Keep the cus­tomers com­ing

Motor Equipment News - - SERVICING -

Car and truck ser­vic­ing can be make or break for some work­shops, es­pe­cially now that some War­rant of Fit­ness (WoF) and Cer­tifi­cate of Fit­ness (CoF) pe­ri­ods have been length­ened and this lu­cra­tive busi­ness op­por­tu­nity has been cut back, but there are a few ways you can in­crease the through­put in your work­shops.

1. Ad­ver­tis­ing. If no-one knows who you are, and where you are, they won’t know to bring their busi­ness to you. So be OUT there. Spend as much as you can on ad­ver­tis­ing to make sure peo­ple put YOU on top of their ser­vic­ing lists. But at the same time make sure you’re us­ing the right sort of ad­ver­tis­ing. Google ads may ap­pear cost-ef­fec­tive, for in­stance, but you know how hit and miss the In­ter­net can be, and in any case, how many peo­ple ac­tu­ally read these ads?

But lo­cal news­pa­pers con­tinue to be a great op­tion, as do spe­cial­ist mag­a­zines such as this one, which go right to the peo­ple you want to talk to.

Lo­cal ra­dio is good, but na­tional ra­dio is a waste of time un­less you’re a na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion. And TV? Well, it might feed your ego, but it won’t feed your kids – apart from be­ing hit and miss, es­pe­cially where more and more peo­ple are record­ing their favourite pro­grammes and fast-for­ward­ing through the ads, it’s hor­ren­dously ex­pen­sive.

2. OK, you’re made the de­ci­sion to ad­ver­tise, but what do you say about your­self? Yes, peo­ple want to know you’ve been around a while, but they don’t need a his­tory les­son about your busi­ness – what they want to know is what you can do for them, and how much it’s go­ing to cost.

3. Don’t lose fo­cus. You’ve placed a few ad­verts, and the busi­ness is start­ing to roll in, but don’t now sit back on your lau­rels and think you can stop. Peo­ple have short mem­ory spans, and to stay top of mind you’re got to keep the process rolling.

4. Mon­i­tor your ad­ver­tis­ing and see what works best for you. If you’re not get­ting a re­turn on your in­vest­ment in terms of cus­tomers through the door, change di­rec­tion. And don’t for­get to change your ads reg­u­larly. Peo­ple have a built-in cut-out mech­a­nism where they recog­nise some­thing they’ve seen be­fore, and so no longer take any no­tice of it.

5. In­ter­act with your cus­tomers. Find out why they came to you, and af­ter­wards fol­low-up to see if they’re happy with the job you’ve done. Most im­por­tant, if they com­plain DON’T get all huffy and de­fen­sive. Take it on the chin and lis­ten to what they have to say, and they’ll come back to you. Ar­gue and blus­ter, and you’ll never see them again.

6. Keep records. Make a file for each cus­tomer and re­mind them when their next ser­vice is due. They’ll ap­pre­ci­ate your con­cern, and since most peo­ple like to take the eas­i­est op­tion, they’ll come to you to do the job.

7. Have spe­cials. Kiwi cus­tomers like bar­gains, and if they think they’re go­ing to pay less than they nor­mally would, they’ll come to you for the work. But, make sure you’re mak­ing enough money out of the deal or it’s just a waste of time.

8. Most im­por­tant of all, don’t get so bogged down in oper­a­tional mat­ters that your mar­ket­ing goes onto the back burner. As we men­tion in paint 3, above, peo­ple’s mem­ory spans are short so you have to stay fo­cussed on keep­ing your com­pany top of mind.

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