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Service Reminders Can Build Trust And Increase Repeat Business For Your Shop

Most people will consider it a blessing if they receive a reminder from you that it’s time to get their brakes checked, that they need to get that oil change or that it’s time for their 30,000-mile checkup.

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As vice president of marketing & business development at DRIVE, Mandee Bradshaw keeps an active finger on the pulse of the industry by cultivating relationships with parts vendors and trade associations. In addition to leading the business development area of DRIVE, Bradshaw oversees all of the company’s marketing functions. Her background in business and 10 years of experience in the automotive aftermarket contribute to her unique skill set, focused on communications, relationship management, marketing and leadership.

Is your calendar packed with appointments? Does it help when you receive a text to remind you about that next dentist appointment? It probably does help … after all, it took weeks to get that appointment!

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Well, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Most people will consider it a blessing if they receive a reminder from you that it’s time to get their brakes checked, that they need to get that oil change or that it’s time for their 30,000-mile checkup.

Service reminders are a great tool to build trust and increase repeat business for your shop. Don’t think of reminders as a nuisance to your customers. They’ll appreciate the reminder. It’s another service you offer your customers.

Here are a few of the reasons service reminders are a device you should have in your customer-service toolbox:

Increase Car Count

Do you need to increase your car count? Your first solution is to examine your service-reminder procedures.

By having an efficient process for all shop reminders, you will see an immediate impact on sales. Your customers have busy lives. They need to be reminded about that brake job you recommended. Sending that reminder is great, but you need to have a process that’s quick and stress-free for setting up the appointment for your returning customer.

Create Repeat Customers

If you know their maintenance schedule, they came to your shop before. So, they like you … and they like that they’re receiving those service reminders.

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Develop that long-term customer relationship with an effective reminder system. That includes an easy way to make that appointment you’re telling them they need. The faster and easier it is to make a maintenance appointment with your shop, the more likely that customer will keep coming back.

Reinforce Your Shop’s Brand

A carefully prepared and planned service reminder is a statement that your business is open and ready to handle any repair. Your business is your brand. Cultivating not only new customers but also taking care of existing customers is critical for successful long-term growth.

It’s a Service

Your customer has a busy life. Getting that reminder helps them take care of their vehicle. It’s how they get to work. It’s how they get to soccer practice with their kids.

Outside of their home, your customer’s vehicle is the biggest and most important purchase they’ve made. Taking proper care of this purchase isn’t just another appointment on their calendar. It means getting as many miles out of that car as possible while being safe.

Secondary Message

The service reminder gives you, the shop owner, an opportunity to deliver a secondary message. For example, end that email or text with a new offer you have, a discount on xxxx or just a mention that fresh donuts and coffee are waiting for them in your newly renovated waiting area.

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Personal Touch

Make sure you use their first name in service reminders. Don’t use “Hey you” or “To whom it may concern.”  How about “Hi Mary, it’s Ed from AutoCare on Main Street” as an intro. Personal and friendly is always a good place to start.

Save Your Customer Money

Getting that preventive brake fix is a lot less money for your customer then a new set of rotors. Checking for a leaking hose is a lot more cost-efficient for your customer than a seized, overheated engine.

Reliability

Properly managed service-reminder programs can drive home that your shop and your team are reliable. It proves you know this customer and that you value the relationship and their car.

This is the No. 1 reason existing customers will recommend you to their friends and neighbors. You’re someone who can be counted on to be honest and professional.

Stand Out in Your Community

Each time your customer sees your logo – whether it’s in an email, a social media post or a postcard – it reinforces that your shop is a local business they can rely on.

Emails? Texts? Calls?

What’s the best delivery system for service reminders? In a perfect world, all of them. You may want to ask a customer their preferred method of delivery, but offering all and having an internal system that knows those preferences is the ideal structure.

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Take some time to craft these messages. If it’s an email system, think about that subject line. Make it clear that this is a reminder about an appointment and not a sales email. You want to make that customer feel that your email needs to be opened and read.

Within the email, make sure that you identify the car. A customer may have more than one car. List the service being done (keep in mind that you’re talking to a customer and not a technician) and an approximate time frame for completion. If you have a night drop-off box or a late-night pick-up system, be sure to mention those details.

Include a link or phone number for any appointment adjustments. And, always end with a sincere message that you appreciate their business, along with a link to your site and Yelp page.

Promote Your Service Reminders

Service reminders are a good thing, so talk about it! Tell people you have this service – promote it on your website and on social media platforms as well.

Reminders and Follow-Ups

OK, you’ve sent service reminders out. Customers have set up appointments. Great! They may have set up that appointment four weeks ago, so think about incorporating a reminder system the day before the appointment. Again, think of this as a service to your customer. And don’t forget about a follow-up. Ask them if all went well. At this point in the service-reminder journey, that next service date should be in your system … and the cycle starts all over again.

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