Marketing to your existing customer base

Stan Creech, IGO President and Owner of Creech Import Repair

Any shop’s best source of income obviously is their existing customer base. But when we think about advertising, most will default to new customer acquisition. The reality is, it’s no secret that most of our income comes from our existing customer base. So it’s vitally important to maintain and keep in contact with those customers in an automated way that best suits them individually. Years ago mail was about the only way you could solicit existing customers outside of calling on the phone (not a good option). Now email has largely been replaced by text messaging. We’ve found in our shop that most customers prefer text messaging today which I’m sure is the norm. But having a mix of all the above will cover all demographics of your customer base.

IGO has several companies that are great IGO members and provide CRM services to maintain a healthy communication link and advertising tool. Some members listed below will be at our 2021 ASTE show, so you will have the opportunity to talk with them first hand, and take a look at what they have to offer.

Kukui

Autotext.me

Broadly

Mailshark

Myshopmanager

Swell

Leads Near Me

ShopMarketingPros

Last but not least…Mechanic Advisor

I summoned the experts at Mechanic Advisor to help highlight some key and important components to consider with any CRM program. Our shop has used Mechanic Advisor for several years now with great success. They specialize in auto repair shop CRM and have an awesome technical support team.

 

The following section is from Gregg Rainville of Mechanic Advisor

I do think customer support is the most important component to look at when choosing a CRM company. Actually, I think it is probably the most important component when choosing any software program for your shop. You can have the best software in the world but if you do not know how to navigate it or use it properly its worthless! The other key component is to ask for multiple customer references. Some questions to ask shop owners using the CRM:  What are shops seeing for results? What do they specifically like about the CRM? What do campaigns look like? What does support look like when the shop needs to run a campaign?

At Mechanic Advisor we are really trying to improve the marketing experience in the auto repair industry with what we call our “Customer Wow” approach. We understand that not all shop owners are marketing experts or software experts so we want to take this off the shop owner’s plate so they can concentrate on bigger picture stuff like running a repair shop. We have implemented our customer success program where we are proactive not reactive. Some things we have implemented to be successful:

  • We do monthly one on one calls with our shops to evaluate the program and make sure shops are staying busy by targeting repeat business from the best type of customers. 
  • If we see a shop dipping into the red with car count or sales we pick up the phone and call the shop.
  • We have a monthly town hall meeting for us and our customers to share marketing strategies across the United States. 
  • We always have a live answer when you call our customer support line – we have tried to implement a two ring rule (the phone should not ring any more than 2 rings).
  • Live chat on our dashboard. Turn around time for responses is minutes.
  • One account manager per shop to really build the relationship with the shop owner
  • Always be curious and take feedback good and bad to present to the leadership and product team. 
  • Constantly update text and email campaigns to stay relevant and so shop customers do not feel like they are constantly getting the same marketing pushed to them

This “Customer Wow” approach has helped us not only build a great reputation in the industry but has helped our shops succeed when things have gotten very tough for our shops like the dreaded year 2020! Many of our shops over the past year have gone on to open up new locations or add bays!

Some of our most popular features include:

  • Text blasts to fill up bays when things are slow
  • Google Review Acquisition
  • Website Chat Widget
  • Customer follow up after visit
  • Service Reminders
  • Direct Mail 
    • IRS Letters/Checks
    • Thank You Postcards
    • Welcome Letters

Look forward to seeing everyone at the ASTE in September, Embassy Suites, Cary N.C.