Editor’s Notebook: First Impressions Really Do Count – UnderhoodService

Editor’s Notebook: First Impressions Really Do Count

Continuing recent discussions with ImportCar shop owner readers extolling the benefits of shop image as it relates to attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, Frank Scandura, owner of Frank's Mercedes Service, with locations in Henderson and Las Vegas, NV, says that his customers are catered to even before any work is done on their vehicle.

customer waiting/lounge area at frank’s mercedes service henderson, nv, shop.

Continuing recent discussions with ImportCar shop owner readers extolling the benefits of shop image as it relates to attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, Frank Scandura, owner of Frank’s Mercedes Service, with locations in Henderson and Las Vegas, NV, says that his customers are catered to even before any work is done on their vehicle.

“Customers are at ease when they walk into a professionally decorated and clean lounge area. At times, we will walk a customer through the shop so we can show them what we’re working on, the clean environment is noticed and I’m sure it comes up in conversation when they talk about us,” remarks Scandura. “We’ve had customers tell us that our waiting area looks better than the dealerships in town. That’s very nice to hear. I try to model my business after what I think a customer would expect at the dealership, and then over-deliver. That alone separates us from other independent repair shops.”

Scandura is also diligent about booking a reasonable number of cars per day, as a means to ensure customer satisfaction. “When you’re over-booked you’re under-delivering. One slight disappointment equals a customer not returning,” he explains.

But, when customers are totally satisfied with their vehicle repair experience, they tell others, as Frank’s Mercedes Service knows all too well with it benefitting from word-of-mouth ­advertising in a big way. “We send an e-mail to all customers after a service visit and ask them to review us. That lets me know how we’re doing.

“I believe if we’re not getting large amounts of referrals from our existing customers, we’re doing something wrong,” Scandura explains. “I also believe our advertising will start conversations that lead to someone saying ‘Sure, I’ve heard of Frank’s Mercedes Service, they do good work.’ We also use direct mail, billboards, radio and print. Social media is next.”

And, then there are all those little extras that really add up in the customer satisfaction department. “We give all customers a free oil change for every referral,” he says. “We hand-wash every car, install seat covers and floor mats, verify all repairs and offer a three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Plus, we provide free WiFi, complimentary soda, water or coffee, and complimentary shuttle service without mileage limits.

“We’ve all heard the phrase ‘no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’ When you really care (I mean really care), your customers will trust you, and when they trust you, they will purchase from you and tell their friends.”

What are you doing at your shop that will make first-time customers stop and reflect that their decision to bring their vehicle to your shop, is one of the best decisions they’ve ever made?

 

 

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