Manage Customer Communications For Automotive Shops

How To Manage Customer Communications For Your Automotive Shop

Like any business that relies on repeat customers for growth, auto repair shops need to make customers happy. The best way to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction and inspire loyalty is through excellent customer service. The average age of cars on the road today is a record-breaking 11.5 years. People are keeping their cars longer, and that means more maintenance. 

Today’s fast-paced world runs on communications. Automotive businesses that adopt modern methods of customer communications are in a better position to build a trustworthy brand.

Are you ready for a surprise? Aside from oil changes, younger millennials are more likely than any other age group to get their cars serviced. 

So how can automotive businesses serve all their customers as well as they service their cars? Here are 7 effective ways to reach out to your customers, expand your customer base, and watch your competition eat your dust.

auto industry review statistics

How To Communicate With Your Auto Customers

  1. Text Messaging
  2. Voicemail and Calls
  3. Email
  4. Social Media
  5. Chat with customers on your website
  6. Gaining word of mouth reviews
  7. Listen to your customers

1. Text Messaging With Customers

Broadly Mobile Text MessagingWay too many auto repair shops still rely strictly on phone calls to schedule service, check on cars in the shop, and get answers to questions. Everybody hates sitting on hold. You can do better. Everybody under the age of 35 has technology in the palms of their hands and they have adopted new rules and preferences in response. They want information right now, and they don’t want to broadcast their business to the world around them. 

Text messaging is fast, silent, and efficient. In seconds, your service rep can send an update, answer a question, and even take a photo of a gunky air filter to show the customer how badly it needs to be changed.

Text messaging doesn’t only appeal to young people. On average, 98% of mobile users say they’ll read a branded or business-based text message, and 54% actively respond.

2. Phone Calls & Voicemails

Voice could make a comeback. Hyper-connected young consumers permanently attached to cell phones from birth are going to be your biggest customer base sooner than you think. By 2020, Gen Z will be 40% of the population, and they hold $140 billion in spending power. 

Gen Z customers are more likely to click-to-call a business from their mobile phone than any other generation, but they are also 60% more likely to hang up if the call isn’t answered in 45 seconds, and 30% more likely to curse at you if you don’t satisfy their needs. The bottom line: modern consumers demand fast, responsive customer service, and they expect you to deliver.

If you can’t answer in person, set up a professional voicemail greeting, and then return calls as quickly as you can.

3. Email Customer Communication

Make your emails personal. Customers don’t want a million sales emails, but they do want to hear about the important stuff – like recalls on their cars and when they’re due for an oil change. Use your customer data to send the right message at the right time. For example, most customers need an oil change every six months, so it makes sense to send an email to remind them, upsell with a special offer on full-service maintenance, and include a one-click link for scheduling a service appointment.

If you’ve really got a handle on your customer data, you can even send out personal messages about interests. An email at the start of football season advertising accessories featuring their favorite team or tie-in with a special perk or discount if their team wins might bring them into your shop. Or how about the news of a local classic car rally for fans?

To save time, you can set up email templates for specific types of emails, like welcome, thank you for your business, service reminder, and more.

4. Social Media

Monitor social media. Customers may reach out on any channel where they can find you. Post fresh, informative, and interesting content to keep customers engaged, and answer any questions or comments they make. Since you’re in the automotive business, posting car-related pictures and videos is a natural choice, and a good way to earn social shares. Everybody loves cars! Being interesting on social media is a great way to expand your audience, engage your customers, and build your brand. 

Facebook is a powerful social media platform and a good fit for a small business. Set up a professional Facebook page, and start building an audience by adding links to your social media on your website and by reaching out to your local audience. Facebook is also the ideal place to earn customer reviews and personal referrals. Here’s how to ask for reviews on Facebook.

Regardless of how you communicate, making a personal connection is key. Encourage your employees to be friendly and chatty, and keep track of personal details representatives can mention in the future.

5. Chat With Customers On Your Website 

Auto Shop Webchat Tool

Customers have questions. You have answers. Your website is the perfect place to inform customers about everything they want to know. Start with installing a webchat. Being greeted by a live person who can answer questions, check service and maintenance records, and schedule appointments is a homey convenience that customers love.

