Although it was never a good idea, taking your customers for granted is sure to be a death sentence if you want your business to survive in the years ahead. We can thank COVID-19 for reminding us all how quickly things can change, literally overnight.
The days of assuming customers love you, remember you and recommend you to friends and family are OVER. Many of them are scared, confused and broke. What are you doing to reassure them, educate them and support them in this new world?
In addition to fewer people on the roads, we’ve seen many other changes over the past year. Insurance carriers are dropping shops from their programs faster than ever before. More shops have jumped on the OE certification train, making it less exclusive than it once was. And consolidators haven’t taken their foot off the gas in expanding their market share.
Your customer base and your relationship with them is the key to your success. Sure, you have “the regulars” who have an accident every couple of years and always come back. But what about the customers who switch insurance companies and are now being told that choosing your shop will cost more money out of their pocket? Or their dealership suddenly says you aren’t “certified” to repair their type of vehicle? If you haven’t put the effort into building relationships that extend beyond your needs (getting paid), your market share will continue to erode until it’s all but dried up completely.
Satisfaction doesn’t equal loyalty
Delivering a great repair and an amazing experience are absolutely necessary, no question about it. But they’re still not enough to keep you from losing customers today. Only by remaining connected and extending your commitment can you expect to gain theirs.
Loyalty doesn’t come easy. A random email every quarter, or even every month, doesn’t say “I’m important” to your customers. They may have spent thousands of dollars at your shop. They want to know they are remembered, thought of and that their business is appreciated. In other words, your message needs to be about them, not you.
Invest, but not more than you need to
The only thing worse than struggling to get new customers is knowing that your past customers have gone somewhere else. You made the effort, got the customer and now you lost them. This is money directly out of your pocket. Now the cycle begins again, and we all know, it’s a lot harder (and more expensive!) to get new customers than keeping old ones.
Nurturing your relationships is not about immediate gain. It’s about building a security fence around your customers before they become someone else’s. With that said, are you investing enough in your relationships?
What should you do?
Now that I have your attention, it’s not too late to fix it.
Your strategy to keep customers at your side and motivate them to keep coming back no matter what should rely on:
As you might have guessed, emailing an occasional newsletter or sending a random text months after their repair won’t yield the same results as a personal message individually addressed to each past customer. If you don’t commit to personally staying in touch with your customer base, chances are they won’t remain your customers for long. Are you willing to take that chance?
Let PSG help
Although the thought of developing an effective retention strategy might sound overwhelming, you know, with all that spare time you have, thankfully help is available. With decades of collision industry specific knowledge, research and expertise, Phoenix Solutions can develop, implement and execute a plan that meets the needs of your business and the demands of your market.
With the PSG team by your side, you will maximize the ROI potential of every customer and keep them your customers.