Continuing last month’s discussion with ImportCar shop owner readers offering advice on shop visibility and customer retention, John Volz, co-owner, Volz Bros., Grass Valley, CA, says he focuses on shop upgrades, image, marketing efforts and community outreach because he knows well that first impressions run deep in attracting and keeping customers.
“In the past two years, we have committed to improving our facility,” says Volz. “This has consisted of painting the outside of our building, as well as remodeling the office and customer bathrooms. In addition, we created new signs, a new logo and a new website. These are all good improvements that will help market our business, as well as attract new external customers.
“Our waiting room looks nothing like the typical auto repair shop, with warm colors, new furniture and walls that are accented with an art gallery featuring our own customers’ work; it rivals most doctor’s offices in the area,” Volz continues. “It’s cleaned weekly and features a coffee bar, as well as fresh magazines that appeal to our clients. Our shop is state-of-the-art and is kept extremely clean. Our new look gets constant comments from both new and long-term customers.
“We will continue our shop-branding program that focuses on ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do,’ staying away from the traditional bait-and-switch price-conscious ads that are so standard in the industry. And we’re rolling out a new series of ads (included above), as well as continuing with our ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ program, where we will end the year with more than $20,000 given back to the community. I’m also working on some classes on basic car repair that I hope to teach. We may tie this into our giving program and do some ‘Complete Make-over’ cars and donate 100% of the repairs to someone in need.”
Bottom line: As you plan for 2012, take a look at your shop’s appearance through the eyes of your customers. Look at the overall impression your customers get as they enter your business, and interact with your staff throughout the entire service experience.