Those of us who did write some probably tapped our mental list of those things about ourselves, our businesses, our relationships and our finances that we would like to improve. It’s also likely that our list of resolutions was incomplete. There were probably many more things that needed improvement that we simply didn’t notice.
After a while we become so accustomed to that spot or tear on the sofa that we don’t notice it anymore. Perhaps we’ve had that old poster on the wall so long that we haven’t noticed that it’s hopelessly out of date and no longer a complementary decoration for our waiting area. Once we begin looking at some aspects of our shop from someone else’s point of view, we may realize that some additional resolutions to change things for the better should have been on that list.
Since more than half of our customers these days may be women, that could be a useful point of view to start with. Most of the men I know only occasionally buy new clothes or pay much attention to what other men are wearing. Women, on the other hand, are generally very aware of what other women are wearing and often ask where someone bought that purse or shoes or jacket. They have a keen eye for appearance and for detail. If clothing retail merchants had to depend on men’s shopping habits, few would have survived this recession. Shops with tasteful uniforms for employees will have a definite advantage with the clothing-conscious ladies.
By extension, women will also be more aware of small details in a shop. Not only how clean was the women’s washroom, but also did it have any element of a tasteful decor? Here is a resolution that probably should have been on that list. Resolutions for a more tasteful decor could also easily find their way into the waiting area and the front desk. Could it use a new, more interesting paint color? Are there any plants adding a feeling of life to the area? Are all of the magazines of the Car and Driver variety or are there some publications that would appeal to someone with a different range of interests? A poorly designed parking area may also turn off anyone who is appearance conscious. Blacktop is cheap and when it is painted with bright white lines indicating the customer parking area, it can reassure the detail-oriented person that this will be a well-organized facility. Many additional resolutions may come to mind when looking at the shop from this point of view.
Signs are another element that are rarely updated, but actually have the potential to capture more business when designed effectively. For example, a sign posting prices might include some information to the effect that the shop’s prices are more competitive than a percentage of other shops in the area (if that happens to be the case). One chain of shops always posts a sign with ten top reasons to choose their shop. Another sign could post articles about collision repair fraud and could emphasize this shop’s ethics and many year record of honest dealings. A resolution to update signs could lead to increased business and profits.
Business cards and brochures are also seldom updated. Photos of vehicles on promotional materials may be several years behind the times. A glaring absence of any indication that the shop has the capability to work on hybrid vehicles and new, lighter structures and materials could suggest that this is a shop that is behind the times. The customer information form may also lack a question about a customer’s other vehicles that could alert an estimator to the possibility of getting an additional repair job from this same customer. A resolution to update brochures and other printed matter could also lead to increased business and profits.
Along with the decor, clothing, signs and printed matter updates, a resolution to update the shop’s website should also be included. As we move farther into the New Year, more and more people are likely to look to Twitter, their Blackberry, or iPhone when selecting a collision repair facility. It may not be too late to add some high-tech resolutions to that already neglected list.