Editor's Notebook: Be Your Own Steward -

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

“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.

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

You May Also Like

Phone Shoppers Made Easy

Although there is no silver bullet that will allow you to bring in every first-time caller, there are a number of things you can do to get more appointments. In this article, I would like to share some of the best practices your advisors can use that will generate immediate results.

By Bob
Cooper of Elite

With
vehicles being built better than ever before, and with service intervals
continually being extended, you are going to see your customers less often.
This means your service advisors are going to have to be razor sharp when the
phone rings. Although there is no silver bullet that will allow you to bring in
every first-time caller, there are a number of things you can do to get more
appointments. In this article, I would like to share some of the best practices
your advisors can use that will generate immediate results.
In order for
someone to buy from you, three things need to occur: They have to like you,
they have to trust you, and they have to view you as a credible expert. So when
your phone rings, the first thing your advisors need to sell is themselves; not
the service or repair. The best way of accomplishing this goal is with a
professional, courteous and upbeat greeting, such as “Thank you for calling
Elite Auto Care, this is Bob. How can I help you this morning?” By using these
words we’re showing appreciation, by volunteering the name of our company we’re
assuring the callers that they’ve called the right number, and by providing our
name we’re beginning to build personal relationships. By asking how we can
help, we’re asking a question that will allow us to control the conversation.
By being upbeat and using the right tonality, our likeability goes up, and the
customer’s anxiety goes down.
The second
thing your advisors will need to do is slow the conversation down so the
callers don’t feel rushed, and they’ll have to become good detectives by asking
a number of questions. By having the callers talk, it will take their focus off
of the price, and it will allow them to begin to feel more comfortable with
your advisors at the same time.
When it comes
to asking for the appointment, one of the best kept secrets I can share with
you is this: With rare exception, your advisors need to offer every caller a
choice of appointment times, and whenever possible, one of those options should
be for them to bring the vehicle in now. For example; “I can squeeze you in
now, or would 2:15 be better for you?”
When it comes to auto repair, customers love finality, which is why
providing the “now” option is a powerful sales tool.
Now here’s
the absolute best-kept secret for dealing with the tough first-time callers.
Every one of your advisors needs to be aware that many “price shoppers” are
asking for price just to start the conversation, and beyond that, with rare
exception, callers don’t know the questions they should be asking. This is why
it’s a good idea to ask your service advisors to write down a list of the
questions that they think an educated caller would ask. Once they have their
lists completed, and committed to memory, then it’s easy for them to respond to
price inquiries with a statement like, “Well Larry, I know price is important
to you, and it should be, but if you call five different shops today, you’ll
more than likely get at least five different prices. Some of the other
questions you might want to ask are how long they’ve been in business, whether
or not they have certified technicians and a drug-free workplace program, and
you might want to have them walk you through their diagnostic processes as
well. You might also want to ask them if they always explore all of the options
that are available to customers when it comes to any recommended repairs, what
kind of warranties they provide, and if those warranties are in writing.”  Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve closed hundreds,
if not thousands of tough first-time “price shoppers” using this technique, so
I know it will work for you.
 If you’re still not quite sold, then consider
this. If you take my recommendations, when those price shoppers start calling
other shops, you know as well as I do that they’ll more than likely ask some of
the questions your advisors suggested to them. Not only will your competitors
be caught off guard and struggle with the answers, but in each case, the
callers will be thinking of your advisors. This is when they’ll not only realize
how well your advisors handled the call, but they’ll trust your advisors, and
you bet; they’ll now view them as credible experts as well.
For help permanently
increasing your service advisors’ sales and CSI scores, learn more about the Elite Masters Service Advisor Training
Program.

The True Cost Of Comebacks

Comebacks are a hot topic today. You need to track all comebacks, determine the reason (tech error, part error, training issue, other) and then calculate the true cost of the comeback.

Want To Increase A/C Sales?

Have your techs, as part of their preliminary checks, turn on the A/C and see if the system is working. Is the compressor turning on? Are all the fan speeds working? Is the system getting cold? Is there a smell from the vents?

Call For Entries For The ATMC National Excellence In Training Awards

The Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC) has issued a call for entries for the 2014 National Excellence in Training Awards. The annual program is designed to highlight the importance of training to the success of the transportation industry by honoring highly effective or innovative training programs. The awards are open to any person or entity providing training in the industry.

CARS 2014: ‘Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile’

From ASA comes word that CARS this year “is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” This year’s CARS will be held July 30-Aug. 2 in Detroit and, for the first time, the focus will be on younger techs. Each program at CARS this year has been handpicked with an eye toward making your shop better, said Donny Seyfer, chairman-elect of the Automotive Service Association, which sponsors CARS.

Other Posts

GAAS Attendees Get ‘Connected’ In Chicago

Attendees of the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium’s (GAAS) 2014 Connected conference were engaged in a range of high-level topics affecting the automotive aftermarket now and in the future.

Raybestos Rattlesnake Sweepstakes Winner Receives His Ride

Not even heavy rain and winds could dampen the festive mood at Automotive Electric Distributors (AED) in Vancouver, Wash., on Friday, May 9, the day that David Cramer received the keys to his custom 2014 Raybestos Rattlesnake Toyota Tundra.

NACE/CARS 2014 Meets Shop Owners’ Education, Training Needs

NACE/CARS 2014 has announced the full training and education conference program that organizers say will have shop owners, technicians and industry stakeholders covered from A to Z when it comes to training, education and unbeatable new sessions. In addition to this year’s event being the largest conference offering in NACE/CARS history, show organizers also have many of the industry’s leading experts speaking at this year’s event.

June 9-15 Is Automotive Service Professionals Week

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has declared June 9-15 as National Automotive Service Professionals Week. Building on the success of Automotive Service Professionals Day established in 2001, ASE launched National Automotive Service Professional’s Week in 2005 to honor the commitment and dedication of automotive, truck and collision technicians, along with parts specialists and other support professionals who serve the motoring public.