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Tips for Inspiring Positive Word of Mouth

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Allen Massey has always embraced mathematics. By closely studying the key performance indicators (KPIs) that his northern Texas body shops produce, the co-owner has helped his facilities stand out from the competition. 

“I’ve always worked with benchmarks and numbers,” says Massey, the co-owner of CARSTAR Campbell’s Auto Body in Texas. “We monitor so many metrics we probably over-monitor a little bit. [But] you really need to be able to take the pulse of different parts of the business.” 

Back in 2006, however, Massey noticed an unsettling numerical trend: His initial shop, in Burleson, Texas, was struggling to gain market share. 

It had become a battle, “fighting to gain market share,” he recalls, “and trying to gain momentum. It was the biggest challenge.” 

Fortunately for Massey, he eventually learned the solution to his problem: He needed to create positive word of mouth marketing. Before long, after receiving training from paint suppliers, his two suburban Dallas-Fort Worth facilities, which now are CARSTAR shops co-owned by Steve Davis, began garnering CSI scores around 95, with a net promoter score of 95.9. 

Below, Massey, who won a 2018 CARSTAR franchise rookie of the year honor, offers tips for inspiring positive word of mouth within your shop’s surrounding area. 

Partner with community entities. 

Early on at the Burleson shop, which Massey claimed an ownership stake of 2006, shop leaders were able to secure a few key accounts. Perhaps none was more valuable than fixing local police vehicles. 

Often, a police vehicle would be the first on the scene following an accident. Lo and behold, drivers involved in crashes would ask officers where they had their vehicles repaired, and the law enforcement officials often referred them to Massey’s shop. 

Based on those recommendations, Massey says, his facility began earning a reputation for producing quality repair work that was above reproach. 

Work with local schools. 

CARSTAR Campbell’s Auto Body’s staff has made a concerted effort to advertise at local school sporting events, as well as other various scholastic activities. Over time, the community took notice. 

“We did advertising [with schools], offering different kinds of rewards programs,” Massey explains. “That was key early on. Supporting the community, working with the schools ― that was very good to develop our core base.” 

He has also sat on various school advisory boards, and hopes to soon finalize an apprenticeship program “to teach the skills a person needs to come away with to be able to obtain a job” in the collision repair industry. 

Be transparent regarding repair work. 

There’s no better way to garner word-of-mouth advertising than by opening the eyes of customers when they arrive at your facility. And Massey’s staff has accomplished that by laying out his two shops—which boast a combined car count of 150 per month—in a manner in which visitors can sit in the customer waiting room and see much of the shop floor as well as a paint department that’s “all out in the open,” Massey says. 

“We just want to be transparent, and keep what we’re doing in front of people,” he adds. “You have to build a shop that’s sustainable. … And all you can do is keep your information in front of them.” 

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