Broski: Is Your Shop a Joy or Dread for Customers?

April 23, 2024
Doing the little things and the trivial right goes a long way towards creating happier customers.

How do your customers feel about your auto repair shop? OK, I said “feel,” but let’s keep going. 

When your customers run errands and drive past your shop, do they smile or frown? Are they tense or relaxed when they pull in for an appointment? 

Remember, we’re dealing with people, not cars. People have memories, bad experiences, preconceived notions, car repair stories their friends have told them, etc. Aside from having to spend money, what goes through their mind? Was their last experience a good one? Did they feel they were treated fairly? Taken care of? Not oversold? Let me elaborate with a story. 

There’s a small convenience store I drive by just before I park at work. It’s a quick stop for people to grab a coffee and maybe a snack on the way to work, or an afternoon pick-me-up drink and a candy bar. There are even hot dogs rolling on the grill. This is not my kind of store: I’m a healthy eater. But, when I drive by, I smile. Here’s why.  

They have Amazon lockers in the store. If you’ve not seen them, it’s a wall of 50ish yellow lockers of various sizes. Instead of the Amazon vans driving all around town delivering packages to individual homes, Amazon shoppers can have their packages dropped off there to pick up on their way to or from home or work. 

They say money can’t buy happiness, but to pick up a small, fun package there (even a household item) just brings a smile to my face, making it a good day. The smile is because the lockers scan a bar code on my phone from an Amazon email and the correct locker suddenly pops open. Strangely, even if I just drive by, I get that same smile because it reminds me of the experience.  

Your customers have some kind of experience at your shop, whether good, bad, or indifferent. Wait, I left out a great experience, which is what your shop should be striving for. (Note: It’s the great experiences that get great reviews, not the merely satisfactory experiences.)  

With memories of great experiences, customers will get some kind of a smile when they think of or drive by your shop. What could be better? An unrealistic dream, you think? I don’t think so. Let’s delve into it. 

What kinds of things make someone smile? A favorite song, freshly baked cookies, fresh flowers, birds chirping, watching children play, etc. How about a fun memory? Do you see where I’m going with this? A fun memory of your shop. Think of sharing a funny shop story or customer story with them. Do you help customers with some things besides their car? Maybe suggest an exciting movie. A great restaurant. A fun vacation spot. A park to take their visiting grandkids. If so, your customers will drive away from your shop in good spirits and probably not know why. Leaving your shop in good spirits is an extra motivation for them to write a great review, not to mention a comfort level when you explain a repair they will need on their next visit. 

Of course, you have to fix their car, presumably at a competitive price, but I’m hoping you can see their visit doesn’t have to be all car stuff. I once had a dentist who talked about old (collector) cars and car racing. Another dentist who talked of his Doctors Without Borders visits to Africa. 

So, check Facebook or Instagram for funny pictures or videos to post or put on your website. When you open a new browser window on your computer, look for weird, current stories that pop up. Our shop has a piece of Styrofoam packing material from a blower motor that resembles a smiling face. We put in old-style brake light bulbs for eyes, a small rubber boot for a nose, a pin for a cigarette, and steel wool for hair. The customers chuckle at it. Our customers leave our shop in a better mood than when they came in; a great experience. How does it get any better than that? 

My question to you: does your shop bring a smile to your customer’s faces or something less than that? Happy customers make everything better: they will approve more work, be more fun to deal with, and refer their family and friends. 


About the Author

Victor Broski

Victor Broski has more than four decades of experience in the automotive repair industry. He worked at five different German car repair shops, learning something from each. As a service advisor with a degree in speech communication, he figured out how to easily get customers to say yes to the additional (DVI) work and be happy about it. Victor learned that great customer service brings great customer reviews, which brings inquiring phone calls that convert to new customers.

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