Drivers typically come in with an expectation of what's wrong with their car, which can make it tricky to sell maintenance work. Drivers might think you're trying to squeeze more money out of them, or may simply have a set budget in their mind and don’t plan on spending extra.
In reality, you're simply trying to go above and beyond and provide them the best service possible. So how do you show that, and which tools will help you transform the way you sell maintenance?
Here’s how to build customer trust while staying true to your auto repair shop’s mission of providing optimal maintenance recommendations.
Why Selling Maintenance Work Can Be a Challenge
According to a survey conducted by AAA in 2016, 76% of U.S. drivers said that recommending unnecessary services was the top reason they do not trust auto repair shops. It’s likely the driver has one specific repair in mind, isn’t planning on spending extra money, or could simply feel skeptical of the shop if they haven’t brought their car there before—similar to how you may feel skeptical of a vet or doctor at first.
Despite the statistic above, the survey also points out that two-thirds of U.S. drivers have managed to find an auto repair shop that they trust. Car owners put a lot of faith in their chosen repair shop to keep their wheels on the streets. Whether it’s an independent auto repair shop, or a chain repair shop, trust needs to be at the forefront.
We already know customers don’t have a lot of trust, especially when it comes to “selling extra work.” On top of that, service advisors may not want to come off as pushy, so they only focus on the problem at hand. Lack of trust combined with a reluctance to be assertive means you may have a team that does not have a habit of doing maintenance checks and recommending maintenance work.
Although recommending additional work to your customer’s vehicle has a negative connotation, the pros outweigh the cons. Just as people have routine doctor visits to maintain their health, the same goes for their vehicle: routine maintenance is a preventative measure for drivers to ensure that they can count on their car for their day-to-day needs.
Why It’s Important to Build a Maintenance-Focused Inspection and Sales Process
Training your team and implementing a maintenance-focused process may include some trial and error, but it will be worth the effort. Your team will know the ropes on recommending preventative maintenance that will keep your customers’ vehicles in solid shape.
When it comes to selling routine vehicle maintenance work, it helps to focus on the benefits: routine check ups will make a big difference on customer’s cars. Similar to the human body, cars are complex systems. Just as the body has a heart, nervous system, and organs, cars have the engine, the vehicle bus, and the control unit. So, if one problem is ignored, that could lead to more issues, possibly more serious than the last. For example, if an individual puts off replacing brakes that are screeching, it could damage the car’s rotors, which in turn, could lead to loss of braking power. This gets us back to one of the most important benefits of selling maintenance work: it helps your customer get as many miles out of their car as possible.
What are The Benefits to Selling Maintenance Work?
- Regular maintenance makes your customers’ lives easier. It prevents your customers from ending up on the side of the road and prolongs their vehicles’ lifespans.
- Customers save money. Maintenance work can prevent car issues from getting out-of-hand, which may lead to spending more on larger repairs in the future. If customer’s look at it this way, the pros are easier to picture than the cons are. And who doesn’t want to address maintenance work before it becomes too much of an expense?
- It helps shops sell more work, which usually means higher Repair Orders (ROs). Also, because maintenance work helps your customers’ vehicles last longer, they’re less likely to buy a new car, which they’ll probably get repaired at the dealership during the first few years.
- It helps you queue up more work for the future. Even if they decline the maintenance work, you now have a relationship. You can track those declined jobs, and now the service advisor and technician can save time figuring out what all might be wrong with the vehicle and resell that work. “Hey, last time you were in, your tread was a little low. Now it’s really low. We should probably take care of it…,” and so on.
- Customers trust you more. When you provide reliable insights into your customer’s vehicles, your like their go-to car whisperer—a trustworthy person who reminds them to check stuff out on their vehicle before anything bad happens
Maintenance by Mileage
Shop owners, we recommend training your service advisors to get in the habit of checking the customer’s mileage each time they visit the shop. On top of that, you can tally their mileage under their customer notes so you know how many miles it’s been since their last maintenance check. By keeping track of customer mileage on each vehicle, you’ll be able to recommend maintenance work based on how many miles it has been since their last visit.
Tek-Tip: Mileage aside, a thorough DVI of all engine, transmission, cooling, brakes and suspension components should be performed regularly.
How Vehicle Maintenance Software Can Help Overcome Skepticism
By establishing trust and implementing tools like vehicle maintenance software within your shop, it’s possible to win over the skeptics.
The common driver sees maintenance as frivolous or not important. Reasons for their skepticism can stem from many things: the customer can’t see what the service advisor is seeing on their end; they might not have a way to gauge the importance of the issue at hand; maybe a service advisor doesn’t communicate the problem correctly or forgets to ask their customer if they’re following along.
This brings us to vehicle maintenance software. Tekmetric can solve each of those distinct problems by providing a simple solution to communication all around. Vehicle maintenance software connects the dots between the technicians, service advisors, and your customers.
Rather than relying on the ol’ pen and paper technique, your shop can have a one-stop system in place that will ensure your business’ performance is backed up, every step of the way. An added benefit of Tekmetric’s interface? It doesn’t act alone. Its partnerships and integrations deliver all of your shop and customer’s needs in one, easily-accessible location.
