Did you know that companies lose $136.8 billion each year due to customers switching to their competitors?
Even if you succeed at drawing in new business to your auto shop every day, missing out on repeat customers can seriously impact your bottom line. Think about how much money you could lose by simply failing to bring existing customers back to your auto service shop the next time they need an oil change or repair.
According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. In other words, if you haven’t thought about customer retention for your auto service shop before, now is the time!
Customer retention involves a wide range of actions taken to keep customers for the long term by transforming them into loyal buyers. Your ultimate goal with any customer retention strategy for your auto service shop should be to turn first-time customers into repeat customers for life.
The best time to focus on customer retention is after your auto service shop is well-established in your community. While it’s always great to get
repeat customers, especially in your business’s early days, it will play a major role in your future success after you’ve already laid the early marketing
groundwork. Once you know you can keep acquiring new customers, bringing those previous customers back to your shop is a great way of ensuring your business thrives.
Any time a new or returning customer comes into your auto service shop, offer them the opportunity to create their own account with you. This account can be used to track the work you’ve done on their vehicle, as well as the last time they had an oil change so they can be reminded when it’s time for another. This is also a great way to capture email addresses and ensure your information is up to date. You can use a CRM system for this if your workshop doesn't have a customer database yet.
Customer accounts also speed up your customer service process. Remember: 69% of customers in the US say that quality customer service
influences their loyalty to a company. Since all of their information is kept on file in their account, you won’t have to ask for their details every time
they visit your shop, allowing you to focus on building a relationship with them. Plus, customer accounts are the foundation of any good customer loyalty
program – a fantastic tool for customer retention which we’ll discuss later.
Creating content to send out to your customers over your social media platforms or email lists is an extremely cost-effective customer retention strategy. Any time your customers open up their inboxes or scroll through Facebook, they can see your newsletter or blog and remember the great experience they had with you.
Anything that helps you stay fresh in your customers minds is a big win in the auto service industry. Your blog posts and newsletters can be simple “what we’re up to this week” stories, or can provide important information about the services you offer. The next time they need an oil change or repair, you’ll be the first shop they think of.
You can also use customer account data to send automated reminders such as oil change reminders which are both useful to your customers and a positive reminder of your business relationship with them.
Rewarding your loyal customers is one of the strongest customer retention strategies out there. By creating a loyalty program, you can increase their purchase frequency because they’ll be more motivated to visit your shop again in the future and earn valuable rewards.
Some of the best customer loyalty techniques for auto service shops include:
You’ll never know how to improve your business if you don’t know how your previous customers feel about it. That’s why you need to create a process for obtaining customer feedback, be it a survey on your website, social media post engagement, or encouraging reviews on Google.
After you’ve gotten plenty of feedback, analyze your results. Identify trends in your customers’ responses to learn what they like most about your service and the areas you need to improve upon. Then, you should be able to better target those previous customers by subtly highlighting changes and improvements to your shop in your marketing strategies.
At Castrol, we believe customer retention is one of the best ways auto service shops can stay profitable and busy year-round. We want you to get the maximum benefit from all of your marketing efforts, no matter what! If you liked these simple customer retention strategies, check out the Castrol Insider resource hub for more useful guides and info to keep your business ahead of the curve!