What Customers Want In Auto Repair Shops (Tips & Consumer Trends)
The success of your auto repair shop depends on your customers. As an auto shop owner, it isn't enough to only offer effective repair services and competitive prices.
To ensure your business grows its value in the auto shop market, you must sell the ultimate customer experience and satisfaction that your customers cannot get anywhere else.
Customers have high expectations of auto shops that they trust, and an inability to meet them is a deal-breaker. To offer a better customer experience than your competition, you must offer your clients what they need.
Below, we have highlighted features customers want in an auto shop and how to implement them.
Customers And The Auto Shop Business
When choosing an auto repair shop to trust with their car servicing or repair, there are many factors customers look out for. Years ago, the most important factors would have been prices and quality of services.
However, if you ask any car owner today, they will undoubtedly mention factors like a better customer experience, satisfaction, and a knowledgeable establishment run by experts.
From an auto shop owner’s point of view, nothing can be more important than great work done at affordable prices. After all, customers tend to appreciate the more affordable yet valuable things in life. Surprisingly, this is not the case for many clients today.
The auto repair business is not what it used to be. Gone are those days when a mechanic’s shop was a greasy, dim building with nothing but a large space where cars were parked and worked on.
Today, the auto shop business has changed so drastically that it is almost a polar version of what the auto shop business looked like some 20 to 30 years ago.
As technology and the years advanced, so did cars and auto repair shops. Now, car owners are more modern and have specific requirements that must be fulfilled when choosing an auto repair shop to go to for regular car services.
From how the building looks to the services and personalization of these services, customers have several ‘wants’ and expectations of what the auto repair shop they patronize should look or feel like.
Auto repair shop owners are catching on to the changes in their customers’ tastes. As a result, auto shops worldwide implement several strategies and outfit their establishment with features customers expect to see. They do this in the hope of attracting clients and having the edge over their competition.
Outdoing the competition in an auto shop business is essential because the competition is higher than it had ever been before. As of 2022, there are 278,075 Auto Mechanics businesses in the US. This is following a notable 1.3% increase in 2021.
And the numbers are expected to increase over the years. More competition means you have more auto shops to compete with for clients and, essentially, profit. You can either fight back or risk folding up and closing your business.
One way to ensure you stay ahead of the competition is to pay attention to the constantly shifting customer trends. Knowing what customers are looking for and implementing your findings in your business will help you continuously attract customers.
This will keep your auto shop relevant and help you maintain a healthy stream of clients and better revenue from the competition down the street.
What Customers Want In An Auto Repair Shop
Every client is unique, but they all have one thing in common when choosing an auto shop. Clients want an exceptional customer experience, or they will be forced to go elsewhere.
With the surge in auto shop competition, losing customers is something you cannot afford to do. Other than the craving for satisfaction, customers also need an auto shop they can trust.
From the second they walk through your doors, you must show your customers that you offer the full-package customer experience. You want to show them that you can stand out from every other auto shop and will leave them very satisfied.
You want to show them that you know what they need, and you have gone through painstaking efforts to ensure they get it because you value them. However, to do this, you first need to know what they want.
To help, we have provided all you need to know about what every auto shop client wants in an auto shop.
1. A Warm Welcome
Contrary to popular opinion, going straight to the point is not always an excellent idea. Every car owner has gone through the typical mechanic visit procedure.
They drive their car into the garage, quickly tell the mechanic what they need, and leave when it's done. While this sounds like a practical procedure, it isn't always the best way to treat your clients.
Car owners today crave excellent customer service. Sure thing, they also want to get their car problem fixed. However, they want this problem fixed and an unbeatable customer experience. One way they expect this is with a warm welcome.
Customers love auto shops where their presence is acknowledged. While you do not exactly have to roll out a red carpet, clients still expect to feel special. If you have not integrated a warm welcome into your auto shop services, you should. This is a great first step to customer satisfaction and setting your business apart from your competition.
When clients walk into your auto shop, train your employees to approach and greet them immediately. Words like “Hello! How are you doing today?” before asking questions like “What brings you to our shop today?” go a long way and work wonders over the more pointed “Hi, how may I help you?”.
Ask for their name and address them by it for a more personalized experience. Introduce them to the staff and show them around your establishment. Do not alienate them. Instead, lay out the welcome mat that instantly makes them feel comfortable.
2. A Comfortable Waiting Area
Imagine taking your car into an auto repair shop for a spark plug or thermostat replacement and waiting for what seems like hours on end in an uncomfortable waiting room. You will undoubtedly end up being disappointed, probably even angry enough to promise never to come back here.
It is easy to lose customers because you lack something as essential as a comfortable waiting room. In today's auto shop business, a basic waiting area with uncomfortable furniture, lousy lighting, and obsolete car magazines will not cut it.
Customers are more interested in satisfaction, convenience, and comfort, and a sub-par waiting room is an instant deal-breaker for many clients. Like other parts of your auto shop, the waiting area should be an important, well-thought-out area that should contribute to the consumer experience.
This means your waiting area should feature comfortable furniture, sufficient space away from service areas in the establishment, a good layout, themed decoration, snacks, and of course, a touch of digital technology.
Digital technology in a waiting room is a vital feature that customers look out for when visiting auto shops. It is the digital age, and digital technology in any auto shop is an instant bonus tip for customers.
One significant digital technology that is especially handy for auto shops is digital signage. Digital signage is electronic signage that uses digital screens like LCD and LED screens to display dynamic content like pictures, videos, texts, and live streams.
