The auto body shop industry boasts around 125,000 businesses and annual revenue of $50 Billion in the US; that is to say, that it is both lucrative and competitive. Which makes a lot of sense given that cars can easily get scratched, dinged, and sustain other damages that need to be repaired, and there are also many car owners who wish to further customize and improve their ride. One could say that an auto shop has hit the jackpot if it’s the only auto body shop in an area.
However, if you’re among the hundreds and thousands of shops that compete with each other, then you need to find ways to make yourself not only visible but more attractive to customers. There are many guides by industry experts and experienced customers online that provide tips on how to choose the right auto shop. As such, we’ll be taking a look at these factors and qualifications that your shop needs to have to boost its chances of getting selected by potential customers.
No matter how good the facilities are, or how many certifications your auto body shop has, if the feedback is bad, then you’re a lot less likely to be chosen by future potential customers. One thing you have to remember is that dissatisfied customers are a lot more likely to post negative reviews and feedback in review sites like Yelp, or on your website and social media pages than satisfied customers.
So make sure that you encourage your satisfied customers to leave a review on your website, on Yelp, or your social media page after they get their vehicle — it’s also a good idea to send them a ‘Thank you!’ email for choosing your shop, and also to remind them to leave a review. This way, even if you have a few customers that leave a bad review, your average rating would still be pulled up by positive feedback.
How the Shop Looks
Customers are encouraged to visit the shops they shortlisted to get an idea of the quality of service, and also to check if the shop has the best and latest equipment and facilities to repair and/or customize your vehicle. Speaking of facilities, if your shop specializes in paint jobs, making use of automotive paint booth systems doesn’t only ensure efficiency and quality but can boost your potential customer’s confidence in the shop. While ‘pristine cleanliness’ isn’t exactly something you’d expect from an auto shop, it’s still important for the customers to see that your shop is free from clutter, heaping amounts of dust and debris, and/or spilled oil (and other liquids).
Professional and Courteous Staff
Mechanical skill and know-how isn’t the only thing you should consider when it comes to staff, but also interpersonal skills. Your staff should know how to talk to and explain to customers as nothing would scare off a customer as easily as talking to a staff who’s either ill-mannered or speaks like they don’t know what they’re doing. Additionally, seeing staff wearing uniforms and the proper gear also speaks a lot when it comes to safety, quality, and professionalism, so you may also want to consider providing uniforms and better gear for your staff — which can also boost safety and morale among your workers.
Bonus: Online Presence
This isn’t technically a deciding factor, but if your customer looks up for auto body shops through search engines online, and you don’t have your shop doesn’t have a website, isn’t registered in Google Maps, or doesn’t have a social media page, then you’re automatically out of the raceway before it even started. So make sure that you have an online presence, and have a decent website that’s easy to navigate and provides all the information your customer may need (you can even improve it further by providing booking functions, quotation estimates, and so on).
In a competitive industry like that of auto body shops, it’s important to know that the customers look for and consider when choosing which shop to do business with; this would serve as a guide to improve your shop’s attractiveness and also its efficiency and visibility.