Build an impressive knowledge base on your blog. Providing the best answers moves you closer to the first page of the search results.

6. Gaining Word of Mouth Reviews

Auto Shop Customer Communication

For local businesses, word of mouth is solid gold. 92% of consumers check out customer referrals before purchasing, and 60% of them find those reviews on Google. If you want to build trust, there’s no better way. 

Sign up for sites like Google My Business, Nextdoor, and Yelp where customers can leave reviews, and then use Broadly’s review platform to make it easy for your customers to recommend your business. Potential customers are more likely to trust personal recommendations than ads, celebrity endorsements, or influencers.

It’s important to respond to every review. Negative reviews should be handled carefully, with the goal of making the customer happy. It might help to set up email response templates designed to thank customers, ask for additional information, or diffuse an angry customer with a positive, helpful attitude.

Pro tip: Timing is everything. Cars.com reported that more than half (52%) of all dealer reviews are left between 10 am and 4 pm ET, with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday being the days shoppers most frequently write reviews. You might be more successful at getting a review by asking at the right time.

7. Listen To Your Customers

Communication is a two-way street. Once you’ve established open lines of communication, hear what they are saying…and make changes accordingly. Put your feedback to work. If the majority of your customers want you to stay open a bit later, offer additional services, or post your prices, it’s definitely worth considering. 

Find out what your customers do like and double down. Find out what they don’t like and change it. Then let everybody know about your improvements by text, email, or social media.

It’s not easy to stand out, and you’re busy. So you need tools to help you automate your customer communications, follow up on hot leads, and build customer loyalty. Customers who feel valued will keep coming back and will recommend you to their friends. Contact Broadly today to maximize your communications and build your customer reviews…and with it, your brand.

Guide To Marketing Your Plumbing Business

Guide To Marketing Your Plumbing Business

Your marketing strategies need to ensure your plumbing company gets noticed by today’s consumers. When in need of plumbing expertise, most people will turn straight to Google and search “ plumber near me”. Our plumbing marketing guide will help your small business to get to the front page of the search results. 

Here’s a step-by-step plumber marketing strategy: 

Step 1: Define your unique selling proposition (USP)

Step 2: Optimize your website for SEO

Step 3: Get customer reviews

Step 4: Maximize online presence 

Step 5: Neighborhood marketing

Get More Plumbing Customers Now

Step 1: Define Your Unique Selling Proposition

To be successful you need to offer something special. Your unique selling proposition (USP) could be in any aspect of the business. Some plumbing business UPS examples are:

  • Reliability guarantee
  • Qualified local expert
  • Gas safe registered
  • Discount for elderly or military (or whatever your favored group is)
  • 1 hour response time
  • Specialists in kitchen and bathroom fitting
  • Drainage specialist
  • No call out charge
  • Free consultation/estimate
  • 18 month guarantee on all work
  • Plumbing service specialist branding
  • No job too big or too small

Once you’ve identified your unique selling points you can center your marketing around your specialty.

Step 2: Optimize Your Website For SEO 

local plumber seo tips

Your website design needs to be visually pleasing as well as functional. Each page must be user-friendly with clear headings and page links so customers can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

To add value to your website and keep those plumbing leads coming in, here are a few more tips for optimizing your site.

Local SEO Tips For Plumbers

Beefing up your local SEO isn’t that tricky. You start by including your city name on your website and in your blog posts. If you have several service areas you may need different landing pages for each one.

In addition, you want to claim your local business listings on Google My Business, Yelp, the Yellow Pages, and any other directory or review style page where your business name might show up. Make sure the information is complete and correct, and address any comments or complaints quickly and thoroughly.

Boosting your SEO also means writing content that focuses on the services you provide in your area. An example blog post topic could be “8 Tips To Keep Your Pipes From Freezing in Chicago”. If your writing is good, solid content, you should be including these keywords naturally, but it can’t hurt to do a little keyword research to be sure.

Create A Company Blog

Much of online marketing is inbound, which simply means customers come to you. Filling a blog is a simple way of adding relevant content. How do you know what to blog? Think about what your customers ask you, and make each blog an answer to a question, a helpful, actionable suggestion, or a case study about something that happened – the more interesting the better!

