According to a study done by AAA last year, 66% of Americans do not trust auto repair shops. The top-cited causes for distrust include recommending unnecessary services, overcharging, negative experiences, and concern the work would not be done correctly. However, independent auto repair shops are in better shape than dealerships according to a Consumer Reports annual survey.
In a market where consumers are not quick to trust, positioning yourself as a trustworthy and reliable shop is essential to gaining business. Here are a few suggestions to help you build a trustworthy and reliable brand image:
- Gather and post recommendations. Nowadays, many people check online reviews when looking for a service. Ask current clients for testimonials to post on your website and other online platforms. Also, ask loyal customers to be references, so you have some ready if a potential client asks.
- Feature certifications. People want to know that your mechanics are well-educated in their trade. Boost your shop’s credibility by posting certificates earned by you and your team in your shop and mentioning certifications on your website and other online platforms.
- Promote specializations. If your shop specializes in a particular make of vehicle, showcase this in your advertising and across your online platforms to build customer confidence that you are knowledgeable about their vehicles. People also want to know that their mechanic is knowledgeable about their make of vehicle.
- Keep your shop and waiting area free of hazards. Clean up or remove slip-and-fall hazards such as cords running across the floor or wet and oily patches. If you are in a location where slips or falls due to ice or snow are prevalent, salt the walkway to your shop and parking lot and use water-absorbent mats by the doors. Also, control who can and cannot go into repair areas by putting up “Authorized Personnel Only” signage at entrances to restricted areas.
- Superb customer experience. Customer service is key. Prioritize offering great service with a friendly receptionist and a clean and comfortable waiting area. Make your customers’ lives easier by providing online progress updates and setting up an answering machine for after-hour emergencies. Also, provide clients with thorough explanations of quotes, completed work, and warranties in writing.
- Educate your customers. Clearly explain the vehicle’s current issues, including parts needed, how long the service will take, and cost estimates. When writing repair orders, document the customers’ complaint, the cause of the issue, and the corrective action your team took. Also inform your client of any future service work that is needed, such as mileage services or routine maintenance.
- Ask for approval before doing any additional work. In general, never perform work without first consulting your client. If issues arise during a service visit, inform the client, thoroughly explain the situation, advise of the consequences of not making the fix, and always ask if you may proceed with the additional repairs.
Anderson, M. (2017). Positioning Yourself in the Collision Repair Industry. Presentation, Positioning Yourself in the Collision Repair Industry & Negotiating Best Practices Workshop, Ohio Auto Kolor, Columbus, OH.
White, R. (2017). Overcoming Obstacles [Video Webinar].