Digital signage is a powerful and versatile tool for any auto shop. It can be used as catchy outdoor signage to let passers-by know where your auto shop is located or indoor signage for various purposes like displaying waiting time, showing entertaining content, or even internal communications.
Although there are many digital signage solutions in the market today, few offer the versatility and digital efficiency necessary in auto shops like loop.
Loop TV is a free business digital signage solution that offers businesses like auto shops free entertainment and digital signage. With more than 145 fully licensed channels, you can never run out of movie trailers, music, videos, sports, and news channels to display to your clients in the waiting area.
Additionally, loop offers free digital signage that comes in handy for creating a custom picture, video, and text content. Customers want the ultimate waiting room experience, and loop TV offers one way to do so.
The right waiting room offers the ultimate customer experience.
Trust is necessary for many car owners looking for auto shops to handle their car service or repair needs. Unfortunately, honesty is not a priority in many auto shops, and car owners frequently find out- especially if they lack basic automotive knowledge- that the services they overpaid for could have been done elsewhere at a lower price.
Trust doesn't occur spontaneously. This is why customers today require auto shops that can be transparent and honest with them. Customers not only expect you to solve their vehicular problems but to ensure you offer a hands-on walkthrough of the repair or replacement process with them.
With the ability to monitor every process openly and witness no gaps or needs for unexplained purchases, they begin to trust you, your workers, and establishment more.
Transparency in your auto shop reiterates your high integrity. It shows your clients that you are different from other auto shops, and you value your relationship with them.
There are several ways you can be transparent with your clients and motivate them to create a trusting relationship with you and your shop. Some ways you can do this include:
- Carry out a complete and transparent inspection, ensuring that you carry them along
- Use digital auto repair service and management software. This will ensure that your client can track your performances, prices, results, and other important metrics that help them measure the quality of your service.
- Remember to update them on all repairs done on their cars
- Easily accessible schedule
4. High-Quality Services
Car owners today expect a high degree of operational efficiency from auto shops. They are partial to shops that offer quick services, low wait times, and long-term solutions to their car problems.
Customers want auto shops that offer excellent repair and maintenance services to keep their cars in great condition. They find these shops by checking certification, asking for recommendations, and even checking for reviews.
However, they do not fully trust the quality of your services until their first service with your shop. First impressions last a lifetime. This is why it is important to always put your best foot forward by offering unbeatable services and warranties to communicate how confident you are in your services.
A survey shows that customers are 63% more likely to trust brands with online reviews than brands with no reviews. Another report showed that 93% of customers say online reviews affect their purchasing decisions.
Car owners look out for positive reviews before trusting their vehicle with an auto shop. Reviews offer social proof that instantly increases a person’s trust level even before they try out your services.
Just as people check out restaurant reviews before trying out their dining, people also use your auto shop’s reviews as a yardstick to make a decision. It is essential to encourage clients to leave positive reviews on your website or social media pages for potential client's to see.
This offers credibility, fosters customer loyalty, and improves a client’s shopping experience.
6. Strong Online Presence
Social media has become a mainstream digital tool. In 2021, over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide. This number is projected to increase to almost six billion in 2027.
The popularization has changed social media so that it is no longer a medium of communication. Today, people use social media as a metric to gauge how trustworthy a business is. This is exactly why clients today want auto shops to have more online presence.
Gone were the days when word-of-mouth was sufficient for auto shops. Now, auto shops are using social media activity to build a larger platform and portfolio for themselves.
As with restaurants and cloth brands, car owners research auto shops before deciding to trust them for a service. They look at likes, comments, social media content, and reviews, and use these to determine if they should bring their cars to your garage or trust your competitor instead.
Having a strong online presence is vital even as a brick-and-mortar store. Encourage your clients and potential clients to engage you online. Create hashtags, link special offers to online activities as incentives, or even create a blog.
Tips To Get Customers To Visit Your Auto Shop
Clients will not materialize at your auto shop. To get them to trust your establishment, you first need to attract them. Some tips to help you do this include:
- Build a solid brand image
- Market your brand
- Be active in social media
- Offer incentives like free repair sessions to loyal customers, discounts, and seasonal maintenance packages
- Invest in digital repair and management software
- Customers are more likely to offer referrals if they are satisfied. Remember to offer the best services their money can buy
- Host free seminars on car maintenance
- Create a referral program with attractive rewards
- Encourage clients to write reviews
- Sign up for a loop TV media player
Offer The Ultimate Consumer Experience With Loop
Offering what your client wants in the best way to provide the ultimate customer experience in your auto shop. To do this, you need all the help you can get.
Loop TV offers auto shops around the world the opportunity to offer a level of customer satisfaction that they can otherwise dream of. With free access to more than 145 entertainment channels (like news, sports, fashion, and lifestyle channels) and an equally free access digital signage solution, you can create custom content to tailor your customer experience and offer satisfaction.
Loop TV is not only a notable solution for scaling your auto repair shop but also ensuring your finances are safe. Loop TV is a free business TV, meaning you get all services, including the media player, for free. However, loop TV also offers businesses a chance to make money by simply making use of their service.
Businesses that use loop TV can earn monthly rewards such as cash, prepaid Visa cards, gift cards, or charitable donations. The more you enjoy using the loop TV service, the more you earn.
To get started, sign up for a free media player on the official loop website.