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Tag Archives: automotive repair

Quality of products or services in the car refinish industry comes only second to …

When we talk about collision repair industry (or, in fact, about any industry) the most frequently used word to describe a brand or business you hear is “quality“. Our clearcoat is of fineness, with that spray gun you will achieve the highest quality finish, in our bodyshop we deliver the highest quality refinishing job … While I has no problem whatsoever with the term, I do believe that quality is not the most important. How is that? Some of my esteemed readers or marketing specialists may not agree. Let me explain myself.

what-is-quality

The problem with the term “quality” lies in its vagueness. Apparently, perceived quality for different customers vary significantly. For example, a high quality clearcoat for a Greek painter may refer to the superior UV resistance, while in humid English Highlands quality has to do with fast drying; a salesman, the owner of hardworking Ford Fiesta wants fast delivery of his vehicle, while Ferrari owner requires the highest possible gloss level for his precious four-wheeled beast. And don’t tell me that you can have it all in one package. Not in this world at least. Let me bring another example, not from our industry. Do you believe that iPhone is the highest quality mobile phone in the market? I can bet that Samsung fans will find dozens of technical features in which the Korean brand is far more superior to its Californian rival. So what? Apple still has the most fanatic fans, which will spend their last savings on the newest model. I don’t remember anyone sleeping outside Samsung store to buy the last Galaxy model (I hope Samsung lovers won’t be upset with me). So, where is the difference? What is the secret? Well, whether you are selling paint, cellphones or spray cars, quality (perceived quality actually) comes second to … Hold your breath… customer experience. The difference between okay business and a thriving one is predominantly in great customer experience!

What is a customer experience in collision repair?

I have a simple definition for customer experience – it is a feeling, smell or taste a customer is left with after spraying  a X brand clear or driving away from Y collision repair workshop. If you understand which things particularly influence this feeling, what ingredients leave sweet taste, and then you can create a unique customer experience.

customer-experience-1

How can we understand what is a great customer experience for our business?

The one and only way to answer this question is to put yourself in your client’s shoes. Ask! Ask! And ask! Don’t rely solely on your perceptions and believes.

 

Great customer experience for a bodyshop.

One research I read a while ago, which was conducted by a big chain of bodyshops, revealed that satisfied customers remembered mostly good coffee in the reception, new car scent used by the bodyshop before vehicle delivery and free touch-up bottle with 10ml car color inside! Keeping acceptable refinishing job constant it is coffee and a small freebies, which made a bodyshop to stand out from the competition.

 

Great customer experience for paint supplier.

Here I will share some observations I have had throughout my career as automotive refinishing products supplier. Many of Etalon customers preferred our products because… they liked the horse image on our cans, because of fresh design and even because the paper in our catalogue “feels like velvet”, and, yes, our calendar is sexy… On the other hand, we had to change one product, because it smelled bad and a packaging company, because the boxes looked like Chinese! One of our customer switched to Etalon simply because we are not arrogant like salespeople of one big multinational competitor. Of course, products must be good and at reasonable price, but it seems that many of us miss the key point – the experience our clients have with us.

To sum it up, I strongly advice to conduct a research on how your clients actually feel when working with you. Fine tune your operations and have the edge on your rivals. And remember, your customers are willing to pay extra for outstanding customer experience!

 

Aerosol paint in auto body shop. Historical snapshot.

by Alexander Aslamazis

Aerosol sprays are used widely in a modern car repair shop, including painting area. In the past, spray paints were mainly considered as DIY products, however nowadays aerosols have more and more usage by real professionals. The quality of the finish and spray fan have improved significantly. Moreover, some coatings, like primers and fillers for spot repair jobs are the preferred solution. Additional advantage is that you spray exactly the quantity you need, and no spray gun cleaning is required after the job is completed. Last, but not the least, a sprayer in car bodyshop can find in the market aerosol sprays, which have hardener capsule imbedded, meaning that high quality and fast drying 2K materials can be applied.
It might be interesting for you to learn when actually aerosol cans were invented and how this handy product developed over the time. Below is a short infographic for your attention.

Aerosols history infographic

What is the most important way to promote your bodyshop?

by Aslamazis Alexandros

If I was asked which way is the best to promote a small business like a car body repair shop, I would reply without second thought- a customer referral or word of mouth. It is free and the most powerful. Although it sounds easy, actually you need to work very hard to make customers your business ambassadors.

  We love referrals

Why is the word of mouth so powerful?

