Taking Your Website to the Next Level
You go to shop at Target.com and know exactly what items you’re putting in your online shopping cart. While you might be tempted to walk away with more than you bargained for, you knew what you wanted and you bought it. Why? Because Target’s website has a clear call to action: spending.
Collision repair shop websites also need a clear call to action. In fact, it’s vital for the industry to create websites that make it easy on a customer who has just had a stressful and potentially emotional experience.
Think about the customer’s goal and your goal, and you’ll find they often align.
Tyler Claypool, vice president of operations for Optima Automotive, notes it’s important to create an easy-to-use website that caters to customers. Stop adding stress onto the customer’s own stress, he suggests.
Claypool has spearheaded Optima Automotive’s social media initiative for 8 years. In that time, he’s researched what people want out of a relationship with an auto body shop. He’s helped develop over 600 websites for collision repairers.
Claypool shares how a body shop owner can focus on providing customer-friendly web content while seeing gains in the process.
The Top Mistakes
No matter how pristine, or modern-looking, one thinks their website is, body shops are making plenty of mistakes with regard to websites, Claypool says.
“There’s too much shop talk going on,” he says. “Body shop owners are sharing too much about how many cars they’ve fixed, the paint they’ve used and the fanciness of their shop floors.”
Sure, Claypool notes, the shop should display its accomplishments, including certifications and training achievements. Yet, alongside the nitty-gritty shop information, the website should be interactive and include fun elements like quick polls to grab customers’ attention.
Another mistake is posting the same content over and over. Claypool has seen numerous comments on websites in which customers promised to unfollow a business because it repeatedly posted the same pieces of content.
“Shops continue to post about their buff jobs, dent repairs and paint jobs,” Claypool says. “The public does not care about these steps and that’s (simply) the reality of it.”
He also says it’s important for shop owners to stop automating posting reviews to Facebook and the website. People lose trust in the company when they see only automated reviews.
Remember that a customer is going to click on your website while thinking, “Is this shop close to me?” and, “Can they fix my car?”
At the end of the day, the body shop owner wants someone to land on the home page and keep clicking through the site, all the way into the physical store. Stop the potential customer from “web surfing” and finding another easier site to use.
“Think of it this way, if your customer walks into the body shop, how quickly are they able to find the customer service desk?” Claypool says. “It’s probably the first thing they see.”
Key Website Features
Take a nice-looking, clean image of the body shop and post it as the banner on the page. If the body shop pictures are not the best quality, then post a stock photo until you can get a new picture. If the customer can see the outside of the shop on the website, they’ll be able to show up to the facility in person and be comfortable because they recognize the facility.
The team at Optima Automotive typically sits down with a body shop operator and interviews them. One of the questions they ask is, “What sets you apart?” That information is typically shared on the website in a brief manner. For instance, the body shop owner can talk about how simple the repair process is.
A body shop owner can sprinkle in information noting their certifications, training or projects the shop is working on. While this information can be included, Claypool recommends keeping it concise.
Claypool recommends keeping the font choice clean and simple. He recommends bolding items for emphasis and to direct the customer’s eyes to important words or phrases, like ‘online scheduling.’
Include a tab to talk about the services the shop offers. Claypool conducted a small survey of 20 websites to determine the amount of traffic specifically heading to the “services” tab and found that, on average, 6.24 percent of traffic goes to a shop’s services tab, a higher number for a small sampling of websites.
This should be a clickable button that takes the customer directly to a page where they can make an appointment or send in an online estimate. Don’t mention any new products you offer or the type of equipment in your shop in this area, he says.
The about section could include some of the certification or training information. The services section should be focused on tying the information into an overall call to action. Claypool says that section should include a contact number or email and an easy way for the customer to click-through to make an appointment.
“The call to action for the website should be centered on bringing the customer into the actual body shop, “ he says.
Claypool recommends putting the home button on the right side of the screen. When people land on a page, they read from left to right, he says. The customer will have a chance to go through the other buttons on the menu screen, browse services and then have the option to go back to the home page when they get to the end of their website perusal. That creates less bouncing around for the customer.
By simply placing the home button on the right hand side of the screen instead of the left, the body shop can increase conversion rates by 12.9 percent.
A simple tweak to the website’s domain address can increase customer trust, Claypool says. He suggests having the website be a secured website and make sure “https” is in front of the name. The “s” in “https” stands for “secure” and means that it is forming a secure network over an unsecure channel. If the shop does not have this, then the business can contact the hosting provider and request it.
If a website takes 5 seconds to load, the body shop can lose almost 50 percent of traffic, according to Claypool and Optima Automotive’s statistics. Sometimes the speed of the loading website might be due to the speed of the internet connection or large-sized images downloading, but shop owners can test website speed.
It’s important to note that a lot of cheaper website hosting servers use a shared server and all that traffic going through one serve can slow a website down. To test the website speed, go to Google’s page-speed test. It will give a score of 1 to 100. If you’re lower than 80 Claypool says the website needs to be re-evaluated. Also, for image, make sure to edit the image down in dimension size and then compress the image when saving it.