Good customers are tough to come by, and by “good” this is referring to those loyal, steady-eddies who have been coming to you for years to service their vehicles. Do you keep track of them and continue to stay in touch, or do you just let them go if you have not seen them in a while? Do you ever wonder what happened to them, or why they have not visited your shop for a few months, or even years?
There could be a number of reasons. Obviously, people’s lives change and perhaps your loyal customer moved away, passed away (let’s hope not) or maybe sold their automobile and started using the dealership’s service shop instead. Sometimes customers – even loyal ones – fail to realize that you may offer services to other types of vehicles. For example, if you have a shop that caters to “Imported Cars” and the customer had a Volkswagen, and then sold it and purchased a Chevy, perhaps it is a matter of the customer failing to realize that you are still able to service their vehicle.
Lack of communication from your shop can lead to a loss of a customer, but it does not have to be that way. Have someone from your shop spend a day calling those old customers. There are two great benefits to doing this:
- You can reconnect. If the customer did, in fact, purchase a new car, this is a good time to tell them you still want their business. Offer them a discount or some other incentive for returning to your business. Or if there was a problem in the past, you can get to the bottom of it and perhaps reestablish a relationship.
- You can update your database. If the customer moved away or is no longer around, doesn’t answer the phone, etc. then this will give you an opportunity to purge their information from your database. Keeping your customer list up-to-date can save you time and money, as you will avoid wasting resources on marketing to customers who are no longer around. No more returned mail, bounced emails, etc.
You can reach out to the customers via direct mail, an email survey, or through a personal call. The latter may be best as it is the most direct approach and truly makes an impression with the customer that you still want their business. If the customer did move away or decided to go elsewhere, then you can ask why and it will help you to become a better shop.
Don’t be afraid to possibly ask them to refer a neighbor, coworker, friend or family member who may be in need of services. One lost customer can become a new customer gained if you take the right approach!