Six Reasons Why People Feel Anxious about Auto Repair
A customer walks into your auto shop. They don’t make eye contact. They speak in a low voice. It’s obvious they feel anxious. Why could that be? After breaking the ice and connecting with them, here are six potential causes.
1. They don’t “get” cars.
People don’t learn about cars in school anymore. And minus a few basic driving lessons, parents don’t teach their kids about cars either. As a result, the population is pretty ignorant.
I don’t mean that in a hateful way. If no one teaches you about a subject -- cars in this case -- then how could you possibly learn how it works? That’s a trick question. It’s not gonna happen.
Don’t treat this like a “bad” thing. Truly, it’s a blessing in disguise. You have an opportunity to educate your customers. In the process, you’ll become perceived as a trusted authority figure. Why would people go to another auto shop when they’re already working with an expert?
2. They are tight on cash.
Savings are low for the average American. Most people don’t have $1,000 laying around for an emergency expense. As a result, people are afraid of getting stuck with an expensive repair.
This might cause people to procrastinate about visiting the auto shop. “I’d rather not hear some bad news I can’t afford right now!” Of course, we know that backfires. Neglect only increases the potential for mechanical failures that could increase the cost of a repair.
Help your customers understand this concept. Explicitly tell them: “Please come see us as soon as you notice a weird noise, smell, sound, or other sensation. The faster you get your car here, the easier and cheaper your repair will be. If you want to call us first, do so at (your number).”
3. They have things to do.
People are busy. They’re working a full-time job (or two). They might be taking night classes on top of that. And some of them have children to raise, too. Free time is a scarce resource.
Going to the auto shop is like a trip to the dentist or doctor. It’s enough to wreck a person’s daily routine (especially when their appointment starts later than expected). Talk about a huge hassle!
This is why it’s smart to provide a shuttle service. If you can drop a driver off at their employer, they’ll become more timely about their oil changes and tire rotations. You made their lives easy. Also: do you best to keep appointment times. If you’re constantly late, find out why (and stop it).
4. They had a bad experience.
If a person is taken advantage of by one auto shop, that’s enough to taint their perception of the entire auto industry. Is that fair? Of course not! But it’s a reality we all need to accept.
Don’t be defensive. People aren’t interested in having a debate. They want you to acknowledge their concerns and show them your auto shop is different. This is your chance to stand out!
Be open and honest about repair prices. Tell customers: “If you don’t understand your invoice, ask and I’d be happy to explain it.” Always obtain permission before you do any services beyond what was requested. People don’t expect such transparency from an auto shop. It’s a big win!
5. They read a negative news story.
This point is similar to the previous one. People read a news article about how (insert crappy auto shop here) scammed their customers. And then they apply that thinking to all auto shops.
Bad press is awful. It’s a constant problem for the auto industry. I wish this wasn’t true, but it is. Heck, I’ve participated in segments on 20/20 and Inside Edition… and sadly, we found out some auto professionals are dishonest.
Again, emphasize how your auto shop is different. Show people you’re better than the average shop through your words and actions. When drivers see evidence you’re looking out for them, they’ll let go of their preconceived notions.
6. They don’t understand the auto repair.
You go to the hospital. The doctor diagnoses you with an odd condition. They mention a test needs to be done. You’re high on pain medication at the time, so you say: “Okay, whatever.”
The test didn’t provide any valuable information. But your condition lessens, so you go home. Two days later, you receive mail from the hospital. You open the envelope and find a bill for that test, which costed $2,000.
On a scale of 1-10, how angry would you be? I’m going with #10! For one thing, the cost of this test should have been disclosed. For another, the doctor should have had a conversation when the patient was less inebriated. Paying a fortune for services you don’t understand is the worst.
The same reasoning can be applied to your auto shop. Drivers need to know exactly how a repair benefits them. That could be increased safety, improved performance, or cost savings. (Note: don’t forget to emphasize how much cheaper maintaining your current vehicle is, as compared to buying a new one before you planned on it.)
“Because” statements are persuasive. They help people rationalize their decisions with logic. Ask your team to get in the habit of saying: “(Insert recommended repair here) will benefit you, because (insert answer to, ‘What’s in it for me?’ here).” Also, avoid technical terms. Speak on the same level as your customers. Combine these two tactics and price objections will plummet.