Does every driver that comes to your shop feel as if you’re looking out for their best interest? If not, you’re going to have a hard time turning those one-time jobs into repeat customers. You’ve gotta earn customer trust before that happens. How can you do that? Show and tell! Ahead, I’ll explain what I mean (and how to make drivers feel safe and secure at your auto shop).  

What does “show and tell” mean?

“Show and tell” is a key part of the Women Auto Know philosophy.

Drivers feel better about investing in an auto repair when they know what they are paying for.

Makes sense, right? You wouldn’t feel good about spending hundreds of dollars on a service that doesn’t make any sense inside your head. Drivers feel the same way about auto repair.

It’s not hard to navigate this situation. If a driver seems hesitant about a suggested repair, ask: “Would you like to see the problem for yourself? It might help you wrap your head around it.”

No one expects this kind of transparency from an auto shop. Sadly, a lot of auto professionals are dodgy about these types of details. This will help your auto repair shop stand out from the pack.

How can you apply “show and tell” in your repair shop?

Here’s a common example that happens at my shop. A driver comes in for an oil change, which is easy enough, but then one of my crew member realizes their tire tread is super thin. Uh-oh!

Tire replacements aren’t cheap, so no one is ever happy to hear this recommendation. If a driver expresses frustration, I walk them to their car and ask them to take a look at their tread. Next, I show them a set of new tires and ask: “Do you see the difference?”

Finally, I explain how this happened. Tires don’t have an unlimited life span. They need to be replaced every now and then. If the tread gets too low, they won’t be able to grip the road, which is especially problematic when the roads are wet. Now they feel good about investing in the service, which makes the transaction less stressful for everybody involved.

Why should your auto shop bother to “show and tell?”

It’s the right thing to do! Like I said, people feel better about investing in auto repair when they understand the purpose behind it.

You’re not just suggesting a nonsense job to line your pockets. You’re providing a service that will help them prevent car breakdowns, getting stranded, and other inconvenient situations.

“Show and tell” is also beneficial for selfish reasons. Most auto professionals aren’t strong communicators. Instead of being aware of a driver’s position, they speak in technical terms. Please don’t use the word “crankshaft” before explaining what that means…

Drivers will be surprised (in a good way!) by your ability to relate with them. They’ll also feel more comfortable with an auto professional who is honest enough to show them the problem (instead of expecting them to just take their word for it). It works over and over again at my shop! 

What’s in it for you? Customer retention! Just like repairing an old car is usually cheaper than replacing it with a new one, retaining a current customer is cheaper than finding another one. Those existing customers might even send you referrals or leave positive online reviews. Win!

When should I implement a policy of “show and tell?”

Why not now? Waiting is overrated. That said, it’d be smart to measure the impact of this philosophy in your shop. Here’s an idea…

Create a simple customer survey. Ask drivers to rank how comfortable they felt in your shop (and how confident they felt in making an investment) from a scale of 1-5.

Collect at least 50 responses. To encourage people to fill out the survey, you could have a random drawing where the winner gets a $25 gift certificate to a popular restaurant.

After you gather that feedback, go All In for “show and tell.” Teach your crew – mechanics, technicians, service advisers (PPA’s), and whoever – how to ask customers, “Want to see the problem?” (and what to do if they say “yes”).

Wait a month or two. Now print off new copies of the same survey you used earlier, but add one more question: “If you’ve visited our shop at least twice in the previous three months, have you observed any positive changes? Assuming you have, please describe them.”

Now you’ll learn exactly how “show and tell” made your customers feel. If you get any nice responses, feel free to use those as reviews or testimonials on your website. Boom! Apply the philosophy of “show and tell” today. Your auto shop will earn customer trust soon enough.

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