DIY advice, for example, shows you’re willing to help the customer save money. Consider a series of short how-to videos to provide regular updates and keep interest levels high. Homeowners have all kinds of questions about everyday problems, like how to unclog sinks, what to do during a freeze, or what kind of plunger is most effective. If you’re their go-to for sound advice, you’ll be their go-to when they want to hire a plumber.

Use Web Chat On Your Site

One of the most important features of a great business website is web chat. Having a customer service agent available to immediately respond to questions shows a commitment to great customer service and increases customer satisfaction levels. Most people prefer web chat over any other communication method for problem solving.

Try Webchat In Your Plumbing Business

A member of your service team can do the following with webchat:

  • Immediately interact with and welcome a customer
  • Engage with the client and create a personal rapport
  • Point them in the direction of information
  • Answer simple questions in real time
  • Share videos and links relevant to the customer
  • Create appointments
  • Offer expert advice
  • Ask for an online review
  • Increase your conversion rate

Having webchat increases your chance of connecting with- and keeping – new customers.

Step 3: Ask For Reviews

Ask for plumbing customers for reviews

As plumbers, customer reviews are an important part of your reputation. Since partnering with Broadly, Burkell Plumbing Heating & Cooling has gained 181 reviews and a 20% increase in annual revenue!

Potential clients will read many reviews before deciding to trust you with their work. Even in emergency situations, people will ask for recommendations from their friends, often on social media. A satisfied customer will pass on their story of great customer service.

Inviting every client to provide you feedback on your service should be standard practice. With consumers relying heavily on reviews to find local services, it’s imperative that you have a steady stream of new reviews on your online profiles i.e. Google, Facebook and Yelp. Reviews are personal endorsements and providing a simple way to collect stories from your customers highlighting your company helps you stand out and attract new clients. 

Invitations to review immediately upon completion of the work are crucial. When the client has contacted you to receive email or text messages, you can request them to leave a review shortly after the service is completed. Adding the link to emailed invoices and receipts is typical.

Get More Reviews From Customers

Step 4: Build Your Customer Base With Social Media

Plumber social media tips

Word of mouth is a powerful incentive. When you need to spread the word locally, social media marketing is both cheap and effective. Over 40% of digital consumers use social networks to research new brands or products.

Linking your website and blog to various social media platforms makes it simple for customers to share information. Use your social media accounts to post new content, offer advice, share photos of work you’ve done, and ask happy customers to leave reviews on your site.

Online Plumbing forums are another great way of interacting with potential customers. Search for topics and get involved in the conversations. Adding relevant advice with a link to your business gets your name recognized and shows that you are knowledgeable and want to help.

Pay-per-lead sites, like HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List, also generate potential clients. These are a great way to fill holes in your booking calendar. Any response given on these sites should link to your review pages.

Be an active contributor to online discussions. Responding to comments left on your page shows people that you value their input. Keeping comments professional, friendly, relevant and helpful will raise your online profile. Local people will find you approachable.

Step 5: Community Marketing

Community Marketing for Plumbers

There’s nothing more effective for a local brick-and-mortar business than getting involved in the community. 

Be Socially Responsible

Join community events, get involved in local charity drives, sponsor a local team, and make social contacts with your community. Consumers are 64% more likely to recommend companies that are socially responsible.

While your motivation to do good should not be to be seen, you WILL be seen. If there’s a local disaster and you send branded trucks out to help (for free), the social media goodwill will spread your brand far and wide. Show up for your community and they will show up for you. 

Use locally targeted paid advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – only seen by people in your local area – brings in twice or more revenue than it costs. Social media use search-based advertising. Anyone in your area using certain keywords, for example, “plumber” or “leak” will see your ad exactly when they need it.

Give away branded stuff

Handing out something useful and memorable that people are less likely to throw away helps keep your name where they can find it longer. Consider a “to-do” whiteboard or thermometer that sticks to the fridge, a coffee cup, a USB memory stick, or anything interesting you can brand with your business logo and contact information. Your customers will thank you, but more importantly, they will remember where they put your phone number.

