Inside the Consumer's Mind

How to Avoid Failing at the Service Finish Line

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You did it! You successfully attracted a customer and provided a strong, positive customer experience. You’ve done well—up to this point. But there’s still time to drop the ball.  

If a customer has come in and is impressed with your service, that’s great, but it may be some time before their vehicle needs maintenance again. That’s why it’s essential that you follow up with that customer in order to retain them and ensure that they choose your shop next time.  

In Ratchet+Wrench’s Inside The Consumer’s Mind video series, editorial director Anna Zeck and vice president of content Bryce Evans discuss how rarely they receive follow ups from auto repair shops, despite the great impression they make. 

Following up with a customer after you service their vehicle shows them that they weren’t just another paycheck for you, but that you actually care about their car maintenance and safety. Contacting them adds a personal touch and can really stand out to a consumer. The follow up can lead to long time customers that are loyal to your shop. 

If you don’t contact your customer at all after their appointment, you can’t know if their repair was sufficient or if they had a good experience. You can use this follow up to send a customer survey or questionnaire. Customer feedback can be very helpful in improving your business. 

Ratchet+Wrench found in its recent customer survey that any form of follow up is rare in the auto repair industry. In fact, only about 26 percent of customers were receiving a check-in to see how their vehicle was after the appointment. This is great news for you, because just a simple phone call or text a few days after a customer leaves your shop can set you apart from almost 75 percent of auto repair shops.

The way in which you check in with a customer is up to you. A phone call works well because it is personable and you are able to leave a voicemail if the customer does not answer. But if a call might be too time-consuming, you could always set up an automated text messaging system that will send each customer a message a few days after their repair. This way you don’t have to spend any extra time, but you still offer a way to receive customer feedback.

That being said, personal messages are always better. Consider taking that extra time to have a real check-in with each person, and you’ll see your effort pay off as those customers keep coming back. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you could even write a personalized thank you letter to each customer. 

And the follow up doesn’t have to stop a few days after their appointment. If you’re really looking to bring in and keep loyal customers, consider following up again a few weeks later, then again a few months later. This can make sure the customer doesn’t forget your shop the next time they need vehicle repair.

Whether it’s a text, letter, phone call or something else, the most important thing is that you have some sort of follow-up contact with the customer. That is what will bring them in for a second time.

“Consumers don’t remember exactly what you did, they just remember that you did it,” Evans says. 

Catch more of Zeck’s and Evans’ conversation in this week’s Inside The Consumer’s Mind video series episode. 

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