Gaining Customers for Life
When Andy Bizub purchased a Porsche in 2006, he needed a shop to work on it. After looking around, he found Midwest Performance Cars, a shop ran in the West Loop of Chicago. He was so impressed by their work that he continued to go there for all of his automotive needs for the next seven years.
Then, in 2014, Bizub asked the former owner if he had ever thought of expanding. It was revealed that the shop was in financial trouble and was about to go under. The two men struck a deal, and Andy acquired the shop. With his Chicago location now making $1.5 million per year, and the new addition of the Northbrook site, he really turned things around.
But bringing the shop back to life wasn’t an easy task. One tactic that Bizup is passionate about—and that has been instrumental in his success—is developing customers for life. He finds that it’s easier to invest in keeping customers, rather than investing in marketing to gain new ones. One concept that Andy addressed is that people talk, and people trust the word of a friend or family member more than that of a businessman. If you keep your current customers happy, then they’re going to spread the word.
So, how exactly do you achieve this? The biggest thing you can be doing to increase customer retention is to be developing connections and relationships with your clients.
Bizub shares five of the things you can be doing that are essential for developing customers for life.
The most important thing you can do is making connections with your clients. The easiest way that Bizub has found to do this, is to listen to them. It’s as simple as that. Listen to what their concerns are, and talk to them about what the best path is to fix them. However, connections are a two-way street. If you want to develop that connection, you have to both ask questions and invite them to ask questions of you. Invite them to talk about themselves and their lives. One of the easiest connections you can make, is to ask them about their car. Find a common connection between the two of you, and utilize it.
At Midwest Performance Cars, they believe that being 100 percent transparent is the way to go. They want their clients to know exactly what is being done to their vehicle, and they do this by performing digital inspections, and sitting down with the client to go over the results and explain what was happening. This allows the customer to get a better understanding of their vehicle, even if they don’t typically understand vehicle mechanics. The results can be printed out and sent with the customer. They want to make sure that no one leaves with any questions about what happened.
After you connect with the client, it’s important to develop a relationship with them. Ask about them: Are they married? Do they have kids? What do they do for a living? It will make the client feel as though they are talking to a friend. Bizub wants his staff to be seen as a source of information, so he always has staff consulting with people about what they should do about their car, even if that means advising them to stop putting money into it.
4) Follow Up
Besides providing exceptional work and developing connections, it’s important to make a good final impression. Midwest Performance Cars works hard to do this without bothering its clientele. Send a follow-up email thanking them for coming in. After that, send emails closer to service intervals come around; remind them that they have an oil change coming up, remind them that it’s time to check their tires. It’s a good notice that you’re still there for the client. Something that Bizub tries to do as the customer is leaving, is to give them a mug or water bottle or something along those lines. It’s something that the client isn’t expecting, and makes their experience that much better.
In order for clients to want to come back they have to trust your shop, and more importantly, your staff. Midwest Performance Cars is all about letting the client see the whole operation, which is why they use their social media to show off the back of the shop and their staff. Nothing is hidden. Bizub wants people to feel invited into his shop, and showcasing all aspects of it, is just one way he accomplishes this.