Get your Service Reminder Systems in Order and You’ll See Increased Car Count and More Repeat Customers.
Is your calendar packed with appointments? Does it help when you receive a text to remind you about that next Dentist appointment? It probably does help…after all it took weeks to get that appointment!
Well, put yourself in your customers shoes. They will consider it a benefit if they receive a reminder from you that it’s time to get their brakes checked…that they need to get that oil change or its time for their 30,000 mile check-up.
Service Reminders are a great tool to build trust and increase repeat business for your shop. Don’t think of reminders as being a nuisance to your customers. They’ll appreciate the reminder. It’s another service you offer your customers. Here are a few of the reasons Service Reminders are a device you should have in your customer service tool box:
Do you need to increase your Car Count? Your first go-to solution is to examine your Service Reminder procedures. By having an efficient process for all shop reminders, you will see an immediate impact on sales. Your customers have busy lives. If they are reminded about that brake job you recommended – and here’s the key – the appointment needs to be easy to set up with your shop. Sending that reminder is great but you need to have the process for actually setting up the appointment stress-free and quick for your returning customer.
CREATES REPEAT CUSTOMERS
If you know their maintenance schedule they came to your shop before. So they like you…and they like that they are receiving those Service Reminders. Develop that long-term customer relationship with an effective reminder system. That includes an easy way to make that appointment you’re telling them they need. The faster and easier it is to make a maintenance appointment with your shop, that customer will keep coming back.
REINFORCES YOUR SHOPS BRAND
A carefully prepared and planned Service Reminder is a statement that your business is open and ready to handle any repair. Your business is your brand. Cultivating not just new customers but taking care of existing customers is key for successful long-term growth.
IT’S A SERVICE
Your customer has a busy life. Getting that reminder helps them take care of their vehicle. It’s how they get to work. It’s how they get to soccer practice with their kids. Outside of their home, it’s the most important purchase a family has made. Taking proper care of this purchase isn’t just another appointment on their calendar. It means getting as many miles out of that car as possible while being safe.
The Service Reminder gives you the shop owner an opportunity to deliver a secondary message. Like – Ending that email or text with a new offer you have, a discount on xxxx or just a mention that fresh donuts and coffee are waiting for them in your newly renovated waiting area.
Make sure you use their first name in Service Reminders. Don’t use “hey you” or “To whom it may concern”. How about “Hi Mary. It’s Ed from AutoCare on Main Street” as an intro. Personal and friendly is always a good place to start!
SAVING YOUR CUSTOMER MONEY
Getting that preventive brake fix is a lot less money for your customer then a new set of rotors. Checking for a leaking hose is a lot more cost-efficient for your customer than seized overheated engine.
Properly managed Service Reminder programs can drive home that your shop and your team are reliable. It proves you know this customer. That you value the relationship and their car. This is the #1 reason existing customers will recommend you to their friends and neighbors. You’re someone who can be counted on to be honest and professional.
STAND OUT IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Each time your customer sees your logo whether it’s in an email, a post or a postcard it reinforces that your shop is a local business they can rely on.
EMAILS? TEXTS? CALLS? POSTCARDS?
What’s the best delivery system for Service Reminders? All of them in a perfect world. You may want to ask a customer their preferred method of delivery…but offering all and having an internal system that knows those preferences is the ideal structure.
Take some time to craft these messages. If it’s an email system, think about that subject line. Make it clear that this is a reminder about an appointment and not a sales email. You want to make that customer feel that your email needs to be opened and read. Within the email, make sure that you identify the car. A customer may have more than one car. List the service being done (keep in mind that you’re talking to a customer and not a technician) and an approximate time-frame for completion. If you have a night drop-off box or a late-night pick-up system be sure to mention those details. Include a link or phone number for any appointment adjustments. And ALWAYS end with a sincere message that you appreciate their business with a link to your site and Yelp page.
PROMOTE YOUR SERVICE REMINDERS
Service Reminders are a good thing, so talk about it! Tell people you have this service – promote on your site and on social media platforms too.
REMINDERS AND FOLLOW-UPS
OK, so you’ve sent Service Reminders out. Customers have set up appointments. Great! They may have set-up that appointment 4 weeks previous, so think about incorporating a reminder system the day before the appointment. Again, think of this as a service to your customer. And don’t forget about a follow-up. Ask them if all went well. At this point in the Service Reminder journey, that next service date should now be in your systems…and the cycle starts over again.
Published in Shop Owner Magazine