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Earn Customer Loyalty and Increase Sales for Your Shop

October 2019 | By Hayley Horn, Consumer Insights Manager

Hayley Horn, Interstate Batteries® Consumer Insights Manager, taught attendees how to build trust with customers during her presentation at the Digital Dealer 27 Conference (DD27) in Las Vegas. Her presentation, Your Promiscuous Customer: The True Meaning of Loyalty in Today’s World of Automotive Repair, provided attendees with insights into the dual behavior of customers and eight tips to build trust with customers to capture more of their business.

Your customer may be more promiscuous than you think when it comes to automotive repair. As dealers, we pay a great deal of attention to our most “loyal” customers. So much so that when we discover they’ve gone to another shop, we feel cheated, even betrayed.

But what may surprise most is that 43% of today’s consumers are not just one or the other when it comes to a Do It For Me (DIFM) or a Do It Yourself (DIY) individual. They identify as both, according to Interstate Batteries’ recent study of 5,000 consumers. What’s more is that they don’t see this behavior as being disloyal. If they do auto repairs on their own only a percentage of the time, but still use the same shop when they do need a little professional help, they still feel loyal to that shop. Continuing the theme of consumer crossover, customers are even receiving DIFM service in a parking lot of a DIY shop. So, with DIY auto repair on the rise, how can dealers best engage with and retain this complex group of customers to increase sales?

Creating trust is the most valuable thing you can do to grow your customer base. Consider instituting these practices to help your shop become THE service center of choice for DIYers and DIFMers alike:

How to Increase Sales and Build Trust with Customers

Tip #1: Request Reviews and Referrals.

Not only are you competing against a DIYer’s abilities, but you are also competing against other shops in your area. To be the first choice for DIY customers when they do cross into DIFM territory, you must broaden your business’s visibility to show your service truly is the best.

Referrals and reviews offer an opportunity for customers to use online findings as a decision-making tool. Even neutral reviews are better than no reviews at all, so encourage your most satisfied customers to show your shop a little love online. When digital is king, don’t forget to show your best side online.

Tip #2: Keep It Real Online.

Use social media to be personal, relatable and engaging – not disconnected and inauthentic. Consider posting tips, one-question surveys and car hacks that your customers can find useful. 32% of customers interact with brands on social media, so don’t neglect this asset of your dealership and your overall brand.

In our Shop Goals series, we brought together the best new- and old-school mechanics to discuss industry topics, including the value of social media in everyday business practices. Audra Fordin, a fourth-generation mechanic and founder of Women Auto Know, shared that people will use your shop’s social media as a deciding factor on if they want to work with you. Be sure to put your best foot forward and use social media as another way to provide your customers with a little extra value.

Tip #3: The Quote Is Key.

When repairs are done at or under estimated cost, 44% of customers rate their service as extraordinary. Their top frustration, though, is repairs taking longer than quoted. A good rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver – never the other way around because it breaks a customer’s trust and decreases the potential for them to return in the future.

Tip #4: Go the Extra Mile.

43% of customers say free service can take their experience from ordinary to extraordinary. By offering free services like battery testing or airing up tires, you can greatly increase your customer’s experience and build trust in your dealership.

Tip #5: Know Your Customers.

Seems simple enough as you should serve every customer and their needs. But, when you cultivate relationships with those who have the most potential to grow or influence others, you’ll help distinguish your dealership from others.

When you provide the best service to those customers who have great reach, you are increasing the potential for your growth, too. In our Shop Goals series, Charles Sanville, widely known as “The Humble Mechanic,” explained that by listening and trying to understand what’s going on with customers will allow you to gain new ones and increase sales.

Tip #6: Play to Your Strengths.

Invest in what you’re best at. Whether it’s speed, convenience or exceptional service, showcasing these types of strengths to customers will help differentiate you from the competition and reaffirm their choice in your shop.

If your shop’s strength is speed, creating a customer experience with a quick turnaround time can lead to them becoming a repeat customer.

Tip #7: You Only Get One First Impression.

From your website to your waiting room to the quality of repairs, first impressions matter. They’re what will win the customer and keep them coming back.

If customers dislike a shop or have a bad experience, they can choose to leave and go down the street your competition for the same service, or even attempt a DIY auto repair. It’s important to demonstrate that your business is about more than just doing business – it’s about supporting and caring for customer needs.

Tip #8: Stay in Touch.

With today’s digital world, it’s easy to connect with your customers. But, 63% of customers depend on their automotive technician’s advice to make a decision, so send personalized reminders about maintenance and repairs.

As cliché as it may seem, customers won’t necessarily remember what you say, but rather, how you made them feel. By giving them your best every time they visit, you will make them feel their best and give them a reason to choose your shop again and again.

Looking for more ideas on how to take your shop to the top? Check out these other tips from Interstate Batteries on building your auto repair business.

 



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