4 Ways to Stay Top-of-Mind with Customers
For years, a signed thank-you letter stuffed in a handwritten and addressed envelope delivered to each customer was enough to drive repeat traffic. Yet, in the modern day, letters and word-of-mouth are not enough for Quanz Auto Care to keep attracting its old customers and new ones.
For Adam Quanz, owner of Quanz Auto Care, repeat body shop business has picked up in volume since he hired a marketing intern, Marcos Salaz. Since hiring Salaz, the shop has done roughly $12.3 million in annual revenue and the shop’s customer service score for 2018 has been an average of 94.5 percent across all three locations.
Salaz, a marketing major at University of New Mexico, has worked on the shop’s social media sites for six months, creating plans to bring old customers back while attracting a younger, new audience.
Quanz and small business consultants Ingrid Griffin, CEO and founder of Blue Dress Inc., and Anne Lazo, CEO of Motorhead Advantage, say it’s important to add a personal touch and to create a marketing strategy that will engage customers even after they’ve walked out the door, with many expecting not to come back.
While Lazo has worked on the mechanical repair side of the industry, she says her tips can apply to multiple types of businesses, including collision repair. Griffin has worked with a Gerber location and other local Tennessee shops to fix either the absence of a social media presence or ones that were devoid of shop personality.
How to Stay Top of Mind with: Social Media
Another way to attract new customers and keep old ones coming back is through Facebook likes. Lazo suggests using Facebook advertising to bump up the number of likes on a page, giving the impression that the community trusts the shop.
If there are a lot of visitors to a page, then customers will usually associate the shop as a good business.
In February, 300 people viewed the Quanz Auto Care page and 887 people were reached. The shop has more than 2,400 likes.
Griffin, Lazo and Quanz all agree that the shop’s social media posts need to avoid shop jargon. Stop making it, “me, me and me” and make it more about the customer’s needs.
In order to tailor content, Griffin says to post informative news about driving or weather conditions for the day, or simply post about a hot-button industry news topic.
She says you want the customer to think, “Wow, this benefits me in my day today.” Griffin suggests educating the customer on industry procedures or news. Posts like car shows and car events can go a long way toward attracting a customer back to the site. A simple post about good road trip music can spark a discussion among customers.
Quanz has stopped posting coupons or other promotions. Instead, he focuses on connecting with customers. For example, posting a picture of his technicians in the shop and then explaining what the tech is doing to the car. He also has had success with generic posts on keeping up with vehicle maintenance.
"If you don’t keep it relevant and interesting, then people will stop looking at your business page,” Quanz says.
Salaz says he wants customers to visit the shop’s Facebook page and see a page that looks more like a friend’s page instead of a business page. Memes, which are pictures with funny sayings, help to lighten the mood, he says.
How to Stay Top of Mind with: Online Content
“With all of my clients, I beat them over the head by repeating this to them,” Lazo says. “I tell them to take pictures of the shop and people, and keep it personal.”
It’s not all about the posts, but instead about showing new customers that the shop cares about the customer. This means constantly checking reviews left online and messages left on the Facebook page and then replying to them at least three times per week.
Griffin also says people will psychologically make a decision based off whether a shop interacts positively or negatively online with its customers.
Pictures of shop workers servicing a vehicle will translate as caring. On the other hand, generic pictures of the facility with a tagline that reads, “Come out and see us!” will be seen as a gimmick for money, Griffin says.
Quanz Auto Care plans to redo and distinguish its desktop website from its mobile site, in the hopes of attracting different generations of customers.
Through Salaz’s research, he found that most of the desktop site visitors are Generation X whereas millennials visit the mobile site more. So, he rolled out a concept that shows website visitors how their car will be repaired and by whom, while the mobile website will have simple links to click to take the customer to schedule a repair or read shop reviews.
Lazo says the website is the most important hub for the shop and every social media post, review and advertisement should relate back to the hub in some way.
How to Stay Top of Mind with: SEO
Advertisement and search engine optimization (SEO) words also boost the reach of the shop through different social media channels, Lazo says. She recommends a shop create a YouTube video and use 1–2 keywords to gain more hits on Google. With more hits, the shop will rank higher in SEO rankings.
Griffin says Google Social Search, which is a special service that Google offers that allows users to easily find content created by friends, family or others in their “social circle,” is an important platform to raise SEO ranks. Showing up in Google searches allows the shop to show the customer a brief snapshot of its business: pictures, location and social media sites it uses.
How to Stay Top of Mind with: Direct Communication
Reaching out to customers directly can often be the best way to remind customers of your services. Griffin says text messages and emails are the main point of contact to stay at the top of the minds of existing customers.
Digital outreach once every three months can keep the shop at the forefront of the customer’s memory but also not bombard him or her with messages.
She says the best emails and texts to send are ones that remind the customer about bad weather conditions and to drive safely. At the bottom of the message, add a link to the shop’s website.