Customer Notes and Client Management
Customer notes help your team keep track of every customer’s mileage each time they come in, and even note what helps the customer understand maintenance. For example, “This customer responds well to pictures,” or “Customer appreciates help with planning next repairs.”
Adding little tailored customer notes for each individual driver that visits your shop can go a long way in terms of building their trust, as well as helping them see the importance of their vehicle’s maintenance.
DVI is more and more common now than ever before. If your auto shop doesn’t use DVI, chances are you’ve considered trying it out. Implementing DVI into your day-to-day shop regimen will help you communicate with your customers, and show them the severity of specific repairs.
Digital vehicle inspections enhance the inspection process by keeping the communication effective and smooth. Just as a pet owner loves to see updates of their pup from the kennel when they are away on vacation, it’s important for drivers to be updated on what exactly is going on with their car, if any new issues have been found, and what they can keep an eye on in the future.
Tekmetric’s DVI is helpful because it let’s shops create different types of inspection lists so service advisors could just program different maintenance inspections to make it easy for technicians to remember to check for certain things. During the inspection, they can send videos and photos to the customer to show them any maintenance issues, build trust, and either sell that work or capture it as a declined job.
Tek-Tip: For “Factory Scheduled Maintenance,” you can make each mileage milestone a task: 3,000 miles, 5,000 miles, 15,000 miles, etc. in each customer’s DVI. That way, when the technician checks the mileage, they can simply mark the mileage of the vehicle so that the service advisor can recommend the appropriate maintenance inspection.
With Tekmetric’s custom DVIs, you can fill the customer in on past, current, and future work by updating them with images of their vehicle. DVIs are an effective method of communication between the shop and your customers because it shows them that their car is in the right hands.
Another added benefit of Tekmetric’s digital vehicle inspections is that they implement a “green, yellow, red” color system to help the customer prioritize maintenance work. Whether the technicians come across an issue that needs immediate attention, or a repair that can wait until the next visit, the transparent communication between the customer and the shop builds trust. This color coding system can work wonders in the context of maintenance. If customers think that the shop is just trying to sell them more work, a “yellow” tells them, “Look, you don’t have to buy this right now, but it’s something to keep an eye on and plan for in the future.”
This color system also gives customers the ability to have a say in what exactly gets done to their car and when, showing them that car repairs are a team effort. If they choose to get the work done then and there, great. If they don’t, no worries, you can track it in your vehicle maintenance software and remind them next time they stop by the shop.
Tekmessage True Two-Way Texting
Some customers may choose to leave the shop while you inspect their vehicle. When this happens, your service advisors may wonder how to sell maintenance work if they’re not at the shop. You could call them, but sometimes a quick text is a good way to let them know something may need some attention. Tekmessage lets your team send and receive texts directly from Tekmetric.
Every Tekmessage you send to your customer will ease the maintenance process between the service advisors and customers. For a quick two-way solution, it helps customers who aren’t at the shop but have questions and want to understand exactly how important a maintenance job is, or why the maintenance work is being recommended in the first place.
Tekmessage can also help establish trust. Your shop’s customers will see how responsive, transparent, and helpful your shop is compared to any past, inconsistent and scattered communication they’ve encountered with another shop. Many customers prefer texts, especially if they’re running errands or busy with something while you’re looking at their vehicle. Establishing a two-way method of communication between the shop and the customer will ease their worries.
BG Canned jobs
Tekmetric’s BG Canned Jobs gives your repair shop the ability to provide customers with high-quality maintenance service backed by BG’s industry-leading products.
Tekmetric’s systems already empower your team to assemble ROs in minutes with integrated labor guides, canned jobs, and customizable parts orders. But with BG products, you can ensure that your customer will be getting safe, reliable, and high quality products every time a power steering, transmission, and brake RO is created.
Another added benefit brings us back to mileage maintenance checks. Every time a car is due for the 3,000, 7,000, 15,000 mileage check, and so on, you can remind the customer that their car is due for a maintenance check-up. Whether it be a coolant level check, transmission fluid check, or air filter change out, you can easily select the canned job, and BG products are an added benefit.
Tekmetric integrates with CARFAX so reliable vehicle history reports are just a few clicks away. All you need is the car’s VIN, and it will conveniently be accessible in the customer’s RO. So, every time a customer comes in for their vehicle’s routine maintenance, you can pull up the history. This is especially helpful if a new service advisor or technician is looking over a new customer’s car that day and wants a brief, but specific, overview on the vehicle’s history.
Sell More Maintenance Work With Vehicle Maintenance Software
Implementing vehicle maintenance software, along with adjusting the routine maintenance process to help better serve your customers, makes your customer’s lives better, makes it easier and more comfortable for service advisors to recommend maintenance work, and makes your shop more efficient and profitable.
Just as establishing customer’s trust is important, implementing strategies to help your business effectively communicate maintenance work will help your shop thrive.