While it’s easy to focus on getting new clients through marketing, client retention strategies have to take a front seat in your business plan. We all know it’s cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones, so here are some tips for starting an effective customer retention plan.
6 Winning Auto Shop Client Retention Strategies
1. Add Them To Your Customer Email List
You landed the new customer — great job! Now it’s time to stay in touch with them, and there’s no better platform than email. 91 percent of consumers check their email daily, so emailing them later is a surefire way to let them know about future offers that will bring them back into your shop.
Collect the email address of every new customer at the front end of your transaction with them (or train your staff to do so) and keep it in a file where you can easily access it later. With technology, it’s also easy to connect your CRM or shop management system to your email platform. This way the contacts and their info can automatically move into the email platform, thus making it easy to send them emails.
2. Ask Customers For Feedback
There’s a host of questions you could ask your new client about their experience at your auto shop, but let’s stick to the basic ones that will inform you well about the customer experience at your business.
- Is the customer happy with the finished work?
- Did you complete their repair order in a timely manner?
… And many others. These questions could get more tailored, depending on your services and individual business processes. You can solicit this information through a survey sent out via email, so strategy No. 1 on this list is already paying off! Our team has developed some great surveys for our customers so if you need help, please contact us.
3. Share An Offer That Brings Them Back To Your Shop
Enticing customers to get more auto work done with your company means giving them an offer they can’t refuse — a coupon, discount or free service of some sort will do the trick. Making them a repeat customer solidifies the relationship and helps them see how reliable you are as an automotive service provider.
4. Ask Them To Review You Online (And Don’t Be Afraid Of The Outcome)
Don’t avoid asking customers to share their honest feedback about your shop in a review on highly used platforms like Google or Facebook — the majority of reviews online are positive in nature. These reviews give your happy clients an outlet for singing your praises and also let potential customers catch a glimpse of what it’s like to do business with you. (For Yelp, we recommend monitoring and responding to reviews, but strongly advise against soliciting Yelp reviews. More on that here.)
Soliciting reviews for your client retention strategies is a smart way to create a positive online image for your shop, too. Today, 84 percent of people give online reviews the same respect that they would a recommendation from family and friends. Online reviews are the current word-of-mouth — use this to your advantage!
5. Create a Customer Rewards Program
People love to get bonus dollars for already doing business with you. Why not play upon this and offer customer rewards? Studies show that 25 percent of people think that loyalty programs are “very important,” and another 25 percent think they’re “somewhat important.” While you may not be able to always offer lower prices as compared to larger companies, you can appeal to half of your consumer base and its penchant for rewards by creating in-store specials or partnering with other local businesses to offer discounts on products to customers who do business with you and the other companies participating in your program.
6. Make Those Customer Experiences Soar
… Because expectations are what bring people back to your shop. There are plenty of other auto shops out there, and quality of experience is going to be a driving reason behind customer loyalty.
Teach your team to always be looking for ways to make customers say, “Wow, they really took care of me,” every time they’re in your shop.
Maybe it’s in the form of a customer experience checklist that your team references to ensure that Joe Public gets the same consistent and amazing experience every time he drives his car up to your shop. Get creative with ways to make the customer experience a unique and satisfying one, and you’ll have no problem keeping your client retention strategy revved all year long.
Ready to start client retention strategies that keep your auto shop full of returning customers? Message us today!