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Building Customer Relationships Pre-Repair

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I want to help our customers get their repair started as soon as possible. But I sometimes feel like we get down to business too quickly. What can I do to establish relationships with customers before we start working on their repair?

Mike Anderson, founder, CollisionAdvice.com:

The way you interact with customers when they walk into your office is critical. That’s a moment of truth when customers will form impressions about you and your business. There are a few basic and easy things you can do:

• Greet and acknowledge customers immediately. If you’re on the phone, smile and hold your finger up to signal that you’ll be with them shortly.

• Make sure customers know your name. Provide customers with your business card at the beginning of the conversation, not when they’re getting ready to leave.

Also, place your nametag on the right side of your uniform. The right side of your chest gets pushed toward the customer when you shake hands and makes it easy for them to see your name.

• Interact with the customer. Take a few minutes to talk to the customer about something unrelated to their repair. Find some common ground to talk about so you build some rapport with the customer. Maybe you notice they have some softball equipment in the back of their car. Ask questions about that. Find some way to strike up a conversation.

• Provide helpful information. For example, estimating systems allow you to download vehicle recalls. Do that while you’re writing the estimate. Let the customer know if you found any recalls on their vehicle, and offer suggestions on how they can get that taken care of.

Remember, statistics show that people only have accidents every 10.2 years. Even though a customer may have been at your shop before, they may not remember how the repair process works. It’s important to go the extra mile to build trust before the repair process even begins.


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