Have you ever pulled up to a retail business and found grimy windows with faded signage? Brown weeds pushing through cracked pavement in a dilapidated parking lot.
Not very enticing, is it?
As an auto repair shop owner, you know your business is more than just fixing cars. It’s also about creating a positive customer experience. And that experience starts with your shop’s curb appeal.
When a customer visits your shop, they should feel confident you’ll take good care of their car. If your property looks dirty or unkempt, they will think you’ll treat their car the same way.
Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of shops — and the best ones dial in their curb appeal to attract the right customers.
The street view
When customers drive into your lot, what do they see? Is your shop’s exterior clean and well-maintained? Or could it use, to put it nicely, a little help? That first impression is a make-or-break decision point for potential customers.
To improve your shop’s curb appeal, start by taking a close look at your shop’s exterior. Are your windows clean, intact (no cracks) and free of smudges and streaks? Is your building’s paint in good condition? Are your signs and banners easy to read and up to date?
Improvements like these go a long way toward making your shop look more professional and inviting —and more profitable.
Your online storefront
Curb appeal means more than your building and parking lot: Your website and social media also shape your customers’ expectations.
Your website needs to be up-to-date, attractive and easy to navigate. On both your website and social media, showcase your shop and team with high-quality photos to help customers feel more comfortable and familiar with your business.
Respond quickly to customer inquiries and reviews — just like you’d promptly answer the phone when it rings. It’s one more way you show customers you’ll provide them with excellent service.
Consistency is also key when it comes to presenting an image to the customer.
Customers need to have the same visual experience no matter how they connect with you. Use the same colours and branding on your website, staff uniforms, flyers and posters, and marketing materials as you do on the signage and exterior of your shop.
It can be a jarring experience to see red and white as the main colour on your website, then walk into a shop where greens and blues make up the colour scheme.
It’s all in the details
In addition to your shop’s exterior and marketing materials, don’t forget about the little details that can make a big difference.
Is your waiting room clean and comfortable with plenty of seating and reading materials for customers? Do you offer complimentary refreshments like coffee, water and snacks to help customers feel more comfortable and welcome? Offer free Wi-Fi — a noisy and distracting TV is a fixture in a lot of shops; maybe it’s time to let it go.
Dial in your retail and online presence, present a consistent image across all your marketing and don’t overlook the little things that can set your shop apart. When you do, you can create an inviting and positive experience that keeps customers coming back to your shop — and referring their friends — time and time again.
Joe Flammer is a director of marketing for Turnkey Marketing. Based in Kansas City, he serves as outsourced director of marketing for auto repair shops. Learn more at www.turnkeyautomarketing.com.