“If you provide good services, the client will come back and introduce them to their friends.”
Have you ever heard of such a saying when you talk to some business owner or traditional automotive workshop operators? I bet you do. I know I did. It leaves a cliche aftertaste, especially for a marketeer like me. As the market saturates due to the increase in service providers, car workshop owners need to ask themselves what is a good service they have been preaching.
Workshop owners might have a different definition of good service on their own; the discussion still stays on pricing and product services: cheaper pricing, a better quality of work, and products. No matter how they define it, it all comes back to the expectation of their clients, who is the car owners. The operators need to know that listening to clients’ feedback is critical to stand out in the crowded automotive care centers market. The workshops can do more than just pricing and quality goods, which can be easily replicable.
An area that not many workshops are considering is hospitality. Some workshops quickly brushed off this factor. They deemed this a gimmick that would not be useful in the long run. Some responded that those workshops that apply hospitality cannot offer good skills and quality parts and only have to rely on tricks to get customers. Undoubtedly, an owner of a problematic car will hope for a professional workshop to fix their car and get on with their life, but not all send their car to fix a problem. Many are looking for periodical services and other auto maintenance demands. It’s part of their life owning a car. Knowing they have to go through an unpleasant experience every timeframe to maintain their vehicle, they will keep looking for one that offers the most pleasant experience they can get.
Hospitality is part of branding, and it is essential to know that we build branding over time with consistency. You cannot put a price on branding and hope to earn it back in the shortest amount of time.
Another objection towards hospitality is the costing workshop needs to invest with no promise of a return on investment. Hospitality is part of branding, and it is essential to know that we build branding over time with consistency. You cannot put a price on branding and hope to earn it back in the shortest amount of time. Branding does not work that way, but hospitality does pay in both short and long terms. I am not about to discuss the tactics or methods of hospitality application unless you have the mindset and the value perceived regarding hospitality, which I think should be in another chapter of discussion.
As a workshop owner, the first step toward hospitality application is to contemplate beyond the domain of service you can offer. Ask yourself what benefits you offer are non-automotive-related but relevant to customer experience. While providing the top quality and skills, what other things are missing that can delight your customers. Come back to listening to your customers. Sometimes, it takes constructive observation to get the insights. The customers might accept that sending vehicles to the workshop would be inevitable, dragging, unpleasant experience, and there is nothing they can do about it. So they do not talk about it. They do not complain or give suggestions. It’s up to you to take the first step to talk to them and ask them what they hope to see in a workshop.
Modern customers are intelligent and clear about what they want. You can see what happens in other product and service businesses. As this demography evolves, the industry develops. Customers are getting pampered more and more each day with many creative methods. Their demands and desires are getting stronger every day. Gone are the days they settle for high-quality products and services. They want more. They will keep wanting more. Once you understand what the customers wish besides getting their vehicle fixed, you stay ahead of your competitors, even if you have not developed any “gimmick” yet. I would not say it’s a goldmine, but it’s an unexplored territory in the business opportunity.
We will explore more on workshop hospitality next month in this newsletter. If you are vested in this conversation, please consider subscribing to our newsletter for the automotive service industry content, especially on the business and marketing side.