If you’re around me for any length of time you’ll hear me ask the question, “What’s the most profitable thing you could be doing right now?” If the answer is anything other than what you are doing, it’s time to stop and do the most profitable thing.
Usually, the most profitable thing you can do involves talking to a customer. Ideally you’ll be selling a repair. However, if you’re not selling a repair right at the moment there is still another very profitable, often overlooked way to talk to a customer. Follow up calls… resist the urge to stop reading… stay with me!
Follow up calls are one of those things that everybody talks about and few people do. There are usually three reasons why shop owners and service writers don’t do follow up calls. The first reason is fear. They are afraid the customer is going to be unhappy and angry at them. The second reason is lack of organization. There are no systems in place to make sure it happens. And the third reason is poor goal setting. I’m going to give you the solution for each one of these obstacles.
Fear! The easiest way to overcome fear is practice. If you doing good work and verifying each repair then the odds that the customer is going to be unhappy are very low. And, if they are unhappy it’s much better for you to call them and correct it rather than have them tell twelve people (the national average) about how unhappy they are.
Another antidote for fear is a good script. Here’s a short easy script to use on follow up calls to customers who have recently been in your shop. “Hi, (customer name) this is Dave at Dave’s Auto Repair and I was just calling to make sure everything was good with the service you just had done. Is there anything I could have done better? Great! There is something you can do for me. For each friend or co-worker you send to me, I’ll give you a free oil change as my way of saying thank you. Would you be willing to do that for me? Great!”
Notice how we give them a chance to give us feedback. Whether they do or not, the answer is “great” and “thank you”. Then, we ask them to help us out AND we make it worth their while. Again, whether they say yes or no, the answer is still, “great”. This is a very low stress, low pressure script. It takes very little time to deliver and opens up some fantastically profitable conversation.
The next challenge is lack of organization. There are two ways to overcome this, technologically or “old school”. If you are going to use technology then simply set up reminders in your point of sale system to trigger a call three to five days after the customer cashes out. If you want to go old school then go to the office supply store and get one of those file folios that are numbered 1-31. Make a copy of the work order after you cash the customer out and put it in the number for the date of the month that is three to five days away. Each day you simply grab the work orders in the file for that day and those are the people you call.
The final challenge is poor goal setting. Many owners or service writers set a goal to “call some customers” or “do some follow up calls”. Those goals are too vague and weak. Call three satisfied customers every day. Not two, not four… exactly three. It doesn’t matter how many work orders you have, start by just calling three. Do it starting tomorrow. Make this simple commitment and you’ve solved the goal setting problem.
Use the tools I’ve given you here to overcome the obstacles to doing this “most profitable thing” and watch your business grow.
Until next time…