If you are looking drive up your car counts, investing in the right marketing strategies and advertising programs are a good place to start. Yet, far too many shop owners fail to go back to the basics, so with this article I’d like to share some ideas for how you can increase your car counts in quick and cost-free ways.
First of all, you need to make sure that your advisors are well trained when they pick up the phone. In far too many cases, low car counts are because the advisor(s) is either the wrong person, is not properly trained, or isn’t being held accountable by the shop owner. Having clearly defined car count goals, recording all the calls, and discussing the lost calls are all keys to your success. As an added note, at Elite we have seen dramatic increases in car counts when shop owners do nothing more than record the calls, and the reason is obvious: When employees realize they are being monitored, that in itself improves their performance.
Secondly, you need to call those customers that have recently declined repairs. However, in doing so you need to be careful about who you call and how the calls are presented. Any customer that failed to authorize a repair or service that poses a safety risk to the driver, needs to be called. Although there are exceptions to every rule, I would strongly recommend that you call these customers within one week. The call doesn’t need to be a “sales” call, but merely a call to let the customer know you are concerned about their safety and well-being. If it’s a first-time customer, you can simply let them know that you are following up to see if they have had the chance to have the repair done since they left your shop, because regardless of where it is done or by who, you just want to ensure that the recommended repair wasn’t forgotten, and that they are safe.
Lastly, consider those customers that you haven’t seen for a long time. All that you need to do is give them a call, let them know you couldn’t help but notice they haven’t been in for quite a while, and then simply say something like … “Do you mind if I ask, did we somehow drop the ball?” The answers that you hear will be priceless. In some cases, you will hear that they bought a new car, and you’ll be able to let them know you can service their new vehicle as well. You may hear that you or your employees did drop the ball, and if that’s the case, you can apologize, make things right, and offer them a complimentary service to show them just how sincere you are. You may even hear a customer or two tell you they went to another shop in hopes of saving a few dollars, and found that their decision was a mistake. In many of these cases, they would love to come back to you, but are too embarrassed to do so because your staff would quickly see their car was serviced elsewhere. Your call gives you the opportunity to tell them you’ll be more than happy to inspect any such repairs, and gives your customers the opportunity to come back to you with a smile on their face.