Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How Do Our Customers Know We Care?

With an ever-changing customer experience in the retail market that was thrown into a storm during Covid, we’ve learned what we need to do to change and how to put it together. There were many grocery delivery companies pre-Covid that made convenience a high priority, but most customers didn’t flock to retail outlets solely for convenience until it was also combined with a need for safety. With the current retail world being much different than in the past and supermarkets having kept the staple of parking lot delivery a convenience, are we doing the same in the automotive world?

Are You Still Considering Your Customers?

When Covid first hit, it put many of us in a fight or flight mindset. Were we going to lie down and take the punches, or were we going to fight back? A lot of us introduced concierge-type pickup and drop-off vehicles, the ability to shuttle customers, touted sanitizing vehicles after service, and even more. Even though Covid isn’t gone, we dropped some of those customer conveniences because business rebounded in a big way with cash being exchanged left and right. Does this suit us, or does it suit the customers?

KUKUI | Google Partner

The Importance of Trust and Convenience

Considering customers walk into our doors based on one or two criteria — trust or convenience, we need to keep those two core products at the forefront. It’s understood we will dictate certain dynamics like hours of operation, what we repair or don’t, and other business aspects, but if we’re not doing the rest on the customer’s terms, what will keep them coming back?

Value propositions are items that we have above and beyond our competitors, or maybe they offer the same item but not the same quality of product. Examples are secure after-hours key pickup, touchless payment systems, nationwide warranties, and thank you calls among others. We live in an age where if we’re not keeping up with the times, we’ll be left in the past.

We shouldn’t be looking only at others in our industry to learn from, what others are successfully doing in other industries can be lessons for us. Who doesn’t look forward to the chocolate mints at the end of an Olive Garden meal? They’ve been doing that for so long, it’s not only a tasteful end to a meal but it’s expected. Do we have something so concretely engrained in our customer’s minds, that they can convey that specific perk to others, and be promotors of our business?

Give Your Customers Perks

Let’s expand on one perk specifically to spark the changes — thank you calls. This should be done two days after a customer visits, regardless of the reason they came in. We shouldn’t be filtering who gets a thank you call and who doesn’t based on what their “value” is to us. Treating everyone equally makes sure everyone gets the same “wow” experience, and our employees don’t create their own filters based on our poor habits if we approached this differently. The impact of thanking someone for visiting and appreciating them keeping our business viable are heartfelt gestures that leave everyone with positive vibes.

Conveniences Will Separate You from Competition

We can’t simply extend the same conveniences and customer experience we did ten years ago. The times are different, the generations are different, and the vehicle’s technologies are different. If we don’t separate ourselves from our competition, we will simply blend in. Think about the impact digital vehicle inspections (DVI) make on a customer that hasn’t seen one before. The courtesy check results conveyed in digital form are an eye-opener for them, and a way for us to be leaders in our realm.

What amazing interactions do we see in other industries that would be great to incorporate in the auto industry?

Non-ATI Members: Want to learn more about today’s best practices that help you stand out from your competition and grow your bottom line? Start with a shop owner event at www.atievent.com. We offer virtual and in-person events, fee-based and free, for both auto repair and collision repair shop owners. Find one near you today!

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Author
Koole Bolina is a Performance Coach at ATI and has been in the automotive industry since 1998. Starting with a personal interest in automotive repairs, he continues to be part of car clubs, drag racing and keeping up with industry trends. Koole loves to positively influence those who want to do better, be better. If the industry we happen to do business in is the automotive field, that makes it all the better.