Editor’S Notebook: Appreciate Your Customers and Your Payback Will Be Lasting Loyalty

Editor’S Notebook: Appreciate Your Customers and Your Payback Will Be Lasting Loyalty

With April’s National Car Care month being right around the corner, you’ve hopefully put a plan in place to tie into this national event — one that’s sure to showcase your shop as an expert in automotive service and repair, as well as contribute to the safe-running operation of your customers’ vehicles.

There are many ways to build on the momentum of the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign, the consumer-targeted marketing campaign that aims to build knowledge and awareness of vehicle safety, dependability and pride of ownership, and the benefits of proper vehicle care, maintenance and repair.

For example, you could host a car care vehicle fair that offers free vehicle checkups to consumers in designated vehicle inspection lanes manned by technicians and auto vo-tech students. You could rally the support of area retailers, local radio and TV stations, community civic groups and other organizations.

You might also consider hanging a Car Care Month banner in a bay to pique customer interest and show support for this industry initiative. And, you can give the new Car Care Guide (that offers valuable information on how consumers can maintain their vehicle for increased safety, dependability and value) to customers when they bring their vehicles in for repair. [Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council, wrote a guest column in February ImportCar, pages 6 and 8, that provides additional details.]

Even though you’d be providing customers with a ton of value by offering free vehicle inspections that help identify systems that need attention (like dirty engine oil) or damaged parts that need to be replaced (like worn belts and hoses, and clogged filters), you might want to kick things up a notch by tying in a “Customer Appreciation Week” sometime during April’s National Car Care Month.

Show your customers you appreciate their business, and over-deliver on their expectations, by giving them something they could use — like a gift card to a local coffee shop, oil change certificates for a free oil change or tire rotation (which will also bring them back for service), or a coupon for a free car wash.

These are things that cost your shop relatively little to implement, but have a positive, lasting impact on customers. And, when they come in to redeem these certificates, it’s a good time to schedule an appointment for any necessary repairs that were uncovered during your car care/vehicle inspection fair.

One business imperative you can’t afford to overlook is the effort you make in retaining customers. The extra steps you take to ensure customer satisfaction is added assurance that you will earn their long-time loyalty, respect and trust.

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