Research conducted among our readership indicates that only about half of you have a shop website.
For those of you who haven’t unleashed the power of the Internet as a shop tool, what are you waiting for? You already know that it’s an easy, fast way to find the information and answers you need to help you do your job, but it also can be an ideal conduit to connect with customers and prospects. And, it allows them to come to you when it’s convenient for them, and as often as they’d like.
With the goal of providing you with ideas to create a content-rich, effective, user-friendly website, Babcox Research asked a sample of shop owner readers for their input on the topic. Some of those responses are listed below.
10 “Must-have” Features of a Shop Website
1. Service specialties. Use the web as a “billboard” to advertise the repairs offered by your shop, highlighting those services in which you specialize.
2. Ability to make appointments. Customers with busy schedules can log onto your website after hours to quickly, easily and conveniently schedule a repair.
3. Photos of shop/staff. A picture is worth a thousand words, and, in this case, they can be the determinant of whether a prospective customer will give your shop a chance. If they like what they see, you may attract a new customer in an instant.
4. Professionalism. Announce your technicians’ qualifications. Promote their ASE certifications. Identify special tools and equipment that allows your techs to diagnose vehicle problems and do the job right the first time.
5. Hours/days of operation, directions. Make it easy for your customers to know the details about your business and how to get there.
6. Coupons/service specials. Your website can be the perfect platform to advertise seasonal specials, run coupons and get the word out that you are working hard to earn your customers’ repeat business.
7. Community involvement. Detail the ways you’ve reached out to others and are “giving back” to the community in which your shop operates. Our business is a “people” business in more ways than one and consumers tend to do business with people they know and trust.
8. Seasonal maintenance tips. Complement shop-specific information with vehicle-related information that will help educate customers and position your shop as an “expert” place to do business.
9. Customer appreciation letters. If you collect comments from satisfied customers, use these word-of-mouth referrals as another way to extend your message.
10. Question and answer feature. Your website can host a forum where you can provide answers to customers’ questions for the benefit of all visitors to your website. This section of your website can also feature a shop owner blog/opinion section.
If you have any ideas you would like to offer, just send me an e-mail and we’ll add them to our listing on the website.