Q: What sets your shop apart from others in the industry?
A: What sets us apart from other shops in our industry is simple. We are willing to go to bat for our customers. That’s really everything to us. We care about our customers so we do what’s right for them. I believe every other major shop in our market area has at least one kind of direct repair referral program set up with certain insurance companies, so I feel they are basically working for the insurance company not the owner of the vehicle. We do the opposite.
We have no obligation to any insurance company; however, we accept all insurance companies. Our only one obligation is to put our customer first. Many customers get into an accident and the first person they speak to is a tow truck driver who may be steering work to his auto body shop. Then the second person he/she speaks to is from the insurance company where the representative recommends another shop.
People come in very confused sometimes. Thank God most New Yorkers aren’t that gullible though. Most of my previous customers already have learned it is always better to come to us first before they call their insurance companies. It’s like walking into court without a lawyer. Most people wouldn’t do it. Usually smart and savvy customers know it’s better for the collision repair facility to report their claim.
The most important thing we do is help educate our customers as to their rights so they can make informed decisions. We also make sure we do our best to give every customer who walks through our door an outstanding experience so they brag about us to other people. That’s what we want—raving fans. Today, satisfied customers are not enough. They will not always be loyal. We make sure that our customers are ecstatic when they will leave so they will be loyal for years to come.
Q: How do you use social media, videos and blogs to help your business and what is your advice to other shops?
A: Don’t try to do it yourself. Hire a public relations company you can trust. You will most likely be spending a lot of time with these people so hire someone you will be comfortable with. This also must be a marathon outlook because you cannot go into social media, blogs and videos thinking you will be able to put up a few posts and leave it. You must be ready to go after this for years and years to come.
Our whole public relations theme is about making people remember our name. We also do our best to give back to our community and others through these campaigns. Supporting local charities is important to us and we have implemented semi-annual giveaways. Getting involved in your community and local charities helps build real lifelong, vital relationships.
We even have videos on our YouTube channel that show people exactly how we do certain jobs. Videos of the owner and staff are very powerful and actually are a great way for people to get to know your shop. People on average have accidents about once every seven years. You want them remembering your name if they get into an accident. Online reviews, blogs, and a Facebook page are also great ways we show off our company. They help people become more comfortable with us before coming in.