Follow-Up. Can't I do it in house?
The question is the same one every shop asks me, or at least asks themselves. There are actually a lot of reasons why it makes sense to outsource your customers followup process. I got this question through a customer of mine from AutoShopFollowUp.Com. Here is the response I gave to him.
1. Consistency - This is the biggest answer. The reason why shops don't use the secretary, or service writers? Because it doesn't get done. It may get done for a bit, but at the end of day, in the shop, all team members are going to go towards whatever fire is burning the brightest. This isn't a dig on team members its just the reality of running the day to day of the shop or any business. There are so many distractions every day that your admin doesn't have the time to make an additional 200 phone calls, write 200 thank you notes, invite people to leave reviews, followup with the reviews, and send out incentives for doing so, on top of all their other duties. This is nearly a full time job in and of itself.
2. Outside Review - Part of the reason you called me back is because you were concerned about the dropping car count, and finding out if there was a reason within the shop, or something that could be changed. We are an unbiased third party. You will get exactly what the customer has to say about their experience from us. We have no reason to ever try and make things look better or worse than they actually are. We can be unattached and their answers and it wont hurt our feelings, so we never get frustrated because they are not talking about us. This is a common problem for shops that do it themselves as everyone wants to look as good as they can to their employer. I have had a few shops actually end up making staffing changes because of the feedback from customers. These are extreme circumstances obviously, but none they less they never would have known if they never asked.
3. We're trained for this - One of the other struggles shops have is that the goal isn't to "just make some calls and send some thank you cards," its to create personal connections and long lasting relationships. This is a difficult task that most people are not equipped to handle. It takes time on the phone and a certain personality to be able to call someone up and get them talking. To be able to make that connection with people in a 5 minute phone call is tricky to say the least. It is a very specific skill set that takes time, training, and some natural know how. That is what we do, it is our specialty. We have had customers stop in to shops when they didn't need service just to meet the girl they spoke with on the phone. We are really good at this. Its what we like to do and gets us excited. For most staff in the shop who get assigned this job, it is looked at as just that. Making some calls, and sending some cards. And you are not going to get the results you are looking for.
4. We are very cost effective - If we do the math and look at what it would actually cost to hire someone to do this, we are very cost effective. In fact, we are cheaper than if you had to do it yourself. Just think of the staffing the time alone, cost of cards, postage, training... not to mention not having to manage the process yourself. What is your hourly rate? Just the time it would take you to manage this and make sure it is getting done effectively would cost you more than our pricing. Your time is more valuable used else-ware.
5. Our return on investment is huge. It speaks for itself. One of our shops here locally who was kind enough to share all his numbers with us had astounding results. His customer retention improved by more than 60%. How many customers who aren't coming back now would you need to save to pay for this program? What would a 60% improvement do for your business? Now what about online reviews? Now we are driving new customers in the front door, and shutting the back door at the same time. This customers return on investment was over 1000%.
I know this was a long answer to your question, and maybe more than you were looking for, but I want you to know how serious we are about what we do. This program works, or we wouldn't do it. The program itself was designed with the owner of an auto shop to meet his needs and for it could be as effective as possible.
I hope this helps!