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Editor’s Notebook: Be Your Own Steward

One of the most important jobs you have is to make sure your customers are satisfied and that they return to your shop for additional repairs and preventive maintenance. Exceeding their expectations should rank among one of your most important-customer service strategies.

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Mary became editor of Tire Review in April 2019. She joined Babcox Media in 1988 as the senior editor of Brake & Front End. In her 32-year career with Babcox, Mary has contributed across the brand portfolio in a variety of ways, most recently serving as the editor of ImportCar before joining the Tire Review team. Her appointment to Tire Review makes her only the 10th editor of the brand in its 118-year history.

One of the most important jobs you have is to make sure your customers are satisfied and that they return to your shop for additional repairs and preventive maintenance. Exceeding their expectations should rank among one of your most important-customer service strategies.

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Oftentimes, bridging the gap between customer hesitation and consumer confidence to move the needle on spending habits as it relates to automotive repair hinges on image and the “perceived” value that you can deliver.

That’s where your brand and brand strength come into play. Much more than an image that people see every day, your brand is the promise of an experience, says LeeAnn Brook, president of Brook Design Group in Nevada City, CA.

One of the biggest mistakes Brook sees businesses make, is that after they’ve created a logo, website, brochure and ad campaign, they haven’t developed a coherent plan to implement the effective use of these materials.

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“The great thing about a strong brand is that it works very hard in portraying exactly who you are and what your unique offer is. Ideally, when customers quickly see your logo, they should get a quick take on who you are as a business,” explains Brook. “So, yes, a logo is a real workhorse. But it doesn’t work by itself. Designed well into your marketing materials, it should complement your message.”

Being visible on a regular basis is key to the effective use of your hard-earned marketing dollars, but, too often, businesses don’t “show up” on a consistent basis, adds Brook.

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She advises that one of the most effective things to invest your time in is an actual Marketing Strategies Plan. This plan should outline your goals, objectives and specific strategies to obtain those goals. It’s also important to ­prepare a dedicated marketing calendar that lists the specific dates that you will accomplish each task.

Brook recommends an integrated strategy where one campaign leveraging on another builds interest and effectiveness. “First, someone may see a brief post you made on Facebook about preparing your car for summer travel. The article then links to your blog where they could read the entire story,” Brook explains.

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“They become curious and check out the rest of your website, realizing that they had seen your ads in the newspaper about your “car care for women” workshops coming up. They see the listed workshops and sign up. And guess what? Hopefully, they are back on Facebook making a post on what a great job you did helping them at the workshop.”

A final word of advice from Brook: Make sure to complete the circle using all of the marketing materials and media that you have identified for your business for the year. Don’t rely on people finding your website, just because you put one up. A good advertising practice is using a mix of media, along with leveraging your relationships.

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For more brand-building ideas, go to www.brookdesign.com.

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