Top 4 Factors Customers Consider When Choosing an Auto Shop

Upswell Logo Blue Cmyk11211In 2020, consumers saw driving as a safer — and easier — mode of travel than flying, and this trend is poised to continue through 2021. This makes it a great time for auto repair shops to evaluate their current marketing strategy to ensure that they are connecting with current customers, as well as reaching new ones.

But before you put the pedal to the metal on your marketing strategy, you need to understand what consumers value, and what drives their decision on which auto shop they choose.

The survey results are in…

UpSwell Marketing conducted an auto consumer survey to find out what people value most when choosing an auto shop. We surveyed 555 vehicle owners and primary decision-makers between the ages of 25 – 54, and found that the top four deciding factors when choosing an auto shop were:

  1. Pricing / Value
  2. Good Reviews / Reputation
  3. Convenience
  4. Customer Service

Based on these findings, here are some tips to help drive your auto shop’s value and bring more customers to your door.

Creating value and competitive pricing

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed chose pricing and value as the leading factor in deciding where to take their auto repair business. And while that’s not surprising, we did find that the results differed slightly by demographic, with respondents aged 45-54 citing reputation as equally important to value/pricing and respondents earning over $200k selecting reputation as more important than value/pricing.

When it comes to pricing and value, the key is to be competitive and informed. There is a lot to consider when deciding what to charge for your services, including market rate, competition, and overhead costs. As you put together your pricing strategy, consider this:

  1. Establish your profit goals. Understanding where you are and where you want to be is the first step in determining your pricing structure. Calculate your expenses and roughly determine where your profit margins need to be.
  2. Price has the ability to directly influence demand and sales volume. When you set a higher price point, you may reinforce the value of your services. Alternatively, the opposite may be true if you start at a very low price point. Keep up with the current market rate for the services you offer to present the most honest value.
  3. Set the right pricing strategy for your market. There are three major pricing strategies you might decide to go with.

Penetration pricing — starting at a low price point to penetrate the market

Market skimming — setting a high price point to reinforce the value of your services

Neutral Pricing — following your competitors’ example and pricing similarly

  1. Communicate value. Your customers aren’t always looking for the cheapest They are looking for the most value. Build value through your well-trained team, rewards programs, and up-to-date, user-friendly online presence.

Great reviews often outshine proximity

Building a good reputation in any industry takes time and elbow grease, and even one negative review can impact your business. Having a good reputation ranked high in our survey as a major deciding factor among all demographics. Establishing a reputation management strategy will help keep the positive reviews coming, and lessen the blow of any negative ones.

Sixty percent of our respondents chose good reviews and reputation as a priority, with convenience coming in at 47%. We also discovered that most customers don’t mind suffering some inconvenience for an auto shop that has glowing reviews. Our respondents were willing to drive an average of 27 minutes to their auto shop. This says a lot about trust — and the importance of a good reputation in this industry.

If your customers are driving all that way, just for you, be sure they share their positive experience with other prospects. Encourage them to write reviews. This will:

  • Provide you with user-generated content
  • Build trust with your customers
  • Encourage other customers to do business with you

Don’t know the best way to ask for feedback? Follow these three simple steps and start earning some positive reviews.

  1. Give them lots of options. Don’t just limit yourself to Google or Facebook.
  2. Be direct. Just ask your customers directly for honest feedback.
  3. Make it easy. No one wants to waste their time on a long and complicated process just to leave a review.

When start building a portfolio of reviews, display them proudly on media sites or even through digital in-store signage.

Poor customer service will leave your customers racing to the competition

When asked what would cause a customer to leave one shop for another, 57% of respondents cited customer service as the top reason. In an industry that has a reputation for taking advantage of customers, making customer service a top priority is crucial.

Here are some ways to ensure you’re providing excellent customer service to your customers:

  • Listen — Take a little extra time to focus on the actual concerns of your customer. This will help to improve your communication, attentiveness, and accuracy.
  • Be a guide — Don’t over-push or upsell too much. Most people aren’t as informed about their vehicle as they should be, but they will not appreciate being pushed into a service they think they don’t need. Offer honest advice and let them know of any potential concerns you have for their vehicle.
  • Follow-up — Great customer service doesn’t have to end after they have left the building. Reach out to your customers to ensure everything on their vehicle is in good shape and working properly after its service.

Your customers will highly appreciate it and notice the effort when you take the extra mile to offer five-star customer service.

Ready to boost your sales and customer base? UpSwell’s leading experts in the auto repair industry can get you started off with a free marketing assessment to establish the best steps for your marketing plan.