How to Build Trust in Your Auto Shop: Part One

Auto shops have the unfortunate luck of being in an industry that has major trust issues with its customers. Most other service providers don’t have a trust issue to this degree, so it’s been a constant sore spot in the industry for years. It has only gotten more challenging with the addition of things like social media, online reviews, and even just the ability to search for competitors more easily! We know that trust is a defining piece of your business, and that’s why you should consider the following ways to build more trust in your shop:

Trust Starts with Customer Experience

Think about every touchpoint a customer has with your shop. First, they usually have a digital experience: finding you online, checking out your website, giving you a call or sending you an email. Then they have a physical experience: interactions at the service desk, sitting in the waiting area, using the restroom, retrieving their vehicle. Each of these moments reflects on how you treat customers and is an opportunity to build trust!

1. Be attentive on the phone. Make sure your service advisor’s phone etiquette is top notch, and build trust by listening to the customer’s concerns when they call or email. Offer suggestions for what service they might need based on their vehicle’s symptoms, and try to provide an accurate range for both cost and time to fix.

2. Be thorough with your repair estimates. You typically won’t know the exact price until you have the car in the shop, but offer as accurate of an estimate as you can based on the symptoms. Let the customer know what the problem sounds like, even if it might be more than one thing, and inform them on the average cost for those services. If you have a diagnostic fee, let them know to expect X number of dollars right out of the gate. Then you can contact the customer once you’ve diagnosed their vehicle so that they can make an informed decision on their services.

3. Be honest with your time frame. If you’re slammed and backed up, it’s best to be up front and let the customer know so that they can arrange their schedule accordingly. If they’re in a bind, but still want to use you for service – see if you’re able to accommodate them with a shuttle, loaner car, Uber, or an after hour pickup or dropoff! Over-informing the customer on how you can help them is never a bad thing.

Whether you’re the most affordable repair shop or a high end import shop, you can still build confidence with your customers through any of these steps. It isn’t an overnight change, but if you invest the time to train your employees and communicate with your customers, it will pay off in the long run. Stay tuned for Part Two, and continue building more trust with your auto shop customers!

Written by Joel Fogleman

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