Conclusion

As a plumbing business owner, you can and should take advantage of a combination of online and offline marketing strategies to grow your business and increase customer satisfaction. You have plenty of tools at your disposal to market your services and watch your business take off!

If you are looking for advice on getting the most out of your plumbing website, call us. We can help you generate new leads and make your business stand out as a leader in the industry.

Let Us Help You Grow Your Business

Local Business Customer Service Management

Customer Service Management For Local & Small Business Owners

Customer support is all about communication and customer satisfaction. To deliver the best possible customer service experience, you have to be responsive, helpful, and knowledgeable.

The demands on customer service representatives are varied. From product or brand questions during the buying decision to issues with goods already delivered.  Good customer service management requires rapid response and satisfactory answers. 

This means having an available help desk where customers want attention. In a 24/7 digital landscape, this can be tricky, for a small or local business. How many small businesses can afford a 24/7 contact center? 

We Help You Manage Your Customers

The answer is to make communications – and excellent customer service – as easy as possible for both you and your clients. Businesses that use several online and offline marketing methods have a 91% better year-over-year retention rate compared to businesses that don’t.

The primary channels where customer service communications are carried out have changed. Ten years ago, the answer was phone and web forms/email. Today, we have more effective omnichannel communications. We can communicate with customers in the way they feel most comfortable, provide better, more personal customer service, and build a solid reputation for customer care.

responding to customers

6 Effective Ways to Communicate With Customers

  1. Phone calls
  2. Text messaging
  3. Social media
  4. Web chats
  5. Email
  6. Engaging with customer reviews

Get More Customers Now

Small business owners often have to do many things at once, like providing customer care while doing fieldwork. Smartphones are a benefit to small businesses; a tiny, hand-held omnichannel communication center that allows you or your sales team to answer a phone call, text, or email and access customer information on the spot, all without breaking your workflow.

No matter how a customer contacts you, the faster you can respond, the more likely you are to boost customer satisfaction, close the sale, and retain the business. 

Quick response times are the biggest factor determining your customer service success.71% of customers who encounters great response time are recommending that specific brand to other people. People want answers NOW. Having to wait for responses leads to them taking their business elsewhere. Great customer service managers know that being available 24/7 is essential. 

Good Old Fashioned Phone Calls

There are instances where speaking on the phone is preferred. The older generation prefers to communicate this way. Some issues are best handled with a sympathetic voice. Physically hearing the words that their concerns are valid puts disgruntled customers at ease and very quickly defuses a tense situation. Taking the time to call a customer with a service resolution reaffirms that they and their business are important to your company.

Calling also offers a chance to ensure all needs are met. A personal touch leaves customers feeling satisfied that they’ve been heard and their issues resolved. Concluding a conversation with “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” gives the customer an opportunity to bring up any other questions or doubts they may have.

Broadly Mobile Text Messaging

Mobile Text Messaging

Text messaging is one of the greatest changes in customer engagement. It is now the #1 preferred form of communication. Follow up texts increase conversion rates. Three or more texts can increase conversion by more than 300%.

Open rates for text messages (98% open rate) are much higher than that of emails (20% open rate), and this directly corresponds to higher sales conversion rates. Customers want and appreciate updates and reminders via text. Appointment slots can be confirmed and new services advertised. 

Automated prompts send welcome texts. News, updates and offers sent to targeted customers inform them of business events, and personalized invitations using their name validates their knowledge that you care about them as an individual. 

When using the Broadly Mobile app you can speak directly to your customers when they want and how they want, using their favored platform, whether that’s text or email. All interaction is visible for every customer service agent to see in real-time. No delays mean no one is left out of the loop. If the agent the customer dealt with previously is busy, another agent can step in seamlessly without missing a thing. Faster response times mean problems get solved faster, which can increase customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty.

Start Texting With Customers Today

Web Chat Customer Service

Self-service is great, but when customers come to your website looking for answers, webchat delivers a more satisfying response than searching through an online knowledge base. Visitors get a friendly greeting and instant access to your complete knowledge base without the search delay. Your customer service agent is available precisely when the customer needs them, and customers love the instant response time. 

