The fact is, some drivers will merely complain about gas prices, many will drive less, others will be interested in learning what repairs will make their vehicles more fuel-efficient, and some may, unfortunately, curtail spending for vehicle repairs in an effort to offset fuel prices’ strain on their wallets.
So, now more than ever, you need to keep your shop and its services top of mind with your customers.
Take the example of John Volz, co-owner of Volz Bros. Auto Service in Grass Valley, CA, and a new member of the ImportCar Editorial Advisory Board, who keeps his shop top of mind, with both customers and prospects, through a variety of brand-building efforts, which he explains “help create a road map of who you are and where you are going.”
One brand-building tool utilized by the shop is the Volz Bros.’ 2010 Subaru Outback, which Volz says is creating quite a “buzz” with its cool graphics, shop name and a supplier logo to create interest. The Outback also serves as Volz’s daily driver and a means to provide short-distance transit for customers.
Volz also donates $500 every month to local causes as part of how the shop does business. “Now is the time to step things up because customers need us now more than ever,” remarks Volz.
Under the theme of “What Goes Around Comes Around,” Volz’s giving-back program for April was a t-shirt promotion, whereby all donations that are collected (local business donors’ names are printed on the back of the shirts) are given to a local charity for young girls, the “Friendship Club.”
Volz says that by consistently “giving back,” he is able to make more of an impact in the community. “It’s just like working out; if you do it once-in-a-while, the results vary, but by doing it with a plan, the results are more apparent,” he explains.
And with the residents of small communities being interconnected, giving back prompts word-of-mouth referrals and builds recognition for his shop, in sometimes surprising ways. When Volz made a recent donation to the local animal shelter, he received a nice note from a very good client, who he didn’t know was on the animal shelter’s board of directors. Who couldn’t use a little “bonus” publicity these days?