7 Ways to Promote Your Talented Technicians
For many customers, Amy Mattinat says, the automotive repair business is intangible.
“We throw out all of these words and they don’t know what we’re talking about,” Mattinat, the owner of Montpelier, Vt.-based Auto Craftsmen, says. “You need a ball joint, your axle is about to fall apart.”
Beyond simply talking about parts, many customers don’t even know what ASE means, what a master technician is, or what being certified by the manufacturer entails.
And it’s your job to teach them, Mattinat says.
It’s vital for customers to understand that they have a qualified technician working on their vehicle, as a way to differentiate your shop from all the others out there. Promoting your technicians not only builds trust with your customers, Mattinat says, it makes your staff feel good about themselves, and proud to work for your business, as well.
Bob Thomas, owner of Medford, Ore.-based Bob Thomas Automotive since 1997, knows how important it is to educate customers on repairs, and makes sure customers get to know who’s fixing their vehicle.
“It’s our job to educate a customer on repair, and if they have any questions on ASE, we need to inform them,” Thomas says.
Based on the two shop owners’ experiences, here are seven ways your shop can promote its technicians.
1. Teach customers about training.
Mattinat says there are a multitude of ways to teach customers about what certifications mean and why it’s important to the industry.
She says that shop owners and service advisors should always be ready to point to a credential, or explain that someone on staff is a master technician, if a customer ever asks what it means.
Some certification programs also have pamphlets shop owners can give out that describe the organization, and what its training certifications mean. If a customer ever seems unsure about what she’s saying in regards to training, Mattinat will ask if they’re clear on it, and will try to simplify the explanation.
2. Have detailed profiles of your technicians online.
One of the first places many customers are introduced to your shop is through your website, so it’s vital to have employee bios that introduce your staff to your customers, and show why and how they’re uniquely qualified.
On Mattinat’s website and staff page, she has individual listings and pages for each of her technicians. On each of these, she includes a headshot of the employee, each of his or her ASE certifications and his or her area of expertise.
Bob Thomas Automotive has a specific page on its website for its technicians, managers and service advisors. Similar to Auto Craftsmen’s, the page includes a brief bio of each employee, including his or her years of experience in the industry, and his or her areas of expertise. Beyond this, each customer profile lists the employee’s education, including any technical schools or colleges they graduated from.
“The reason we have our technician’s faces on our website, is our customer gets to know them and trust them,” Thomas says. “And it gives [the technicians] a sense of pride, that they really do belong at Bob Thomas Automotive.”
3. Promote your technicians on social media.
There are a variety of ways you can promote your technicians and their abilities through social media, the two shop owners say.
Aside from his regular posts, Thomas advertises his technicians on Facebook from time to time. After awarding his employee of the month, Thomas says he gives the employee a shoutout on Facebook, and mentions the hard work he or she did over that particular month.
Not only does Auto Craftsmen’s Facebook page have a banner stating that Auto Craftsmen is an ASE Blue Seal Repair Center, Mattinat also posts specific repairs technicians have done, and gives them individual shoutouts. Beyond this, she suggests your shop make congratulatory posts on Facebook when a technician achieves new certifications or training.
4. Promote technicians through your service advisors.
Mattinat says to make sure customers know they have a certified technician working on their vehicle. This means making sure your service advisors explain what those designations mean, and mention individual technicians from time to time.
She also says service advisors should introduce technicians to a customer by name and title.
Service advisors can use their technicians’ qualifications as a way to set their shop apart from the pack, or use it as a selling tool if customers are uneasy about prices.
5. Promote your staff’s expertise in the shop.
Beyond the virtual world and the spiels your service advisors give, you can promote your staff’s expertise with signs, and pictures in the shop.
Behind Auto Craftsmen’s service advisor desk, Mattinat set up a “Wall of Fame” for her technicians. Each technician has a framed photo hung on the wall, which lists his or her certifications and training backgrounds.
Otherwise, throughout the shop, Mattinat says you can have signs placed throughout. For instance, Mattinat purchased an “ASE Certified” sign, and hung it beside her shop’s front door.
6. Emphasis your technician’s specialities.
On the Auto Craftsmen website, certain technicians will have their specialties in their bios.
For instance, the shop’s foreman is listed as having specialties in diagnostic and electrical problems, and that he enjoys working on classic cars and Asian imports.
On Thomas’s site, he’ll mention if a shop manager or technician has a specialty in Honda or Dodge vehicles, for instance.
Beyond listing these on your shop’s bios, service advisors and other staff members can emphasize a technician’s specialities in the shop when talking to customers.
Whenever Mattinat steps in as a service advisor in her shop, she says she’ll make sure they know who the technician is that’ll work on their vehicle, how long he or she has been with the shop, and what their areas of expertise are, just to build peace of mind.
7. Feature technicians in your inspections.
Auto Craftsmen offers digital vehicle inspections to all of its customers, but within these, Mattinat tries to be strategic in how she takes the pictures and what she includes.
While taking pictures of the customer’s vehicles, she’ll zoom in on the broken part, but will also try to get a picture of the technician working on the vehicle, with their certification patch facing the camera. She says this is a subconscious way of letting customers know that a qualified person is working on their vehicle.