When your customers come into your shop for auto repair services, the goal isn’t for them to make one purchase and never see you again. You want them to be customers for life. You want them to know you value them — and that requires a strong follow-up game.
There are plenty of ways for an auto repair shop to effectively follow-up with customers, but these tactics are some of the most successful (and we know from experience).
Shoot Them a Text
It’s no secret that most of the population is constantly on their phones. In fact, half of consumers in the U.S. check their phones at least 5 times per hour. Given the fact that SMS open rates are as high as 98%, a text messaging strategy is a good idea when you’re looking to level up your outreach to customers.
The great thing about texting is that the benefits don’t just stop at a good follow-up approach, they naturally have other advantages too, such as increasing brand awareness, generating sales, and providing news. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Promotional announcements: Any time you have a special going on in the shop, whether it’s $20 off an oil change or a free tire rotation, leveraging your connection with customers through promotional content is a great way to generate sales.
- Service reminders: Life is busy. It’s easy to forget something as simple as an oil change. Sending a text to remind your customers of an upcoming service appointment is an added convenience for customers and helps ensure they keep their appointment.
- Scheduled maintenance reminders: Vehicle maintenance is not always top of mind. If you’re the one letting them know it’s time to schedule an appointment it can increase your chances of getting that business.
- Surveys & reviews: Getting feedback from your customers on their experience at your shop is essential but convincing them to take time out of their day isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s important that you make it as easy as possible and a text is a good way to do it.
Show Up in Their Inbox
Similar to text messaging, email marketing is another great way to follow-up with your automotive customers. While the recipients of your campaigns may not be notified of your email message right away, 99% of email users check their emails every single day. Some people check as much as 20 times per day.
The golden ticket is following the best email marketing practices to ensure that your email campaigns have open rates that are far above the industry standard (around 20%).
Email Best Practices
In order for your email follow-up strategy to be as effective as it can be in bringing customers back into your auto shop, there are a variety of techniques you can implement into your campaigns to see success.
- Massage your subject line: Having an enticing subject line is exactly how you’ll experience higher open rates. Try to keep them on the shorter side (less than 30 characters) and test different ones each time you send an email to see if the open rates got better or worse.
- Be smart/creative with the content: The last thing you want your customers to do is open your email, read the first line and delete it. Your content has to deliver. Prioritize personalization and give them something of value each send. For example, consider sending them an email to remind them of recommended services they declined on their last visit.
- Consider the best time to send: When you launch an email campaign, you have to keep in mind what time of day it is and also what day of the week it is. According to Hubspot, Thursday is the best day for email open rates.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Did you know that satisfied U.S. customers will share their positive experience with at least 11 different people? There is the sheer power of online reviews and word of mouth which is why collecting reviews is one of the best ways to follow-up with your automotive customers. When you solicit them for a review, you’re essentially killing three birds with one stone:
- You’re showing that you care about their experience and their feedback, which makes them feel valued.
- You’re following up with them after their visit as another touchpoint in their customer journey.
- You’re collecting a valuable piece of information that will contribute to your overall reputation and more potential sales.
How to Respond to Your Online Reviews
So, you’ve done your follow-up and have collected some reviews from your customers, now what? You need to respond, the good and the bad. In fact, 45% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews. Keep these tips top of mind:
- Don’t let your emotions get the best of you with negative reviews. Step away from your keyboard to obtain a calm mental state and respond in a professional manner.
- Address the reviewer personally by using their name. Avoid using terms like “guest” or “customer”.
- Always say thank you, no matter what kind of review it is. Be grateful that they’re leaving you a review in the first place so you know which areas you’re killing it in or areas that need help.
Automate the Follow Up
No matter how you plan to follow-up with your automotive customers, one thing is for certain — it can be extremely time-consuming to consistently stay in touch. But, that shouldn’t deter you from doing it because it is an essential step to retaining your customers. The good news is that you can lean on companies like BayIQ to take the follow-up tasks off your to-do list.
BayIQ’s automated marketing platform was specifically curated for auto repair shop owners like yourself by auto repair shop owners. As a result of that, all the features built into the system for a solid follow-up strategy (automated text/email reminders, review collection and loyalty programs) were crafted specifically for the automotive industry. In fact, any communication sent out to your customers through BayIQ is tailored to the type of vehicle they own.
Request a demo for your shop today to see how effective your follow-up game will be with BayIQ on your side.