Each year in January, AutoInc., the Automotive Service Association (ASA)’s magazine, selects its annual “Top 10 Automotive Repair Websites.”
The list is a great guide to help shop owners understand the capabilities of the Internet in the automotive repair industry. I like to include this news in TechShop because I think a shop’s website is an important tool you really should not be without. It could very well be the first impression a new/potential customer has of your shop. Critical to success today is a shop website that not only grabs the attention of would-be customers, but also gives them a snapshot of the services you provide, you and your team’s industry certifications and pricing.
“These ASA members (see list below) have demonstrated the importance of having a web presence to effectively compete in the digital age,” said Ron Pyle, ASA president and chief staff executive. “It is no longer acceptable to hope that customers will ‘find’ your business; you have to proactively promote yourself and these are excellent examples of cost-effective digital marketing.”
Uwe Kleinschmidt discusses this in his article “Improving Customer Service Beyond The Counter” in the January/February issue of Shop Owner magazine (a sister publication). Kleinschmidt, CEO of AutoVitals.com, said, “The Internet has forever changed how a motorist, searching for a solution to their problem, finds you. No longer do people let their ‘fingers do the walking’ in the phone book. Instead, they let their fingers do the typing, going to Google to search for auto repair shops in their area.”
“People today live in a different world,” said Joe Marconi, owner of Osceola Garage in Baldwin Place, NY. “They know they can go online and look at your website, services that you perform, years in business, location, etc.
“A nice presence on the web means a lot, particularly to the younger generation,” Marconi continued. He also said he works hard at search engine optimization to ensure his shop comes up first in web searches. (Read more on Marconi’s business philosphies here.)
If you don’t have a website yet, or if you’re looking to redesign one you built years ago and haven’t updated since, check out some of these sites below. Write down what you like about them, and what you want to incorporate in yours.
And don’t be afraid to keep it simple. Stick to just a few fonts, and reinforce your brand with your logo and a similar look tied into all of the pages. Remember, it also should be compatible with devices such as smartphones and tablets.
You might want to include a video clip of yourself expressing your shop’s commitment to quality service. You could also give a tour of your shop, introducing your service writer, managers and technicians along the way. And don’t forget testimonials from current clients that showcase the reasons why they feel confident taking their vehicle to your shop for quality repairs and top-notch customer service.
AutoInc.’s “Top 10 of 2012” (in alphabetical order):
Atlantic Motorcar, Wiscasset, ME, atlanticmotorcar.com
Clark’s Car Care, Naperville, IL, clarkscarcare.com
Dave’s Car Care, Glendale, AZ, davescarcareaz.com
Fix Auto Portland East, Portland, OR, fixautobodyportland.com
Hubbard Woods Motors, Winnetka, IL, hubbardwoodsmotors.com
Milstead Automotive, Spring, Texas, milsteadautomotive.com
Motor Works, DeKalb, IL, motorw.com
Precision Auto Repair, Pleasanton, CA, precisionautorepair.com
Robert’s Auto Repair, Monterey, CA, roberts-autorepair.com
Tony’s Service Center, Phoenix, AZ, tonysservicecenter.com.
Some of TechShop’s sister publications have run articles that might also be helpful: