Repair shops rely heavily on referrals to increase business, but how can you depend on your customers doing this for you? It goes without saying that providing the best auto repair service in town is the only way to attract referrals, but this method may take too long to count on for attracting recommendations. If you are scratching your head without any tangible ideas, then read on!
Before you do this, you must first ensure that the customer service side of your business is top notch! If you get complaints, this is something you need to fix even before you start any type of referral program. So, your clients must have a five-star experience every time they come in. This alone can get them raving about your business, but it is not a guarantee that you will increase referrals.
Try these 10 Referral Strategies for Your Auto Repair Shop:
- First, address dissatisfied customers by turning things around. Make a personal call and offer a free service, such as an oil change or free bottle of wiper fluid, etc. Any type of gesture that will prevent them from being unhappy is worthwhile.
- Under-promise and over-deliver. People like to be happily surprised by something they were not expecting. For example, if you tell a customer that their car will be ready by 4:00 p.m. and you have it ready by 1:00 p.m., or if you wash it for them, or if you vacuum the interior, etc. these are ways you can over-deliver.
- Visit local auto supply shops. Make friends with places that sell auto parts. Believe it or not, they will give you referrals because not every customer who comes in is a do-it-yourselfer or capable of fixing their own auto service issues.
- Ask customers on the bottom of a receipt if they would be willing to recommend a friend or relative.
- Keep in touch with customers so they are less apt to forget about you. Send a weekly email or monthly tips, etc.
- Give customers something free without asking for anything in return. For example, how about a free checklist with recommended service checks to help customers spot potential issues with their vehicles? Preventative maintenance can save customers hundreds of dollars and will be much appreciated. Always remind or ask customers if they know anyone who would be interested in your services… nearly everyone knows a friend, co-worker or relative with a broken car!
- Make referrals simple to get to you. For example, on your website you can include a link that is specifically for referrals, and you can give the referee something in return, such as a 15% off coupon for their next visit.
- Consider having free, monthly car care clinics for specific niches. If you want to be known as a “woman-friendly” service shop, you can host a special seminar for ladies, and ask them to bring a female friend. Give them a free gift for coming. Perhaps you can partner up with a local nail salon and do a swap for referrals.
- When you mail cards, always include a couple of extra business cards and ask the customer to pass them out to anyone they know who needs a good mechanic.
- Send a free coffee coupon or ice cream voucher on your customer’s birthday.
These are just ten possibilities to get you thinking about the power and value of referrals. Referrals are truly the backbone of your auto repair business, so be as generous as possible!