Are you paid for quality repairs?
A few months ago, I was invited by several clients to join a Facebook group of shop owners. The discussions cover every topic under the sun when it comes to owning and managing a shop. A common theme—especially among the younger shop owners—is regarding the quality of workmanship and how that should bring customers in. In response to one of my posts, one new owner said, “Isn’t it just about doing quality work and making money? It can’t be that complicated.” When asked if his shop consistently does good work he said yes, and when asked if he was making money he said no.
Customers look for quality repairs
My reply to him was that there isn’t a vehicle owner out there that is looking for mediocre workmanship. They all expect that their vehicle is going to be repaired correctly. We would never allow a child to be operated on by a mediocre surgeon. Why would quality car repairs differentiate you from any other shop in the customer’s mind? Quality repairs in the customer’s mind are one of the lowest common denominators. The disconnect happens in the shop owner’s mind when they compare themselves to shops they know are not doing a very good job, and it seems like all the cheap customers are attracted to those shops. So we think, if we consistently do good work, we will attract the better customers. Because we see this from the inside of the industry, we get the logic backwards.
If a warranty does come in, treat it like a priority. Handling warranty well is the best way to demonstrate you do quality work.
Let’s try to put ourselves in the driving public’s shoes. We know nothing about cars and our vehicle develops a noise. We are on a tight budget, so we begin to phone around to find out who is the cheapest shop. As a consumer, we also use the wrong logic to make our decision. For instance, we can buy a can of “noname” brand tuna for $2.00, or buy a “name” brand for $4.00. In our mind, they both make a tuna sandwich. The only reason to buy the name brand is familiarity or our perception that it is better quality. For many of us, $2.00 tuna is good enough. When it comes to vehicle repairs, the cheapest is rarely good enough!
A few suggestions
Here are some ways to differentiate yourself from your competition that will exceed your customers’ expectations but don’t involve lowering your price.
1. Listen carefully to their concerns regarding their vehicle. You will end up with a better quality result because you are working with them.
2. Under-promise and over-deliver on two fronts—A) Always ensure that their final invoice is less than the estimate you gave them, and B) Always ensure their vehicle is completed before you promised, or have transportation options available if something goes wrong.
3. Ensure that you explain and demonstrate the quality of your work, and make sure you add at least a 20,000 km or 12-month warranty on everything you do. And if a warranty does come in, treat it like a priority. Handling warranty well is the best way to demonstrate you do quality work.