5 Reasons Customers Never Return
No. 1: They were the wrong customers in the first place.
By advertising to everyone in your community, you will inevitably be bringing in many of the wrong people. A number of these wrong people will be looking for the lowest price, they’ll burn out your advisors, they’ll cause your techs to give up on performing proper inspections, and regardless of how hard you try, you’ll rarely please them. Although you may initially see your sales increase by bringing everyone in (and attempting to sell them at least some of the necessary services), you’ll find that your reputation in the community, your online reviews, your employee tenure, and your profits, can all eventually tank. This is why the top shops in America follow in the footsteps of every great business by identifying their ideal customers, and specifically targeting them. A couple of the most common traits of the ideal customers the top shops target is that they want to take good care of their vehicles, and are willing to pay for good, quality service.
No. 2: Apathy.
This is widespread in the industry, and far too many shop owners don’t realize just how intuitive their customers really are. If at every point of contact your customers feel that your employees really don’t have their best interest at heart, and if they feel that the only thing your advisors and techs care about is their credit card, you can rest assured you’ll never see them again. Bear in mind that, in order for someone to buy from you, three things need to happen. The customer needs to like you, they need to trust you, and they need to view you as a credible expert. If they feel you don’t truly care about them and their well-being, you’ll never accomplish all three.
No. 3: Failure to deliver on your promises.
In business, there are two types of promises we make: One is an expressed promise, and the other is an assumed promise. You express a promise by telling the customer what the price will be, when their vehicle will be done, etc. Some assumed promises are that their vehicle will be repaired correctly, that their vehicle will be clean when returned to them, etc. Failure to deliver on either type of promise creates doubt in your ability to deliver, which gives your customers a good reason to never return.
No. 4: Failure to properly communicate.
This one is huge. As I am sure you are aware, one of the most common complaints the motoring public has about repair shops is that the shop owners are always trying to sell them something they don’t need. In reality, and with rare exception, that’s the furthest from the truth. If the shop owner (or their employees) are not properly trained on how to communicate with customers in a way that puts them at ease and validates the need for the recommended services at the same time, then there is a good chance the customer will not only never come back, but will tell the world that you tried to sell them something they didn’t need.
No. 5: Pricing.
I realize that, no matter how great of a value you deliver, there will always be some people who will leave your shop feeling like they paid too much. Yet, what’s interesting is this: In all the customer research we have conducted over the years, we have discovered that even the customers you feel are most loyal, will often price shop you. This is why we firmly believe that you always need to be competitive when it comes to value. This doesn’t mean you need to be the cheapest, but you must always be competitive with other shops that are of your caliber. Developing a mindset that you can charge substantially more than your comparable competitors is a guaranteed way of losing your customers, and eventually, your business.
Secondly, when raising your prices you should make small, incremental price increases, and then monitor and measure the results before making your next incremental increase. Don’t forget, just because a customer buys at the point of sale, it doesn’t mean that they’ll come back.
Next? I would encourage you to have a team meeting, and discuss this article. I would then encourage you to pick up the phone, call those good customers you haven’t seen for a while, and simply tell them you realized you haven’t seen them for quite some time, and would just like to know if you dropped the ball in some way. Then listen and learn. You will more than likely discover that they sold their vehicle, they moved out of town, or they simply decided not to come back, due to one of the above reasons. In those cases you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your business, you’ll have the chance to save the customer, and you’ll be able to save the reputation of your company, and your people.