Taking steps to improve profits and boost customer satisfaction is a top priority for all business owners. Satisfied customers lead to repeat business, leading to greater profit margins. It’s easier and more cost-effective to keep customers happy and retain their repeat business than attracting new ones.
This is particularly true in the auto repair industry, where trust and reputation are very important. The most successful auto repair shops work hard to build a relationship of trust with their existing clients, earning repeat customers that come in for all their automotive needs. Below are three suggestions that will put any business on the path towards satisfied customers and higher profit margins.
Find Ways to Improve Communication with Customers
Even more than other industries, improved communication between automotive repair shops and their customers is a great way to build an atmosphere of trust. There are several steps you can take to improve the line of communication between your shop and its customers.
First, be sure to hire empathetic employees who are willing to truly listen to the needs and concerns of your customers. Most customers at auto repair shops consider the visit to be an inconvenience they want to get over as quickly and painlessly as possible. One of the best ways to improve customer satisfaction is to take the time to listen and understand what the customer needs while offering honest, genuine communication in return.
Another tip for making communication between your customers and employees more streamlined is to request their preferred method of correspondence. Some clients prefer the old-fashioned phone call when there are updates or changes to their service. Others prefer more modern methods such as email, text messaging, or even in-app notifications.
Social media is a great way to connect with customers. Between Facebook, Twitter, and others, you have resources at your fingertips that make it easy to communicate with your customers beyond your shop’s hours of operation. Social media also allows you to get clear messages out to customers but also potential future customers – for example, posting about how a DIY salvage yard might not be the best idea for car repair means you might encourage a few people to come to you instead of doing it themselves. More outreach and engagement means more customers!
Make the Most of Technology
In this age of rapid technological advancement, there are more opportunities than ever to impress your customers with unexpectedly great service. Taking advantage of new innovations is a great way to improve your business’s customer relationships. As a bonus, many of these technologies are available for free or at a very low cost, making them profit margin-friendly.
One specific example of the ways technology has changed the automotive industry is through online scheduling. Today’s customers expect to be able to visit your shop’s website and view the calendar of availability, finding an open time to book their repairs. These applications have features that can help your customers book appointments online and send out appointment reminders, helping you stay on schedule.
Other software can help your repair shop with day-to-day tasks that make your employees more efficient. Higher efficiency means you can schedule more cars each day, leading to larger profit margins. Software programs built specifically for auto repair shops have features that allow you to scan VINs and license plates, perform digital inspections, send real-time photos of the repairs as they are happening, and send messages directly to customers to get approvals and keep them in the loop about the repairs.
The more you embrace technology, the more transparent your business seems to customers. A big complaint that consumers have about auto repair shops is that they seem untrustworthy and uncaring. By not just improving communication but embracing technology that brings you closer to the customer, you will improve your business’s reputation and build loyalty.
Consider Switching to a New Payment Processor to Get a Lower Rate
The third tip for businesses looking for ways to improve profits and customer satisfaction is to consider switching to a new payment processor. In an increasingly paperless world, payment processors have become vital to the success of a business. They take some of the labor out of your hands, such as verifying information with credit card companies and banks as well as providing fraud screening.
When you work with a payment processing vendor that doesn’t fit well with your business, it can hurt your profit margins. If you are unhappy with the level of service from your processor or feel you are paying for more than you get back, it might be time to consider a new vendor.
Negotiating with a new payment processing vendor can result in more favorable terms for your payment rate. You can either save the money for a better profit margin or invest the savings into personnel or technology, improving customer satisfaction. Either way, it’s a good idea for auto repair owners to evaluate the terms of their existing payment processing rate.
One Final Tip
There are always lots of different thing you can try to improve business and keep your customers happy, but there’s one free, easy to implement thing you can start doing today – be positive. A positive attitude goes a long way in every business, and can do wonders for your customer service. No one is happy to have to bring their car into the shop, so if you can brighten their day a little bit it can have a big impact. Your customers will pick up on your positive energy, which can boost your referrals and help you grow your business.