Building Your Business through Good Customer Communication

Building Your Business through Good Customer Communication

Have you heard the saying, “Fix the customer, not the car?” This comment appeared on Mitchell 1’s automotive shop management forum and it brought home the importance of customer service in the automotive industry. Of course it’s important to fix the car, but if the customer is not happy they’re probably not going to return in the future or refer others to the shop. And that clearly has a negative effect on the bottom line.

Like all businesses that serve consumers, auto repair shops that excel at customer service are much more likely to have happy customers who don’t need fixing. And that translates to long-term profits and growth, and a distinct advantage over shops that are not making customer care a top priority.

So, what’s the secret to achieving high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty? This is a much-researched question, but most studies agree that good communication is essential. In the automotive world, one of the best ways to establish consistent communication with customers is through a shop management system that has built-in customer service features.

Manager SE from Mitchell 1, for instance, provides a wealth of vital customer information in a single location. With a few mouse clicks it’s possible to see everything from payment status and vehicle history to pending recommendations. Even the customer’s date of birth is there, allowing shops to show their customers how much they care by sending a special greeting on their customers’ birthdays. Little gestures like this can make a big impression.

Behind these features is the ability to slice and dice the customer data so shops can communicate targeted messages that bring in more business. This is the core of effective communication: delivering messages that have relevance for the customer. Imagine a customer who receives a service reminder email just about the time their “maintenance reminder” indicator comes on in their car at the 50,000 mile mark. Chances are very good that customer will bring in their car. And if they can simply click a link in the email to make an appointment, the likelihood increases even more. 

And therein lies the power of having shop marketing services combined with the management system. Mitchell 1’s SocialCRM shop marketing service uses customer data in the management system to help shops take customer communication and service to the next level. The shop’s messages are amplified by the ability to automate messages and expand marketing reach using the Internet.

SocialCRM reports are being integrated right into the ManagerSE dashboard.

Some of the features that help shops connect with their customers include:

  • Mobile-friendly appointment reminders and thank-you emails sent automatically
  • Appointment-request scheduling links built into every customer email
  • Customer reviews that allow shops to receive and respond to feedback – both positive and negative — to nurture customer relationships
  • Low-score diagnostics feature notifying shops when a customer submits a negative review, so shops can proactively resolve issues
  • Social media management to help further engage with customers and manage the shop’s online reputation
  • Target marketing e-mail campaigns that automatically remind customers about recommended auto repair services not completed during their last shop visit
  • Coupon campaigns that offer special discounts (and help boost business during slow times)

All of these features — and many more — are made possible through the tight integration between Manager SE and SocialCRM. The ultimate goal is to help shops have more happy customers and fewer “broken” ones who need fixing. And it all starts with communication. At the end of the day, the more shops know about their customers, the better they can meet their needs and provide the best service experience possible.

  • This article was originally published in the July 2014 edition of AutoInc. Magazine (page 13)
About the Author

Jill Schafer

Jill Schafer is the Marketing Communication Manager at Mitchell 1 and has over 20 years of marketing experience with high-technology organizations, including over 10 years in the automotive information industry.