It’s no secret that the automotive aftermarket’s reputation with consumers isn’t the best that it should be.
But a new survey reveals what shops can do to improve relationships with customers. At the top of the list were “more detailed information on service and parts” and “Have more open and clear communication about services and needs.”
“It appears that vehicle owners’ trust is strengthened with more information regarding service recommendations when the information is presented in a way that is relevant, understandable, and clearly communicates the benefits of the recommended services,” said the Automotive Service Report. “Better communication can be trained for and consumer education aides are readily available.”
The survey was done by AutoNetTV, looking at trust, communication, maintenance motivation and more.
When it comes to earning loyalty, respondents suggested shops “communicate more openly and honestly about services” as a way to earn repeat business.
“Research studies, and common practice, have consistently demonstrated the tie between improved communication and increased trust. This, as with other studies, reinforces the importance of providing more information about the service process, business practices, and vehicle service and repair recommendations,” the report observed.
This is what most shops are doing compared to big dealerships. Explaining services to consumers has benefits. Training service advisors on how to understand what they are selling is key to building relationships. Keeping service advisors trained is very important because they are the front line contacts. Knowledge is king! Retaining service advisors is also important. Customers feel comfortable when they see the same employees every time they come in. Big shops have a high turn over of service advisors which hurts building relationships because new staff do not get a chance to know their customers.
As a service writer and shop owner, I totally agree. I see invoices from the area shops and all dealerships in our area. I am shocked at the information that is not there. If I was to pay a bill based on what is written on those invoices, I would say the invoice should read free, no charge. When you get an invoice from me there is a full compete story of what was done and what we found and what needs repair in what rider it should be done. All recommendations are listed. All codes and explanations are completely written out and the customer is sat down and gone thru with me, everything on the invoice if they want to. I have at least 80% customer satisfaction because they tell straight up in person, thank you for looking after me and my vehicles and telling me the bad news right along with the good news. I have been in this business for 47 + years and owned my own shop for going on 24 years. The stuff they teach you in service writer classes I have taken, might work in the big city, but works poorly in small rural areas. When these professors look at my customer satisfaction reports that they initiate, they are shocked to see what loyalty my customers have. I have had a very busy shop the entire 24+ years I have been in business and even in the recessions of the early 2000s I had a 3 week wait period for people to get in. Not a lot has changed. So what other shops need to do is be just as open with their customers as I am. And treat them like they matter, not just another person looking to bother them with their automotive issues. Most new customers I get have all come for the same reason. They get treated well and cared about.