How to Gain Customer Trust

Keep Customers - Auto Repair Shops - Gaining customer trust

A recent study conducted by AAA found that a startling two out of three drivers in the United States generally don’t trust auto repair shops. For those in the auto repair industry, this means fighting an uphill battle right from the start.

The perception amongst the general population is that automotive repair shops are not trustworthy establishments, overcharging for services, making unnecessary recommendations, and providing poor customer service. Still, this perception shouldn’t discourage you as an auto repair shop owner. Instead, take this opportunity to put yourself ahead of the game by gaining your customer’s trust.

Why Don’t You Trust Me?

The AAA customer survey found that far more than two out of three drivers don’t trust auto repair shops. In fact, the survey went into great detail about what it was exactly about automotive repair shops they found so troubling. According to the survey:

  • 76 percent of U.S. drivers claim repair shops recommended unnecessary services
  • 73 percent of U.S. drivers claim repair shops overcharged for their services
  • 63 percent of U.S. drivers claim they had a negative overall experience
  • 49 percent of U.S. drivers claim they were concerned about the quality of the work

These numbers, while striking do provide us with a great deal of information in regards to how exactly to solve these issues.

Being Better

While these statistics may shock some of you, the sad reality of this is that a few bad apples have ruined it for many and some of this distrust is warranted. All you can do as a fair automotive repair shop is come to the understanding that these beliefs are out there. It becomes your responsibility to be better than those perceptions and provide a great customer experience.

The key to doing this will first and foremost come from transparency with your customers. When it comes to customer service and building trust, transparency is king. Just like any other relationship in your life, honesty is paramount. Setting the right expectations by giving accurate estimates and proper automotive care will help build lasting customer relationships.

Prove Your Worth

Simply being honest with your customers will go a long way in earning their trust, but at the end of the day, you need to be able to do the job. After all, let’s not forget about the 49 percent of drivers surveyed who claimed they had concerns about whether or not the shop could handle the job properly. So prove your worth by showing the customer you are knowledgeable and capable of delivering quick and efficient routine services like oil changes or tire rotations. This will make you top of mind when major repairs are needed. Also, continue to develop your skills through professional training, certification programs, and online communities (like the SureTrack Community in ProDemand and the Manager Forum for Manager SE users).

Emphasize Your Strengths

With the level of competition as tough as it is, being good at your job isn’t enough to stand out from the crowd. The responsibility falls onto you to create a level of trust between your shop and your customers. One of the best ways to do this is to emphasize your biggest strengths.

Let people know exactly why they should trust your shop with their car. Have you been repairing cars for over 20 years? Let your audience know that. Do you have fantastic customer reviews that you want to share? Do you have technicians that have accomplished something amazing or have you done something awesome in the community? Make sure those are easily visible for your customers. The bottom line is to be proud of your strengths and to make those clearly known to your audience.

Understand Your Audience

While the majority of U.S. drivers may not trust auto repair shops, it’s interesting to note that younger drivers tend to be even less trusting. In fact, Baby Boomers are twice as likely to completely trust an auto repair facility when compared to Millennials and members of Generation X.

Understanding that younger generations are less likely to trust your auto repair shop should serve as an indication of where you need to focus your efforts. Younger generations are far more comfortable with technology than any generation before. This means to reach them you should consider using tools like mobile, texts, social media, forums and other technology-based communications. By leveraging technology for your benefit, you can build a stronger connection with younger generations.

Think Like Your Customers

The best way to approach your marketing strategy towards younger generations is to think like they do. When researching anything today, the first place people go to is the internet. A quick search online tends to be the starting point for nearly any inquiry that we come across in our daily lives. Understanding this and building out your online presence by creating valuable content on your website, social platforms and blogs and using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics is a key steps in connecting with your customers.

Building Your Reputation

When trying to build a connection with your customers, start by providing them an amazing repair experience that leaves them wanting to give you a 5-star review. Reviews may sound scary, but if handled properly they can not only help make your shop more searchable online but also allow customers to see evidence of your great work and your positive reputation in the community. Verified reviews, like those provided by the SocialCRM marketing service, are especially powerful.

Supplement your reviews with useful content accessible both to your current and prospective customers. They want to trust that you know what you’re talking about, and a great way to do that is by providing them with rich, valuable content.

Your website, social media posts and a shop blog are all ways for your auto repair shop to build out a reputation as an authority in automotive repair. When customers read your content, it becomes clear to them that your business understands auto repair. This perceived expertise creates a feeling of trust. Whether you create this content internally or you outsource that content creation to automotive marketing experts, the content you provide your customers will be a crucial component in building your reputation as an authority in auto repair and gaining their trust.

Finding a way to integrate all of these strategies into your auto repair shop can be a daunting task. Mitchell 1’s SocialCRM is an automotive repair marketing solution that does all the heavy lifting to help you connect with your customers and gain their trust.

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