How do I manage a small auto repair shop?
Automotive repair works is a highly competitive field and if you want success in it, you need to make sure your shop is managed well and attracts a good number of customers. The right planning and execution can help you stay ahead of the game and establish a good reputation in your local area and provide you with a consistent customer base. Here are some tips that will help you run a successful automotive repair shop.
Customer service matters
Modern customers place a lot of importance on customer experience and will shun businesses that don’t provide good quality customer service. That’s why it’s essential to focus on customer service in all aspects of your interactions with vehicle owners. Your customers should have a good experience from the moment they walk into your shop till the time they walk out of your shop. Train your repair technicians to communicate with clients in a friendly and professional manner. You should also have a dedicated customer service phone line so clients can contact you in case of emergencies.
The auto repair industry still relies on word of mouth so it’s a good idea to spend some time on offline marketing. Distribute pamphlets, place ads on your local publications, send newsletters to your existing clients and include promotional offers in them. All these small marketing strategies will help you establish a local reputation and presence. Without offline marketing, you’ll be a relatively unknown entity in your local area and won’t get as many customers as you otherwise could.
Focus on quality
Modern customers don’t hesitate to criticize businesses if they don’t live up to expectations; and they have a big platform that allows them to publish their opinion. They can post reviews on websites like Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. They can also comment on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This criticism can have an impact on your reputation, which is why it’s important to focus on the quality of service. Make sure you have a well-trained staff and use good quality spare parts in your service.
Relationship with your customer
Most auto repair businesses will have regular customers that seek out their services every time there’s car trouble. It’s a good idea to develop a good relationship with these customers and keep them engaged. You can send them emails, engage them on social media, and provide them special offers on different occasions. These strategies will help you develop a steady customer base that can help keep your business afloat even during slow periods.
While offline word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, you need to market your business online as well. Online marketing will help prospective customers find you and learn more about your business. You can use strategies like paid ads, SEO, and social media marketing in order to establish an online presence and gain more visibility.
Start a Subscription Plan
Regular maintenance and occasional repairs are inevitable expenses that need to be factored into the total cost of vehicle ownership. A growing number of auto repair shops are now offering subscription plans for service and maintenance for their customers to keep these costs consistent throughout the year.
Offer a Seasonal Promotion
There is a cyclical nature to many repairs. Customers want tune-ups before taking summer road trips and windshield wiper blades replaced before the rainy season sets in. Creating regular promotions around these seasonal repairs can generate new customers and more sales from existing customers.
You might be surprised by how many of your customers don’t know how to do simple maintenance tasks like checking their car engine’s oil level or the air pressure in their tires. A value-added service that you can offer that can get customers in your shop and scheduling appointments is to offer an informational seminar where you share your expertise and knowledge.
Increase Mechanic Productivity
Sometimes even the most hardworking technicians and service advisors can find it difficult to stay productive.
Keep cool or warm – If at all possible, try to sustain a comfortable ambient temperature in the shop and in the bays. It is a good idea to bring in fans or heaters to circulate air and/or heat the air if it is necessary.
Stay hydrated – Some days fans just aren’t enough. Employees appreciate if you offer cold bottles of water or sports drinks. Not only does it boost employee moral and appreciation, but it prevents dehydration and decreases chances of workers becoming dehydrated.
Say “Thank You” -Acknowledge your team for a job well done. When your staff feel appreciated, they are more likely to stay motivated and productive. By making it a habit to notice the good and then saying something in gratitude, this will do wonderful things for your culture.
Technology changes – If you want your business to remain competitive in today’s world, you must embrace technology. With the right systems and processes, you are able to enhance reporting, accountability, customer service, and much more! Technicians’ ability and willingness to be productive is majorly enhanced if you (as the employer or manager) are clearly always striving to make their work life easier. They may take a little bit of time to get used to technology, but once they are adjusted, they usually appreciate the fact that you are an industry leader and looking out for the future of the company.
Increase productivity of your mechanic’s helps you to better manage your mechanic shop.
Use Automotive Management Software
Change is happening at a rapid rate through the uptake and use of digital technology so it is essential for you to keep up with the digital change and start to use an automotive software platform that puts you on par and better yet ahead of your competitors. Owning a vehicle has become one of the necessities these days, the responsibility of running and maintaining it has become more challenging and therefore the need for better communication through a range of channels including live in-app booking, inspection approvals and payment will reduce some of those challenges through a platform
With these features as standard it will reduce missed appointments and overbooking therefore saving yourself time. It also takes care of other simple incidents like digital inspection with videos and photos with instant approvals in real time. It helps in creating a consistent and reliable service.
The effective use of automotive management software will lead you to remove the question “how to manage an auto repair shop?”.
Give Discounts And Introduce Sales Offers
No matter which business one is in, the practise of offering discounts to lure customers in certainly has it appeal and success, and the automotive industry isn’t an exception. There are so many workshops that use this marketing strategy to provide special offers or discount to obtain more customers and sales.
You too can create a marketing plan or simply create a monthly special by offering either a percentage or dollar value discount to attract more customers. These marketing campaigns will help in marketing your store to attract new customers and increase brand awareness, and you will potentially earn some loyal customers in the process.