You didn’t open an auto trim shop to give your services away for free. But there are five things that you can offer your customers – free of charge – that would improve your customer service and encourage them to keep coming back. Best of all, it’ll cost you next to nothing.
1. Cup of Joe
You drink coffee all day, right? So why not brew a few extra cups for your customers? Being hospitable can go a long in building rapport.
“Hey, let me grab you a cup of coffee while you look through those swatches of fabric. How do you like it?”
Best of all, offering customers a refreshing cup of Joe can help lower their guard. They may have walked in fearing a rip off, but quickly found a friend. Plus it’s a lot harder for a customer to play hardball after you’ve been so nice.
Just make sure your coffee is good. You don’t want to be known as the shop that serves its customers sludge.
2. Tips & Advice
As a professional trimmer, you not only know how to upholster cars, but protect their interiors as well. That knowledge is invaluable to your customers. Passing it along will help them see that you’ve got their best interests at heart.
“I noticed that the leather on your seats is starting to harden. You should condition them before they crack. Because once they’re ruined, it’s expensive to fix.”
You could even use this opportunity to hock any products you sell – like leather conditioner.
3. Quick Wipe Down
The number one rule of auto service is to never return a customer’s car dirtier than when it arrived. But what if you returned it a tad bit cleaner?
Detailing a customer’s car can be costly and time consuming, but giving its cabin a quick vacuum and wipe down isn’t. And because most of our shops smell like cigarettes and exhaust fume, a dash of air freshener couldn’t hurt either.
The whole process shouldn’t take longer than five minutes or cost you much. However, it’ll show customers that their cars are in good hands.
4. Company Swag
Plenty of businesses give away t-shirts or baseball caps marked with their company’s logo – but that can be expensive. A cheaper alternative is pens, magnets or key chains. In fact, if you buy them in bulk, they only cost pennies on the dollar.
Before returning a car, my father always attached a company keychain to customers’ keys. It was a little red car that had the name of his shop and phone number on it. Customers loved it. And because it was on their keys, they basically carried his business card everywhere they went.
Other shops splurge on calendars – which is a fine option. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of bikini-calendars. It looks unprofessional and can be offensive.
5. A Reason to Return
If you do quality work, customers will return. But sometimes they need a little prodding. The best way to ensure that customers come back is to give them a reason to – like a future discount.
“While fixing your headliner, I noticed a cigarette burn on the base of your front passenger seat. If you come back to have it fixed before the end of next month, I’ll give you 10% off.”
Write it down too. A coupon or certificate makes your offer official and serves as a reminder to your customer that the offer stands.
Your Input: Have anything else to add to the list? Write it in the comments section below and let’s talk about it.