The immediate nature of web chat makes resolving customer issues extremely efficient. It’s easy for an agent to build rapport and make the customer feel valued. Encouraging yourself and your team to respond to customers who reach out via web chat as quickly as possible, within one minute, will ensure that your customer is satisfied. Broadly’s webchat service is one of our most popular features.

Email Customer Service

Using email is still a popular choice among all age groups. Marketing email headers must be personal, brief and to the point to encourage the click to open. 

Email campaigns targeted at select groups are straightforward to set up and simple to manage. 

Data collected from these campaigns show which leads are more likely to be converted to sales, so you can concentrate your energies where the best returns are found. 

It is essential that all email inquiries are met with a quick response. Delayed response times often end in the customer taking their business to your competitors. Give the customer control over which channels are used for replies by choosing phone, text or email. 

Email makes it simple to attach links and extra care can be applied for difficult situations. Webchat can be used in conjunction with email by sending the customer a copy of the conversation for future reference. 

Ask for Reviews

It is important that every time a sale is successfully concluded, an opportunity to submit a review of the product and service is offered. People take reviews very seriously and will read several review platforms before coming to a final decision to purchase. 

Reviews sway potential new customers, so you want your reviews to be positive. Prioritizing your customer service helps you secure top grade reviews. Any less than stellar reviews should be met with understanding and sympathy. Use these to improve your service procedures and let unhappy customers know you care so much you’ve changed the way you do things. 

Responding to reviews shows you care about the customer experience well beyond the close of the sale. 

Positive reviews are more convincing than anything you can say about yourself. Encouraging reviews is essential; you won’t get reviews unless you ask – and make it simple for them to answer. 

The best time to ask for a review is when your customer’s emotions are at their highest. Encourage your customers to provide feedback as soon as possible after a service is completed.

Following up within 24 hours will help increase your likelihood of a response and a review. Prompt them to take a moment to tell you how you did, and what you could do better. If they haven’t already signed up for emails and text communications, now is the time to ask them. Let them know they’re helping you out and that you greatly appreciate their time.

Broadly can help with gathering reviews from Google, Facebook, and other online sites, making it easy for you to monitor. We also make it easy for the customer to leave reviews with a one-click review system that’s simple and quick to use. 

We Can Get You More Reviews

Impact of Great Customer Service Management on Your Local Business

Impact of Great Customer Service Management on Your Local Business

Strong and healthy customer relationships are what all businesses strive for, and small and local businesses are particularly good at it. Gaining new customers and maintaining customer retention rates rely on the happiness of customers. Ensuring their experience with every team member is satisfactory – or better – creates loyal customers who return because they know your company values them on an individual level. 

If a customer has been left feeling less than satisfied, turn that into a teachable situation. Use the experience to further train your customer service team and work on improving interactions. A disgruntled customer can be won over with the knowledge that their misfortune has been used to ensure no one else ever has to deal with the same problem.

Excellent customer service adapts to meet customer needs

Communication between all members of the sales team, from initial contact right through to sales closure, is vital. Customer data and other relevant information must be available to anyone involved in customer interactions, at every stage. This provides quicker problem resolution and leaves the customer feeling supported. An outstanding customer service team known for excellent customer care is the most valuable asset any business could have. 

Take advantage of upsell opportunities

Customers who know they are valued are influenced by the agents they’ve formed a relationship with and are prime opportunities for upselling. A local bakery might ask, “And what else can I get you?” every time they fulfill an order. It’s easy for a customer to increase their order without seeming indecisive. The customer knows it’s acceptable to add more because it is expected that they’ll want more.

Upselling doesn’t mean trying to sell every customer the most expensive option. It’s about making sure all expectations are met, and offering further solutions where available. It’s an opportunity to make sure the customer is not only satisfied but delighted with the products and services they have received. The opportunity to increase the sale value then benefits both the company and the customer. 

Customer service management is evolving with the times, but it is rooted in the friendly greeting from a corner grocer. No matter how advanced technology gets, humans will still value personal attention, good service, and fast response, and they will still trust the brands that deliver. Broadly will help you build that trust.

Try A Free Demo