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Get To Know Your Customers

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When you think of who comes through your shop doors throughout the day, who do you picture? Perhaps your shop is located in a small, tight-knit community where familiar faces and family members regularly bring their vehicles to you, or the opposite: new faces come in more frequently as your shop is centered in downtown of a bustling city—every shop has their set audience.

While various customers may come to mind, certain tracking and marketing procedures can help build a better understanding of who your average customer is, and how your shop can later market to them. Jim Murphy, Pro Service coach at Elite, coaches shop owners on ways in which they can accurately define their customer audience.

“I truly think it’s important to understand [your average customer] from a standpoint of, ‘How do I want to look at putting out my message of who we are and who do we represent?’” Murphy says. “Some businesses are coupon driven, some are brand-recognition type of businesses, and some will market [based] on areas on the demographics.”

Although customer relationship management (CRM) systems can compile customer information such as communication history and contact information, it can be beneficial to take the next step and investigate further into who is coming into your shop on a daily basis. Often, shops do not look at what results are in front of them, Murphy says.

“One thing that I find happening with a lot of guys that I coach is that they really don’t look for tools that give them the ability to look at how they’re doing from a retention standpoint,” Murphy says. “You can get new customers or you may still have new customers, but on a year-over-year basis, [you need to look at] how well we are doing at retaining those customers.

“The data can come out of your programs, but it’s all about how you’re going to be able to extract them from.”
Murphy details how shops can find out more about their customers through online platforms and, ultimately, develop an understanding of who the customers are, where they come from, and how the shop can benefit from the information.


“Where do my customers live?”
Tip: Finding your customers’ location can provide insight on where to market.

When customers visit a shop, every detail from that visit is dictated into the shop’s CRM system. The system reveals who the customer is, where he or she lives, contact information, as well history on prior visits.

“When I’m coaching my guys, we look at demographics first,” Murphy says.

According to Murphy, shops can start by uploading the database into different online platforms to map out the customers as a whole.

“You can upload your database into into different types of mapping software, so, that way, it gives you, really, a nice picture on where your customers come from,” Murphy says. “Once you get an idea of where customers are at, the next step is that you go to the U.S. Postal Office website; that will show you all of the rural routes or carrier routes of where [customers] are at around your zip code.”


“How old are my customers?”
Tip: Determining your customers’ age can provide insight on how to appear more personable on social media.

In today’s world, Facebook plays a key role in understanding online audience demographics. According to Murphy, Facebook videos are keyholders of information that shops can uncover user information from.

“One of the things that’s becoming very effective for us to look at is [Facebook] videos that are watched [from start to end] in the ad manager,” Murphy says. “The ‘100 percent video watch’ seems to be one that is gaining a lot of weight to measure and compare among each other; if they’re [online users] only watching it 10 percent of the way, it’s probably not something that you’re going to want to share with somebody.”


“What catches my customers’ attention?”
Tip: Seeing how your customers interact with your website can help perform a better layout of what is and isn’t working on your online page.
Shops with a working website can start determining who their customers are by identifying and tracking users that stop by their shop website. According to Murphy, it’s important to look at who is being attracted to your website, as well as even what devices are being used such as PC-based or mobile.

“When you look at different types of feeds it gives you a greater understanding of who you’re generating an interest from,” Murphy says. “There are programs that will help you look at analytics such as Inspectlet, that will give you other data information about who these people are and what they’re looking at, and I think that’s helpful.”
Inspectlet offers a “playback” featuring that allows users to “watch individual visitors use your site as if you’re looking over their shoulders,” according to the company website. The device has the ability to record videos of your visitors as they use the site, which includes “mouse movement, scroll, click, and keypress.”

“There are a lot of [shops] that are getting involved in looking at analytics of what types of individuals are being attracted to,” Murphy says.


“How do my customers respond?”
Tip: Finding out about your customers’ experience can determine if he or she is likely to become a return customer.
While every customer’s visit is different, having a follow-up procedure in place can help gauge how your customer base responds to your shop. According to Murphy, shops can understand who their customers are by reaching out via text message once the service is complete.

“I’m finding that what seems to get the best reaction for any shop owners I work with is looking at very quick text message responses immediately after delivery,” Murphy says. “Not even waiting a long time [to reach out], but just getting the customer’s take on their guest experience.”

Following the repair, Murphy suggests reaching out to the customer and thanking them for their service, along with including two questions that can provide insight to their shop experience. Murphy says it’s important to ask the following questions: “Would you be willing to refer us to a friend or family member?” and, “If you could wave a magic wand over my shop, what would you change?”

After receiving back an answer from the customer, shop owners can identify whether the individual will come back and be a return customer.

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