Whether your shop is set up to service automobiles, ATVs, snowmobiles or heavy machinery, there is one thing that you rely on the most. Customers. Although getting new customers should always remain a goal, many shop owners forget to continue marketing to existing customers.
In the marketing world, this is called acquisition marketing vs. retention marketing; but truthfully, the priority should be in reverse. Why?
Current clients already know you and trust you, and that is why they continue turning to your services whenever they have a need. People tend to be very loyal to repair shops, and that is because the good ones are so difficult to find. Shop owners who truly understand marketing are more of a rarity than they used to be, so this presents a great chance for your shop to outshine the many other repair shops in your community.
How Do You Apply Retention Marketing to Your Shop?
Retention marketing generally requires less effort than acquiring new customers. That's not to say that retention marketing doesn't require work. You have to not only forge relationships, you have to maintain them. It is not so unlike relationships outside of your business, they must be nurtured and tended to. You have to listen to your customer’s needs, keep in touch frequently and always stay at the top of their minds. Competing shops are always trying to steal your customers, so you must offer them a superior customer service experience that truly “Wows” them into the loyalty you wish to preserve.
This can be done through a number of methods. Here are just a few that you could consider applying for your service shop:
- Always follow up a few days after a customer does business with you, even if it is a simple postcard thanking them for coming in.
- Keep track of scheduled service appointments, such as oil changes, tune-ups, brakes or other needs. Send reminders when these are due.
- If you spotted something else that needed work on their vehicle, but perhaps it was not urgent, send a reminder a month or two down the road to let the customer know you are ready to help.
- Email marketing can be very, very effective, but you have to do it tactfully. Customers check their emails frequently, and on mobile devices now, so you don’t want them sending your messages to the ‘spam’ folder. Instead, offer a few helpful pointers or tips, service reminders and other unique newsy bits of interest. This is one great way for them to feel like they know you very well. It is vital to your retention marketing plan! Click here for a free trial to Constant Contact.
Keep in mind that you do still have to find new customers, as there will always be people who jump around to different competitors or some who move away, or change vehicles, etc. So acquisition marketing is not a marketing strategy that you should give up on; not at all!
Together, both retention marketing and acquisition marketing will have your shop churning business in and out like a well-oiled machine.