Do your customers trust you? A recent survey shows that the answer might be a resounding “Nope.” When asked to rank five professions (teacher, doctor, law enforcement, auto collision repair and lawyer) from most to least trustworthy, 64 percent of respondents rated auto collision repair second to last. There are several factors that play into that lack of trust. Here are the most common problems, plus some ideas to address them.
Problem: Customers don’t understand what goes into a repair.
Collision damage can be deceiving. You know there’s usually more going on than meets the eye, and that getting everything road-ready again takes time, measuring, pulling, welding, painting … and a lot more. The average customer doesn’t know that.
Solution: Be willing to explain anything and everything.
Anyone who comes into contact with customers should be prepared to share their expertise. And they need to do it in a direct, easy-to-understand way. Break down what’s wrong, what needs fixed and how the process will happen. Your customer contacts should also be ready to answer questions and have a full discussion about the repairs, without rushing or getting impatient.
Problem: Unexpected costs and delays.
Added costs and time on a repair that customers don’t truly understand in the first place can add fuel to the fire.
Solution: First, accuracy. Second, transparency.
Prevention is the best cure. Set yourself up for success by correctly estimating the job from the beginning. An accurate measuring system can help reveal hidden damages and prevent surprises. Blueprinting the repair plan from start to finish is wise, too. Emphasize the importance of this step with your staff. The better they are at providing accurate estimates and timelines, the more trust they’ll build.
Of course, even the best collision repair shops have missteps. Someone forgets to order a part or account for an expense. If that happens, honesty is the best policy. Admit the mistake, explain what happened briefly and accept blame. Then make getting that job done on the new timeline a priority. Most people can understand one extended deadline. Two is a little harder to stomach.
Problem: Poor experiences in the past.
It’s very likely you’re fighting against negative experiences you had nothing to do with. Whether it was at a mechanic shop or another collision repair outfit, many people will come to you with at least one bad car repair experience.
Solution: Go above and beyond.
The survey cited above shows you have your work cut out for you from the start. That may not be fair, but it’s a reality you should be aware of. Remember to look at it from their perspective. They have their guard up from the start. Do your best to alleviate any fears and show them their vehicle is in safe hands.
And remember that it’s not all doom and gloom. Those poor experiences also give you a chance to stand out. When you go the extra mile to provide great customer service, your customers will notice and your reputation will grow.
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