Mike Anderson

mike anderson autobody newsMike Anderson is the president and owner of Collision Advice, a consulting company for the auto body/collision repair industry. For nearly 25 years, he was the owner of Wagonwork Collision Center, an OEM-certified, full-service auto body repair facility in Alexandria, VA.

Thursday, 08 September 2022 15:42

From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Your Auto Body Shop Needs to Provide Consumers ‘Social Proof’ You’re Their Best Choice

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State Farm over the years has added information about customer reviews and OEM certifications to its shop locator. State Farm over the years has added information about customer reviews and OEM certifications to its shop locator.


...find evidence of your training and certifications with clear explanations of what that means to them? Just saying your shop has earned I-CAR Gold Class Professional status isn’t enough: They need to know how and why that sets you apart.


Are you providing them links to where they can see the OEMs really are saying you are qualified and certified to repair their brand of vehicle?


“Social proof” also includes customer-generated content, like Google or Carwise reviews, that help potential customers follow the “wisdom of the crowd.” When I had my shops, I kept a list of Audi, BMW and Porsche owners whose vehicles we’d repaired and who gave us permission to share their contact information if someone wanted to speak with a “reference.” A lot of that type of social proof can now be done online through reviews and car club blogs, etc.


If you’re not convinced “social proof” is important in our industry, spend a couple minutes visiting a few websites. State Farm’s shop locator, for example, now includes customer reviews of the shops listed. Nissan’s certified shop locator now includes customer reviews of certified shops. Something I haven’t heard talked about much is CCC’s consumer-facing website, Carwise, now allows consumers to search for shops based on OEM certifications---more “social proof.”


I know many shops are so busy they may not be thinking as much about their marketing right now as they should. (Check out my column on “Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.”) But you need to market when you’re busy so you stay busy even when other shops are not.


And as an industry, we need to understand the way customers think today. They are out there looking for evidence you can be trusted. Just saying it isn’t enough. You need to provide them with “social proof.”


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