It is important to understand why customers’ recommendation is so important. Let's face it, nobody feels happy when they crash their car. Therefore, in case of a car accident we usually tend to call our close relatives and friends to ask for their advice. If your name will be mentioned as a reliable, fast and reasonably priced bodyshop, then big chances are that you will be the preferred one.

Numerous researches have been conducted by marketing specialists around customers’ behaviour and referral psychology. While the number of people who will tell about their positive and negative experiences vary from survey to survey, what never changes is the following. Happy customer usually tells about 4-6 people about their experience, while a dissatisfied customer will inform up to 10 people. In fact, some small number of unhappy clients will talk to 20 people.  Customers will always spread more negative word of mouth than positive. Bad news reach more ears.

 

How to convence customers to "promote" your bodyshop?

Even though there is no magic formula, below you can find a few ways that have been proved to work:

1. Exceed customer's expectations.

Last year I wrote a dedicated blog post "How to exceed your customers’ expectations? Without dropping your prices of course…" Among 6 steps how to do this I mentioned faster than promised delivery and free car detailing. Simle steps, great pay back in positive word of mouth

2. Ask for the referral.

Actually there is no harm to ask your happy customer to recommend your bodyshop to their relatives and friends. Just don't do this while they pay, but rather before or shortly after they give you a pay cheque.

3. Create a well-tuned referral program.

Referral programs are launched to encourage customers to spread positive word of mouth about your company. Discount coupons are a good example. For example, you can offer free wax clearcoat protection or dent repari for every five potential prospects recommendation.

Referral-card

4. Invest in your local community.

You can spread a positive word of mouth not only by doing a great job, but also by offering something back to your community. Be a sponsor of some athletic event, donate to the local charity or offer discount for eldery people.

5. Recommend others to get recommended.

Obviously car body repair shop is not the only business dealing with cars. Establish good relations with local mechanics, car parts traders, car glass repair shops and vehicle alarm installer. If you see that they do great job (and only in this case), take their business cards and give to your customers when needed. It will pay back for sure.

6. Encourage comments through social media.

Infographics

Even this one is not easy, because negative comments can spread very fast through social media as well, do try your best to get your "likes" and "re-tweets". The more people approve your bodyshop online, the easier it will be to attract new customers.

Social media

5 Strategies for Social Media Marketing for Auto Body Shops

Social media

 

Social media is changing the way marketing
works for most businesses. Car refinishers have a lot to benefit from social
media marketing. Have you thought of incorporating it in your marketing
strategy? Social media can help you promote your business, while at the same
time interacting with your customers and getting feedback from them. With most
advertising methods being far too expensive for some businesses, it is a cheap
way to get your message across to a large number of people.

 

  • Share content that matters with your customers

Facebook, YouTube
and Twitter, being the most popular
social networking platforms, with a great deal of potential customers, are one
of the first places businesses should have an online presence.  Business profiles should be attractive and
show exactly what your business has to offer, such as services and products.

  Social media 1

Car refinishers, for instance can use these
networks, not just to post general content, which usually doesn’t interest your
customers, but to provide them with information about your business. Special
tips regarding cars or repairs, how-to videos and photos of your business in
action, are the things that really matter. Also, these profiles can be a great
place for answering questions customers might have or responding to comments
and they can also help you get feedback from your customers and find ways to
make your services and products even better.

 

  • Get reviews that speak for you

Foursquare 1

Foursquare, which is a location based social network, is
a great place car professionals can promote their services. The customers which
are close to your business can be notified of special offers and sales, and it
is also a good opportunity for customers to view reviews and comments from other
users, who have visited your bodyshop and are satisfied with your services.

 

  • Show off your work.

Flickr

Flickr is a great photo sharing platform which
allows you to show off your finest work. 
You can post before and after photos of car refinishing, repairs or your
products, so customers can see for themselves what you do. This is the easiest
way to show the world just how good you are at your job. Classic example of "before" and "after" jobs easily visualize completed collision repair operations.

 

  • Track down the competition

LinkedIn 1

Linkedin is also a platform that every business should
take into consideration, because it allows you to make connections and view the
competition, see what other car refinishers are doing in terms of service,
products as well as marketing techniques. It helps you stay ahead and have a
strictly professional profile that informs people from automotive body repair industry.

 

  • Get the most out of Social Media

In order for all these techniques to work for
your business, you have to learn how to use them. The key to becoming popular
on social media is interacting with
your customers. Always provide them with interesting and helpful information
and respond to anything they say. Try to become the “expert” and you will see
people lining up to take your advice and come use your services. Don’t forget
that all these social media accounts should be integrated into your website and
easy to find. If you follow these steps, you’ll see the benefits of social
media in no time.

 
Social-media 2

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