I lie to my customers!” That’s great, but how often do you stretch the truth when you don’t really know what’s wrong with the car but don’t want to tell your customer that? There’s no shame in telling the customer you don’t know what’s wrong with the vehicle, as long as you have a plan. Whether that plan is to try a simple fix that may need further tinkering down the road, ask the customer to drive until the problem gets worse, or even send the customer to another shop that specializes in their make or model depends on the situation. What’s important to your auto repair customer experience is being totally transparent and honest.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
We get it – you see a ton of vehicles in your shop every day. Margins are tight, and you’re feeling the pressure to push your techs harder and cram one more car into the lineup for the day. You owe it your team to leave enough room on the schedule for techs and service advisors alike to ask the intelligent questions they need to fully understand the problem and get the best result for the customer. This goes back to our first point about really listening to the customer. Encourage your team to really take the time to talk to the customer before diving under the hood. Asking thoughtful questions demonstrates to the customer that you know your stuff and care about the outcome of their service appointment. It also ultimately allows you to work more efficiently.
Follow Up Regularly
No customer likes to be kept waiting for the status of their vehicle. Make every effort to diagnose vehicles promptly and contact the customer with a thorough update and estimate. Follow up regularly with an estimated completion time, and if there’s a chance the vehicle won’t be completed on the same day it was brought in communicate that early and often as well. Your customers will thank you for keeping them informed.
Lean on Technology
Here’s a bonus tip for you – technology is revolutionizing the way auto repair shops service vehicles, as well as how they serve their customers. The tools you need to take your auto shop customer experience to the next level may be hiding in plain site as features in your shop management software system or DVI tool. For example, 360 Payments offers a Text to Pay feature that allows you to text invoices to your customers and enables them to pay directly from their mobile phones. If you’re interested in this and other payments solutions for your shop, give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to help you make your auto shop the very best it can be.
PS – Read more tips on how to improve your shop’s customer experience here.
PPS – Check out our guide on servicing autonomous vehicles here.