For those who own or work at car garages, ‘quality’ means a few things. Not only does it mean that your customers are happy, but it also means that you work efficiently and that the services you provide are robust and effective to the highest degree.
Yet, at the end of the day, the best way to retain customers and find new ones is to build your reputation as a reliable, honest, and capable technician or garage. This is generally achieved by improving the quality of your service which can be done in a variety of ways; ensuring that you can cover a variety of services including spray booth technology, keeping your tools organised to avoid wasting time, staying on top of training and technological innovations and considering writing a blog on a regular basis to drive more traffic to your website.
Here is some more information on how you can improve the quality of your garage.
Improve Your Customer Service
A great way to improve the quality of your service is to make sure that your customers walk away with a big smile on their faces. To do this, you may want to rethink your customer service strategy from the ground up. Some obvious changes include ensuring that you finish your jobs on time and answering all phone calls in an engaging and positive manner. After all, nobody wants to work with a grump and nobody wants their car unavailable longer than they intend!
Because word-of-mouth is such a crucial way to gain or lose customers, customer satisfaction should be one of the driving factors in everything you do, regardless of whether the customer is in direct contact or not. If you do this, you can improve your customer service with a series of really small and simple, but effective, changes. Here are some ideas:
- Leave a free air freshener in the car for collection.
- Offer a reward or points system to encourage customer loyalty and retention.
- If you have spray booth technology, offer this at a reduced rate to repeat customers or where you might have made a mistake.
- Ensure that, when you communicate with customers, your tone is friendly and engaging whether this is on the phone or via email.
- Take the time to fully explain any problems with your customers’ vehicles so they feel included in the repair process. This will make them feel more comfortable and secure with your garage.
Organise Your Tools
One of the most common factors that reduce the quality of service-based businesses is the loss of work time which knocks onto the customer. One of the most frequent ways time is wasted is by searching for the correct tool or accessory, especially for complex jobs that require a variety of materials, tools, repairs, and modifications.
Imagine if a worker spent a conservative half a minute searching and acquiring each tool or material they use and they need 20 tools or materials for a two-hour job. That’s ten minutes (or a twelfth of the time) wasted on searching for that one job alone. This conservative estimation amounts to 30 to 40 minutes a day, which is roughly 25 hours across the month, or 3 and a half working days. Not only can more jobs be completed by organising your tools more effectively, but jobs will take less time on average in the first place.
A great solution is to install a simple tool board. This doesn’t need to be a fancy installation, it can just be a wood or metal board with pegs and labels that can be changed or oriented in a variety of ways. This board can also be as big or small as is required. This way, all of the tools and materials that might be needed are in one place and one field of view. This is guaranteed to decrease the amount of time wasted, and improve the relative efficiency of your garage.
This organisation board should follow the ‘5s System’:
- Shine: Clean your tools and make sure they’re properly maintained before re-organising.
- Sort: Put your tools, accessories, and materials into logical categories.
- Set in Order: Set these categories onto the board itself, by alphabetical order, size, use, or another factor.
- Standardise: Try to use tools and accessories that are compatible with one another and rule out any deviations as they can result in problems that have unwanted, roundabout solutions.
- Sustain: Make sure you maintain the quality of your tools, accessories, and materials as they will last longer and cost less in the long-term.
Write a Blog
One way a lot of companies and businesses are increasing their customer base is by writing blogs on a regular basis. Having a blog section on your website and uploading content that matches the search intent of your target audience on a consistent basis is a great way to bump you up the Google search list.
You could write about the top 5 accessories for a camping trip, a step by step guide on changing a wheel, or the range of services that your local car garage can provide for your customer and their car. This way, you’ll attract customers who weren’t even intending on using your services in the first place.
It’s important to keep up with changes in the industry and, as business is increasingly digitised and web-oriented, you should also think about how to adapt your business to make the most of these changes. Regular search engine optimisation driven content is one of the simplest but most effective ways to do this.
Offer New Services
One way you can improve the quality of your garage is simply by offering more services. This is particularly convenient for your customers as they won’t have to travel around different garages to get different jobs done. For instance, if you focus on a certain type of repair, then train your employees on other types so that you can expand your service offerings. If your garage focuses solely on repairs more broadly, then consider expanding into the vehicle customisation and modification market.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders calculates that the UK car aftermarket is worth a huge £21.1 billion and is set to reach £28 billion by 2022. With options to respray and wrap cars in different colours, add different interiors, upgrade their sound systems, alter suspensions, and add racing extras like spoilers and carbon fibre accessories, the modification options are endless.
Installing Spray Booth Technology
Even though it’s a relatively simple service to set up, as it only requires a car spray booth, only a handful of car garages have taken advantage of this business expansion opportunity. Compared to the huge value of the car aftermarket, the cost of installing a spray booth is minimal and it’s a futureproof investment… even if we all start flying personal hovercrafts in the near future!
The advantage of installing a car spray booth is that it allows you to change the colour of your customers’ cars which could be offered at the end of a job at a reduced rate, or for free, to improve customer satisfaction, or as an extra for loyal customers. If you do choose to install a car spray booth, then make sure to speak to a specialist installer like Haltec, who can build a spray booth that is tailored to your specific requirements and dimensions.
If you do decide to install a spray booth, it’s important to think five years ahead so that your paint booth design is fully future-proofed. For example, you should make sure to install a spray booth extractor fan to remove any fumes that could be harmful to your employees and the booth may want an alternative entrance/exit to the rest of the garage.
Keep on Top of Training and Changing Technology
As the car industry develops, it’s important that you ensure that your staff are adequately trained. For example, electric cars are on a meteoric rise at the moment and this market is only going to continue expanding. Therefore, you may want to train your employees on how to repair elements that are different in electric cars to ordinary cars, so that you keep an inclusive customer base.
Furthermore, there is a push in the industry for car mechanics to integrate online scheduling. This allows your customers to see your schedule and book an appointment for whenever suits them best. Not only will you be able to spend more time on the cars themselves, but you can preset this system to prioritise more expensive repairs. You can also use this system as an all-in-one tool from which you can advise customers about routine oil changes, safety checks, or follow-ups.
Another key technology that garages are increasingly turning to is the potential behind spray booth technology. Large paint booths can be customised and installed at competitive prices by companies like Haltec and they’re a fairly simple way to supplement the services your garage provides. At Haltec, we aim to innovate this space with customisation at the forefront of our spray booth designs. For example, we have pioneered side-extraction spray booths in addition to our popular rear-extraction spray booths with no excavations.
If you have any further questions about how spray booth technology can improve the quality of your garage, or if you’d like to know about any of our other services, then don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 01543 573 408 today!